The Jewish Genealogy Association
By Micheline Gutmann
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.
While some people are organising the meeting, others must prepare the documentation. We need again a coordinator.
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.
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’.
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.