International Genealogical Conference – 2002

Discover your roots to Europe

Laura Hanowski

Posted September 2002

The International Genealogical Conference, “Discover Your Roots to Europe,” was held in Regina, Saskatchewan 18 – 21 July 2002. The conference was co-sponsored by the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, the Bukovina Society of the Americas, the East European Genealogical Society, the Federation of East European Family History Societies and the Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe. This was the first time that these societies, from both sides of the border, worked together to sponsor a major genealogical conference. By their collaboration the societies were able to develop a program that featured forty-four expert speakers and panelists from throughout Canada, the United States, Germany, Hungary and Brazil to cover a multitude of topics. Many of these topics could not be offered at a one-host conference. The three hundred and fifty people from five provinces and fourteen states in attendance had a choice of sixty-three sessions to attend. Summaries for all but four presentations are found in the 230-page syllabus.

The programs presented by the Bukovina Society of the Americas featured sessions on settlements of Bukovina people in the Roman Catholic community at Mariahilf, Saskatchewan by Gordon Domm, the Bukovina Germans in Lewis County, Washington by Mary Lee Rose was presented by Irmgard Hein Ellingson and Bukovina Settlements in Paraná and Santa Catarina, Brazil by Dr. Ayrton Celestino. Michael Augustin, Dr. Celestino and Steve Parke used slide presentations to trace the migration patterns from Bavaria to Bohemia to Bukovina, then to North and South America while explaining how they had conducted their research. There were four presentations about research sources and techniques for tracing Bukovina ancestors from North America, in Germany, Ukraine, Romania and Hungary. These were given by Irmgard Hein Ellingson, Laura Hanowski, Elizabeth Long and László Rudolph. A session given by Van Massirer explored the influence of the Baptist faith on settlers in the United States and Canada and how the translation of early records of Canaan Church of Crawford, Texas is helping current generations to recognize the effect of religious thinking on their ancestors.

The Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe “A Poland and Volhynia Genealogy Group” (SGGEE) started off with a session about the SGGEE database, followed later with a session on making the best use of the SGGEE web site by Gary Warner. Jerry Frank presented two sessions about the German Migration East to Hungary, Galicia, Bessarabia, the Black Sea and Volga areas, Poland and Volhynia. There was a session about the history and use of the Einwandererzenralstelle (EWZ) records by Richard Benert. This was followed by a two- part presentation showing how to obtain the EWZ documents and how the presenters Irmgard Hein Ellingson and Dave Obee used them to further their genealogical research.

Two highlights of the conference were the Friday and Saturday night banquets. The Friday night banquet was hosted by the Bukovina Society of the Americas. Following a short musical presentation by Steve Parke of Pueblo, Colorado Dr. Ayrton Celestino spoke about the German Bohemian Bukovina Families of Rio Negro and Mafra, Brazil. Ayrton illustrated his talk with slides of these Brazilian communities. The Saturday night banquet was hosted by FEEFHS. Thom Edlund gave an interesting description about FEEFHS. Kahlile Mehr used slides to illustrate how records are selected for microfilming, the procedure for doing so and the challenges of cataloguing the European records. Attendees said they learned much from the presentations on both evenings.

John Movius, web master for FEEFHS, Werner Zoglauer, web master for the BSA, and Gary Warner of SGGEE were present throughout the conference to help people with their research problems and to assist them in making the most effective use of their web sites. The SGGEE also brought books and maps to help people trace their Volhynian German roots. The East European Genealogical Society also helped attendees with research problems.

One hundred and ninety five people submitted evaluation forms. The general consensus was that the conference was well organized and had an excellent selection of topics and speakers. It was felt that a conference sponsored by a number of organizations should be held every five or six years, alternating between Canada and the United States.