Showing posts with label Research Assistance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Research Assistance. Show all posts

27 May 2014

Jamboree: One-to-One Research Assistance - A Valuable Benefit of Jamboree
Click Here to Register for Assistance
Guest post by Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, CG

“Thanks, I don’t need any help; I’ve got this.”

I used to say that a lot when I was first getting started in genealogy. It wasn’t because I really did know everything – goodness, I certainly didn’t (still don’t)! It was because I was embarrassed to admit what I didn’t know.

I didn’t know that I could access records from my family’s native Germany (no one told me I could), so I thought such an attempt would be useless. I didn’t know that probate files for my ancestors could be viewed, so I never checked into that. I didn’t know that land records might help me sort out relationships among family members, so I didn’t ask anyone about how to find and/or read them. And so much more!

Remember being in school and the teacher asking, “Are there any questions?” How many hands went up? If your classes were anything like mine, very few. Yet, afterwards, the teacher was often (privately) besieged by students asking the questions about which they did not want to admit (publicly) ignorance. Do you feel that way still? I know I do!

I have attended genealogy lectures, certain that everyone around me had complete understanding of the concept being taught, language used, or resources mentioned. When the speaker asked, “Questions?” I, like so many others present, kept my hand down. I didn’t want others to know that I was unfamiliar with a particular repository, acronym, or website; especially since I am a professional genealogist (news flash: professional genealogists do NOT know everything about the subject, any more than an English teacher knows about every novel ever written).

If some of this sounds familiar, then the Research Assistance room in the Tech Hallway at Jamboree may be just the place for you. People who have knowledge of specific areas of the genealogical world will be available to answer questions, help guide your research, vault brick walls, or maybe just get you started. You do not need to worry about anyone looking at you strangely for not knowing what PERSI is, where Family History Centers are located, which website specializes in what types of records, etc. If the person you ask doesn’t have the answer, he/she can direct you to those who do or help you find the requested resource on the Internet.

Just think: a safe haven for all those family history queries! Sign up for a pre-arranged research consultation (as a “client”) or just drop by during the Jamboree hours. And if you can help be an advisor, the same invitation applies – we need folks who are willing to share some of their knowledge (without shaming those who ask questions that experienced genealogists thought were “common knowledge” – there is no such thing).

See you at RESEARCH ASSISTANCE sponsored by the Southern Calif. Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists!

Jean Wilcox Hibben; PhD, CG
SCCAPG past President

13 May 2014

Jamboree - Research Assistance Sign-up is launched!

Guest post by Jean Hibben, PhD, CG our valued volunteers:

We're looking for volunteers who know a little more than someone else! Well, about genealogy, that is. Are you one who has created your own pedigree chart; worked some with Ancestry, FamilySearch, Fold3, or other websites? Then your assistance is needed in the Research Assistance Room on the Tech Hallway. Sign up, include your expertise (“beginning” is fine, so is “translating German records” or whatever, as applicable!).

Research Assistance Volunteers - Sign up at 

Time slots are at 30-minute intervals, but we are asking that you keep your consulting time to 20 minutes to allow for folks to move in and out of the consultation area. You are welcome to bring your laptop (we should have WiFi access).

There is room for two assistants for each time slot. But we will also have a walk-in option so if you want to help but don’t want to commit yourself to a particular time at this moment, just come to the RA room when you have time and there is a good chance there will be some walk-in “clients” just waiting for your genealogy knowledge.

(Note: if you are able to assist in other ways, we welcome your help! Contact me at

To our Jamboree attendees, seeking help (“clients”):

Getting help with one’s brick walls is more than just using a stick of dynamite – you need to know what kind of dynamite to use! And that is what Research Assistance at Jamboree provides: Custom-made dynamite!

Your ancestors came from Italy, but you aren’t sure where, what types of documents can be found, what repositories or on-line services can help. Get your custom-made explosive from a research assistant who specializes in Italian or Italian-American ancestry. Sure, talking to someone who knows about research in Mexico might give you some answers, but wouldn’t it be great to get answers geared to your particular problem?

Are you a beginner and don’t know where to start? We’ve all been there! Many of our assistants are ready, willing, and able to get you chipping at your brick walls with smaller, more delicate tools (as opposed to just blowing the whole thing up). And will assist also by defining some of the terms many of us use without considering the knowledge level of our “client.” Here is a place where you are free to ask what some might consider “stupid questions” (of which, we know, there are none).

