24 April 2017

Jamboree 2017: Calling all Genealogical Consultants!

by Jean Wilcox Hibben; PhD, MA

Do you know something about genealogy that someone else doesn’t? I would venture to guess almost everyone reading this blog post can answer in the affirmative. Whether it’s just basic information (e.g., how to complete a pedigree chart, what basic information can be found on Ancestry.com, why vital records are considered valuable in family history research, etc.), something more complex (e.g., the information found on various websites, specific help for different elements of genealogy – Research dealing with the Civil War, German ancestry, Jewish roots, etc.), or help for something even more involved (e.g., who a person might hire for a more difficult problem, where to physically go to get original documents, out of the state or country resources, etc.), you probably know some things that can help another person get started, break through a brick wall, or recommend some websites. 

Whether you have been doing genealogy for a couple of years or a couple (or more) decades, you have information that others are probably searching for. You may already be sharing that by volunteering at a library, archives, or family history center; by giving presentations to local societies or even at Jamboree; by sitting down with a neighbor or family member and showing that person how to get started. We need you to volunteer as a Research Assistant. Some people think that to be an assistant or consultant, one must already be a professional in the field, have some sort of credential or degree, or have been doing genealogy for a minimum number of years. This is not so. Our patrons who come for help run the gamut of bare beginner to advanced researcher; that’s why the consultants who sign up to assist are asked to also list their specialty or specialties. You will see people list themselves as able to help with “basic beginning genealogy” or “Jewish research” or “technology help” or “military research” and more. 

There is something satisfying about helping a person find a document with his or her own ancestor listed or introducing patrons to websites they had no idea existed. It is true that Research Assistance at Jamboree cannot boast a 100% success rate, but we get very close, even if the success is something as basic as recommending a professional genealogist who may be able to get further with a research problem. Most of our assistants report having had a good time getting to know a patron whose problem was, at one time, seemingly insurmountable but, when leaving our facilities at Jamboree, having a sense of hope that an answer is just around a corner.

Please consider volunteering as an assistant by signing up at the link below and adding your specialty area(s). You will also be asked for your email, but that is so we can get in touch with you before the event, it will not be visible to the general public. It is important to check your Jamboree schedule before committing to Research Assistance at a particular time because, in a couple of weeks, the platform will be opened to patrons seeking your help. If you sign up for a time and date and then have to change it and a patron is expecting to get your specific help in your particular specialty, that puts the patron at a significant disadvantage. We know that not everyone reading this has even decided what to attend and plan, what meetings will be scheduled by various groups attending Jamboree, etc. For that reason, we also offer a “walk-in” option for both assistants and patrons. If you don’t feel comfortable scheduling yourself now, consider doing so a little closer to June 8th when you have your plans solidified or stopping by after we open on Friday (someone will be in the room to schedule things at noon on Friday of Jamboree). The signup page on the website will be closed Thursday late afternoon so anyone wishing to be added to the schedule after that time will need to stop by the Research Assistance rooms in the Tech hallway after noon on the 9th.

Assistants/consultants need not be registered attendees at the event to sign up, but there is no compensation for this service. Jamboree Research Assistance is sponsored by the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, but consultants need not be members of the chapter or the parent organization. SCCAPG is happy to work with Jamboree to make the weekend of June 9-11. 2017 one of the best educational opportunities for genealogy west of the Rockies!

Here is the sign-up link:


48th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree
Genetic Genealogy 2017

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