The Jewish Genealogy Association 

Organising a genealogical event

By Micheline Gutmann

A family event

The material organisation

The organisation of a genealogical meeting is much the same as any other family gathering, for instance a marriage or bar Mitzvah. That means that you have to find a place to host your event and a caterer.
Easier if you can find a place and ask everybody to participate in the buffet. This is how we organized the
10th anniversary of GenAmi.

It is necessary to form a team with one person having responsibility for the project and to do the detailed planning. This team must quickly evaluate the number of participants.

The meeting place should depend on several criteria: be near the principal organiser, of course. But if people are travelling long distances, rooms must be reserved at hotels. It will be necessary to consider accessibility for all and in particular the older participants and to take the necessary precautions for children.

For larger or more important meetings (based on people of the same name or originating from the same place), there may be several hundred attendees, therefore more of a seminar. In this case, its a good idea to invite a personality and senior members of the community or those responsible for the local area. (Look at the work we did at Durmenach).

We recommend care is taken when deciding on the layout of any displays or presentations.

It is necessary to spend at least one year organising and preparing the event. The date must be announced in advance in order for the participants to reserve the date. Avoid choosing dates of religious feasts and holiday periods.

The genealogist’s job

While some people are organising the meeting, others must prepare the documentation. We need again a coordinator.

  • It is necessary to research the family stories and for this you need an experienced genealogist, may be even a team depending of the size of the family or families you are going to meet. They must prepare detailed research on the branches concerned.

  • Each study starts with family documents to which additional information can be added. Collect all photos and portraits available. Announce your future meeting.

  • Try to find the place where the family originated, the story of the country or the town, the story of the Jewish Community, look for old photos of the towns concerned and compare these to modern ones.

  • Verify and complete with civil records, census, naturalisation records, notary deeds, which can be found in national, departmental and communal archives and also on reliable Internet web sites such as GenAmi’s.

  • Were there deported people in the family? A list must be done in order to honour their memory and for those who died for France or for their country.

The children's table

Don’t forget the children

We create the link between the past and the future, between our parents and our children. For them, it is an opportunity to learn about their extended family. It is necessary to find a pleasant place for the children where an area is reserved for them and to find one or two activity leaders who look after them and organise some games.

How to promote the research

Take inspiration from the different stands created by GenAmi for a genealogy Seminar or for an exhibition. Look at the family panels. On these panels, you can find genealogical trees of descendents, trees in circles, Ketouboth, family documents, photos... etc.
The presentation needs to be as attractive as possible; the advice of an artist could be useful.

For each family: present a large tree where every one can find their name and their cousins’.

See our exhibitions:

Pieces of advice of GenAmi

GenAmi has a multidisciplinary team which has frequently organised different events and meetings, travels, stands, posters; the research holds no secrets.

It is a dynamical association which publishes a review, has an Internet web site and a forum. It is linked to other national and international associations. We can easily give advice to everybody that needs help.