As with everything, there are some rules, so, when signing up, please read the instructions. We don’t permit anyone to get help from the same assistant during two consecutive time slots (we want fairness for all, remember).

To everyone:
Research Assistance is successful ONLY when it is used by both Assistants and Clients. Come use us!

27 April 2014

Jamboree - Research Assistance

Guest blog post by Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, CG

When I attended Jamboree for the first time, I was overwhelmed with the information that was provided. I had done genealogy in the late 1970s to early 1980s, but had been away from it for over a decade while I got my education and worked as a college professor. When I returned, it was a completely different experience. To begin with, computers had infiltrated the field (I had seen that coming, but didn’t realize the extent to which it would impact my “hobby”). Besides that, “vendors” had entered the field (mostly with products to enhance the computer use, but also providing a plethora of books for people of all experience levels). I remember visiting vendor booths and wondering if it was possible to “catch up,” I had been gone from “the scene” for so long.

Perhaps you are in a similar situation. Genealogy can often be a “seasonal” activity: we get busy raising children, making a living, and just dealing with life. Many people move from one physical location to another, causing some things (such as family photos and documents) to be stored in boxes that are shoved into closets. When the time (or season) is right, those boxes are hauled out and the family historian is faced with making sense of it all. Where to start? Or continue? And if you, as I was, have been away from the research field for even a very few years, the new programs and websites may be intimidating. Some folks even shy away from attending a large event, such as Jamboree, because they feel they are “not ready.” If that sounds like you, let me suggest that you reconsider.

Jamboree is a perfect place to “get back in the saddle.” Besides the exhibit hall and classes, there are individuals who are ready, willing, and able to help YOU feel more at home in the ever-changing genealogy world. The Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, and others working with that group, have a place where you can get one-on-one help in your roots pursuits. Consider signing up for a personal consultation with someone who is familiar with some, if not all, the new products, options, and techniques for locating your elusive ancestors.

In the very near future, RESEARCH ASSISTANCE will be open for sign-ups on the SCGS website. Watch for the announcement and then, as time slots become available with specifically identified genealogy experts, you can reserve a 20-minute period for your own questions and answers.

Jamboree is NOT just for the experienced family researchers; we want all those who have a desire to learn about their family history to have access to help. And SCGS does not limit that help to just once a year: additional programs are available all year long to aid you, the budding or experienced genealogist, in making your search a success! Check the SCGS website for more information on what is available and visit Research Assistance at Jamboree.

Jean Wilcox Hibben; PhD, MA, CGsm

09 May 2013

SCGS Jamboree: Do You Need Help? Is That a Wall Straight Ahead?

Let’s be honest, even the most experienced genealogists have those pesky brick walls. Sometimes all that is needed is the perspective of someone not-so-connected (personally) to a pedigree to find the loose brick and get the mortar chipped away. If this describes you, JAMBOREE 2013 has the answer you have been seeking: Research Assistance!

Research Assistance is a free service, offered only to those who are registered for the Jamboree, designed to help you break through the wall or clear away some of the trees in your ancestor forest. To access the help of experienced genealogists, all you need to is go to and sign up under “Guest” next to the consultant whose expertise is most likely to help you through the problem.

It is important to remember that this sign-up procedure is designed for the expert researcher/assistants to first reserve their available time slots and then those needing assistance select whom to see. If you do not see anyone whose expertise is likely to help you, return later. Assistants will be signing up as they find their available times so this schedule will be changing frequently.

Please, before signing up for help, read the information at the top of the webpage, above the schedule. In order for the process to be fair to all, guests who sign up for the same researcher in consecutive time slots will find the subsequent reservations cancelled. We have some top-notch researchers coming to assist and it is not fair for these folks who may be able to help for 60 or 90 minutes at a time to be monopolized by one guest. Thank you for honoring this.

This is the third year for Research Assistance at Jamboree (and the second year for its current sponsor, the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists to be running the program). Last year it was highly successful and all time slots were taken by the time the Jamboree started on Friday. For that reason, we have opened a second research assistant slot for each time period.

It is extremely important for people to be on time for their appointments to avoid any back-up. Thank you for your cooperation.

See you at the Jamboree!

Jean Wilcox Hibben; PhD, MA, CG
Past-President, SCCAPG

Thank you Jean Hibben for this guest post for Jamboree. In addition to her speaking presentations, Jean is overseeing the Research Assistance program at Jamboree. The Research Assistance program is designed to provide free personal guidance on nagging research questions for paid attendees of the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree.

