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Sunday, August 3, 2014

IAJGS Conference: Understanding Our Families, Understanding Ourselves

There was a challenging presentation by Ron Arons, at the International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies Conference described as follows:
Genealogy is more than building family tress with names, dates, and places . By looking at families at a 'systems' level, anyone can learn more about how relatives, through multiple generations, have an impact on one another. Understand the whys? and hows? of your life and that of your relatives. During this presentation, Ron will discuss individual-focused genealogy, genograms (family trees which display emotional relationships among relatives), and the basics of Family Systems Theory. Ron ends the talk by applying all of the above to the families involved with the Boston Marathon bombings.
Ron Arons has outstanding credentials, just as every presenter at the Conference:
This is the thirteenth year Ron will present at the IAJGS Conference. He has given more than 250 presentations across the nation and internationally on a wide range of genealogical topics. Ron has published two genealogically-oriented true crime books: The Jews of Sing Sing and WANTED! U.S. Criminal Records. This year Ron published his latest book: Mind Maps for Genealogy. In 2008, Ron appeared on the PBS television special: The Jewish Americans. In 2006 Ron won a NY State Hackman Grant for his research re Jewish criminality in NYC. Ron earned degrees from Princeton University and the University of Chicago.
He also has a website, Ron Arons, author and speaker. His presentation was based on the concept of using Mind Maps for genealogy. He has also written a book on the subject that is available on his website.

Mind mapping is an interesting method of showing relationships on various levels. There are quite a number of software programs available that will assist in developing a mind map of almost any project or subject. To get started with programs, look at Lifehacker's Five Best Mind Mapping Tools. Of course, the programs do not give you the insight into the relationships, that must come from an understanding of the different levels of interactions through research into the families. What mapping out relationships does do is to clarify the why and how of difficult family relationships.

As Ron doing his presentation, I could see how my own family fit into his descriptions of various family relationship levels. There are several websites that talk about the application of mind mapping to genealogy:

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