You may have noticed that I haven't posted many new articles in the past few days. I am also late in sending out the weekly Plus Edition newsletter by e-mail. The reason is simple: I've been busy. On Thursday, I flew 3,000 miles to join 1,200 other genealogists over the weekend in Burbank, California, for the annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree. I loved it. I think all the other attendees enjoyed themselves as well.
The Jamboree opened on Friday at the "under renovation" Burbank Airport Marriott. Some parts of the hotel looked like a war zone with carpenters and others tearing the place apart. The sounds of hammers and power saws were audible throughout the hotel although not in the nearby convention hall. The presentation rooms and the exhibit hall were mostly untouched. A large part of the parking lot had also been blocked off, which created an inconvenience: there weren't nearly enough parking spaces for a crowd of this size. While a few people did grumble a bit, most seemed to take it in stride.
The conference lasted all day and into the evening for two and a half days. There were presentations all day long. The exhibit hall was crowded with vendors. Off-premises bus tours provided opportunities to visit local sites. Two dinners entertained many participants, one on Friday evening and another on Saturday.
The Friday evening dinner featured Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak as the after-dinner speaker. She gave a great talk. The highlight (or was it the low-light?) was when she accidentally dropped the wireless microphone down her pants in front of several hundred people. She was more surprised than was the audience! She handled it well, however.
I had the pleasure of speaking at the Saturday evening dinner. I must say that I was unable to come up with a "trick" as dramatic as Megan's, however.
You can find full descriptions of speakers, lectures, and evening events at: http://www.scgsgenealogy.com and at the Jamboree blog at: http://www.genealogyjamboree.blogspot.com.
I was pleased to see Bill Dollarhide here only a few weeks after his surgery. (See http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/06/bill-dollarhide.html.) He not only attended, but he also gave presentations.
I also had a chance to participate in the first-ever Blogger Summit, along with Steve Danko of Steve's Genealogy Blog, George G. Morgan of The Genealogy Guys, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak of Megan's Roots World and RootsTelevision, Schelly Talalay Dardashti of Tracing the Tribe, Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings, and Leland Meitzler of GenealogyBlog.com.
One of the fun moments occurred during the Blogger Summit, when we were describing how timely blogs can be. Elizabeth O'Neal was in the audience and snapped a picture of all of us in mid-presentation. She then uploaded it to her personal blog, writing a few words of accompanying text describing the session while it was in progress. You can see it at http://www.littlebytesoflife.com/2008/06/blogger-summit-happening-now.html. Since I was running the Macintosh that was connected to the overhead projector in the room, I was able to enter the URL of her blog and display the article and picture to the audience within minutes after the picture had been snapped. Talk about up-to-the-minute news!
The format of the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree is a winner. First, it is held on the weekend, when more people can attend: Friday afternoon, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday. In fact, the crowds were a bit smaller on Friday, when some people were working, but were bigger on both Saturday and Sunday.
Another feature that I liked was the publication of the syllabus on both paper and on CD-ROM disk. This time I was able to pack the CD-ROM syllabus in my suitcase and put it on the shelf here at home. (I usually throw paper syllabi in the hotel room trash when packing for the return trip.) I will be able to refer to the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree in the future. Those who preferred paper were able to obtain that instead if they registered in advance. Those who registered at the door were given the CD-ROM version.
You can read the comments of many Jamboree attendees at http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=genealogy+jamboree&btnG=Search+Blogs
All in all, I loved it. I was also exhausted from the activities. When I flew home on Monday, I slept most of the flight. However, I hope to go back next year and “do it again.”
The 2009 Southern California Genealogy Jamboree has already been scheduled for June 12 through 14 at the same location. After all, the construction should be completed long before then! I hope to be there. Will you?