16 April 2013

SCGS Jamboree - Research Assistance Call for Volunteers

Jamboree is just around the corner and the Jambo-elves are working like, well, elves. Badges and signs are being printed, schedules are being set (and re-set), and the volunteers are trying to keep from falling down from exhaustion. Volunteers! Without those elves, where would we be? Well, there would be no Jamboree, that’s for certain. Here is where you can help (don’t stop reading . . . keep going . . .

Last year, the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists hosted and ran the Research Assistance room. Lots of knowledgeable family historians donated their time to help folks who had genealogical problems. Some problems were minor and needed nothing more than a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective to solve; others were more involved and needed the assistance of an expert in a particular area. No one knows everything! Even the most experienced genealogists will admit to having a problem in the family tree at some point. And even the intermediate researchers have knowledge that can help someone.

If you have ever assisted someone in finding a long-lost ancestor, clarified a bit of apparently illegible handwriting on a document, or just assisted a new researcher in getting started, your volunteering is of value to the Research Assistance team. To sign up to assist guests during Jamboree (Friday-Sunday), please go to <>  and sign up for one or more time slots. Be sure to indicate your expertise and, if you are not comfortable with doing anything more than being “able to assist people just getting started,” that will be greatly appreciated! Our assistants come from all levels of genealogy, as do our guests needing help. And there are few greater rewards in the research of ancestors than to help someone break through a brick wall. So, come help crumble some walls!!

Thank you and see you at Jamboree 2013!

Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG
Past-President, SCCAPG

Thank you Jean Hibben for this guest post for Jamboree. In addition to her speaking presentations, Jean is overseeing the Research Assistance program at Jamboree. The Research Assistance program is designed to provide free personal guidance on nagging research questions for paid attendees of the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree.

This is the first of two posts is a call for assistance from the area's many highly knowledgeable, experienced genealogists. Look for Post #2 in May.

11 March 2013

Getting Folks to Jamboree

-- Guest Post by Jean Wilcox Hibben, Ph.D, CG

    I am the outgoing President of a decent-sized genealogy society (slightly over 100 members) as well as the Director of a Southern California Family History Center. With all the people interested in family history, with whom I am in contact, all living less than 100 miles from the location of the annual SCGS JAMBOREE, you would think that we (genealogists in Corona) would have a decent representation at the event. Well, last year I was the only one from our area who attended and the previous year we had three or four besides me. Numbers weren’t much different for previous years. It was my lack of promoting the event, you might be thinking . . . but at the society I mentioned it every month beginning in January through the meeting in May, promoted it on our website, and wrote about it in our newsletter and in our meeting “programs” that we give out to all attendees, including non-members. For both organizations, I sent email reminders about it. I had posters about it in the Family History Center.  What am I doing wrong? This has been puzzling me for a number of months and I think that this year I will take a different direction in the promotion.

    Too often we tell people things like “this is the greatest genealogy event this side of the Rockies,” or “there are lots of well-known speakers who will be teaching on all sorts of family history topics,” or “there are some free events for those not registered for the conference,” and even “there are lots of door prizes.” But these are all very vague. Instead of being general, we may have a better response if we are familiar with what is happening and then focus on the things that will be of interest. I may not jump to hear “lots of well-known speakers,” but, since my area of research is German records, if I am told that there is a speaker (Leland Meitzler) who will be talking about using the Internet to find Germanic ancestors, I am much more inclined to attend for that, if nothing else.

    For those reading this who want your friends join you at the event, go over the schedule and see what specific lectures may be of interest to those people. And, if you are like me and have a lot of friends who are interested in genealogy but are not certain that their knowledge level warrants attending such a big conference, remind them about the many opportunities for beginners to get help. Besides classes in beginning genealogy topics, there is the Research Assistance room where those who are in need of a consultation to get over a stubborn wall can receive such help for free (though the participant must be registered for the conference, there is no additional fee for this service). Getting one-on-one help from an expert is rare, so this may be just the thing your friend (or you) is/are looking for.

    Detailed information on Research Assistance – signing up, volunteering to be a consultant, possible help topics, and more – will be forthcoming. Keep an eye on the Jamboree Blog and the website.

    And KUDOS to all the non-local societies (San Diego County, the High Desert, and other areas) where you organize caravans or buses to bring a full contingent of genealogical addicts to a weekend of information and fun!

