The Jewish Genealogical Society of Tampa Bay will meet at Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Servcies for a presentation by Bill Israel on Virtual Family Reunions.
Family reunions are a way to discover and retain our roots and to satisfy our need for belonging. They provide a means for widely scattered family members to reconnect and to share memories with each other of their common heritage. But getting families together for a reunion requires time, travel and expense, and it may be stressful for older family members to travel. Can an extended family meet with each other without actually being together? Yes they can!
This presentation describes how an online virtual family reunion is a workable alternative that offers many of the advantages of a physical reunion but without the need for travel and expense. It tells how 3 distant relatives who had no previous contact discovered each other and how they conceived the idea of a virtual family reunion. It explains how they were able to host an online reunion to bring together a large branch of their family; how they used video conferencing and telephone dial-in to share a video screen and audio with each other, to meet and see each other online, to learn how they are related to each other, to tell family stories before those stories were lost forever, to learn about their family’s history, to tackle some family mysteries, and the entire virtual reunion was video recorded for posterity. This was a successful reunion enjoyed by all.
Bill Israel is a founding member and past president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Tampa Bay and a past board member of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. He began researching his own family history in 1980, and he has traced 10 generations of his family lines over a period of 235 years, documenting 3,600 of his relatives. Bill has managed or assisted in managing 18 Israel family reunions since they began in 1980, plus 12 family reunions for his wife’s family since the first one in 1998. This is his first involvement in a virtual family reunion.
Anyone interested in Jewish family history and in learning how to do Jewish genealogical research is invited to attend this and all meetings of the JGSTB. Beginners as well as experienced researchers are welcome. There is no charge to attend this meeting. For information about the organization or for directions to the meeting call Bruce Hadburg at 727-796-7981, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.