California Rays

There are only so many times you can drive down Ventura Highway singing “Ventura Highway … in the sunnnnnshinneeee” before it gets old. I’d say about 1.5 times would do it.

A conference like the SCGS Jamboree, on the other hand, does not get old, ever. I am having a great time here in lovely Burbank. I have always been curious about the Jamboree, and ever since I actually looked at Burbank on a map and  saw how ridiculously easy it would be to go to Jamboree once I had shamelessly invited myself over to my brother’s house down the road a piece, I realized I should have gone years ago.

But better late than never. I have some pictures and things to put up eventually, but for now, some of my favorite moments so far from this fine genealogy convocation:

• From Friday: John Colletta’s consistently eye-opening overview of NARA holdings, and his wry observation about the drawbacks of parachuting into records from online indexes without considering their context: “Like a GPS, it will take you to a specific location, and you’ll have no idea where you are.”

• Also Friday: Thomas McEntee’s talk on preserving family stories, which convinced me that short clips and my iPhone may well be my best friends in this department.

• Craig Scott’s War of 1812 primer Saturday morning, which convinced me that I really have no excuse to put off a closer look at the 1812 veteran for whom my younger daughter is named. (FYI: his first name was Meredith, back when Americans still used that name for boys.)

• And Joe Mozingo’s funny and often touching talk about unraveling the mystery of his surname, and what it told him about history, race and identity in America.

• Oh, and the SCGS app! How could I forget that? Me and the app, we are Like. This.

It’s the end of Day Two on a three-day event, which is when I always sort of hit a wall at about this point at a conference — so much to absorb, and what new knowledge to apply first? Oh, well — letting things percolate is always a virtue. As long as I remember to get going on the projects, too.