            Contributed by Jean Wilcox Hibben; PhD, MA, CG(sm)

01 June 2012

Jamboree: Research Assistance

Guest Post by Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG(sm)

Is it possible that we are down to counting DAYS instead of WEEKS before the 2012 Jamboree? Are you ready to hobnob with the Stars of Family History? One place for some serious hobnobbing is the Research Assistance room. This year the consultants will be able to assist folks in finding the hard-to-locate ancestors in a more private area than last year. But it is still convenient to conference goers as it is between the hotel and the convention center, in the "High-Tech Highway."

While many consultant “spots” are already reserved, there will also be the option of getting “walk-in” help. Sign up for a consultant’s services at the room. Many of the volunteers for the Research Assistance program will be sporting buttons inviting you to ask about the help offered . . . please don’t be shy in asking for directions, suggestions, etc. And if you don’t see a helper, check at the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (SCCAPG) table for directions.

SCCAPG, in conjunction with SCGS, is sponsoring the Research Assistance this year and would love to be instrumental in helping you cut through a knot in your family tree. Remember, it is easiest for that to be accomplished if you bring along your pedigree chart(s) and family group sheets.

We are also still looking for folks who are willing to donate time to help others in the tree pruning experience; there is no need for assistants to have credentials or degrees in the field to give a little help. While assistants do not need to be registered for the Jamboree, those seeking help must be. The registration period has ended but walk-ins are welcome.

OK, tree pruners, get out your chain saws!

21 May 2012

Jamboree: "All I need is a little boost over the wall..."

Guest Post by Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG(sm)

“I have hit another brick wall. Just when I think I am on the right track, I run out of ideas to find that elusive ancestor. All I need is a little boost over the wall, but where can I get that kind of help?”

I am sure many of us have uttered words just like that. But this time, instead of responding with “I know what you mean, it is a problem, for sure,” there’s a better answer: SCGS’s 2012 Jamboree! Besides registering for days of helpful classes, all of which offer solutions to various problems, registrants can get one-on-one help from an experienced genealogist. Now, not all the consultants have certifications or degrees, or are even “professional,” in the strict sense of the word, but they do have areas of experience and knowledge that are greater than what others have. They may have just the step-stool tool to boost you over that wall!

To sign up for a consultant, go to and click on the link for research assistance. The Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (SCCAPG) is proud to sponsor (along with SCGS) this special room for the benefit of folks who need just a little help. “Guests” or “clients” may sign up for a 20-25 minute session with a consultant (only one session at a time; i.e., consecutive sessions are not permitted). Besides the consultants who have already signed up on the SCCAPG website, there will be on-the-spot volunteers for walk-in help (sign-up sheets for these folks will be available in the Research Assistance room throughout the weekend), so if no one who is currently available specializes in your area of need, check the room during the weekend.

And for the readers of this blog who have an area of expertise (you need not be professional or certified) and are willing to help out, please sign up at or come by the room to volunteer a half-hour or more of your time. Thank you!

Just a reminder that research assistance is available to paid registrants of Jamboree.  Advance registration closes on May 28, but walk-ins will be welcome at the door.  Consultants need not be registered for Jamboree to assist.

Let’s shatter YOUR brick walls at Jamboree!!

03 May 2012

Jamboree: Sign Up for Face-to-Face Research Assistance

Members of the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists will provide one-on-one consultation to help you hurdle over your brick walls. Consultations are free for paid registrants of Jamboree.

If You Need Help
If you are interested in receiving future information about the Research Assistance service, sign up at

27 April 2012

Jamboree - Wanted: Research Assistance Consultants

Do you have some expertise that might help someone break through a brick wall? If so, please consider signing up as a consultant in the Research Assistance room at Jamboree. The Research Assistance activity is sponsored by the Southern Calif. Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists. 
  • Important note: you need not be certified, accredited, be a member of APG, or any other specific organization to assist people - just a desire to help is all that is required.
To do this, simply go to the home page of the sponsoring group ( and sign up in one or more of the available slots. Once you, as an assistant/consultant, have signed up, a spot for the person needing your help will open up. 

Consultant slots are listed in half-hour increments but we ask that you limit your consulting time to 20-25 minutes in order for people to move out and in. 

As a consultant, you will also receive prior notice of the people who have signed up for your slots so, if you choose, you may contact them in advance (this is completely up to you, however). 

Please note: you need not be certified, accredited, be a member of APG, or any other specific organization to assist people - just a desire to help is all that is required. 

Thank you for donating your time. Who knows, you may end up with a client or two from the experience.

 Questions/concerns: Jean Wilcox Hibben, SCCAPG president,