Putting the Flesh on the Bones: Most family historians initially take the route of trying to find the name, dates, and locations of various relatives to grow a family tree. Due to unusual circumstances, covered in this talk, Ron took a different path - to explore one individual in as much depth as possible. This turned out to be a wild journey taking Ron to places (physically and emotionally) he never imagined. Doing ‘individual-focused’ genealogy is a journey like no other and there are bound to be unexpected (read positive) surprises. Doing so allowed Ron to go way beyond the questions of Who? When? And Where? to explore the far more interesting questions: Why (did my ancestor act the way he did)? and How (did my ancestor have an impact on my life)?
Over the past 20+ years, Ron has traced his roots to England, Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Belarus, and Ukraine. He has given more than 500 presentations in the U.S. and internationally on the topics of criminal ancestors, technology, and research methodology. He is the author of three books: The Jews of Sing Sing, WANTED! U.S. Criminal Records, and Mind Maps for Genealogy. Ron is currently the Secretary for IAJGS (the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies) and works behind the scenes, helping to organize and run the IAJGS annual conference. Ron won a NY State Archives research grant in 2006. That same year he appeared on the PBS television series The Jewish Americans, talking about Jewish criminals on NY’s Lower East Side. Ron earned a B.S. in Engineering from Princeton and an MBA from the University of Chicago.