Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Southern California Adventure

Two genealogy presentations, three dogs, two cats, three beds, and three different counties in three days made for a great trip to Southern California.

It started out when Jan Meisels Allen of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley asked if I could come down to Ventura County to give my talk on using online newspapers for genealogy research.  We worked out an arrangement with the Orange County Jewish Genealogical Society that I would also give a presentation there, this one on techniques for finding women's maiden names (a notoriously difficult thing to do).

So I flew down to Long Beach on Saturday evening and was met at the airport by Shmuel, who had generously offered to allow me to stay at his home in Fountain Valley (Orange County) that night.  He and his wife were very welcoming, they had two adorable and friendly Welsh corgis, and they all made me feel right at home.  On Sunday we went to Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach for my talk.   The enthusiastic group enjoyed my talk very much and had a lot of great questions afterward.

After the presentation, Michelle Sandler, the president of OCJGS, and her husband were able to accommodate my desire to stop by the Newport Beach Public Library, where I got a library card, and now I have access to its remote databases, including the Orange County Register.  They then drove me to Studio City in Los Angeles County, where I spent the night at a friend's.  I had been hoping to meet up with a cousin to talk about family history (we really want to figure out a way to order her father's birth certificate from New York City), but she ended up taking a trip to India, which had to have been much more exciting than meeting with me.

After a restful night and saying hello to my friend's two cats, Jan Allen picked me up on Monday.  We stopped at the Agoura Hills branch of the Los Angeles County Public Library, the Thousand Oaks Public Library, and the Oak Park branch of the Ventura County Public Library, where I collected three more library cards for my collection (Thousand Oaks has online access to the historical Los Angeles Times and the Ventura County Star; Los Angeles County has the Los Angeles Sentinel and Los Angeles Times; and Ventura County has the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Ventura County Star).  In the evening we went to Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks (Ventura County), where I spoke about online newspapers to JGSCV.  Jan and her husband were kind enough to have me as their guest that night, and I met their sweet West Highland terrier.

Tuesday morning saw me heading out from the Burbank airport back to Oakland, where my birds were happy to have me take them home, and the cats let me know they missed me also.

I want to again thank Michelle Sandler, the Orange County Jewish Genealogical Society, Jan Allen, and the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley for their hospitality and for their enthusiasm for my talks.  I had a great time on my whirlwind tour down south, and maybe we'll be able to do it again sometime in the future.

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