Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Welsh Research at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy

This week we welcome Darris Williams, AG, Welsh researcher extraordinaire. The Welsh research track is a rare opportunity for in-depth education in a highly specialized area. This course may not be offered again for several years and is a huge opportunity for those with Welsh research to break down their brick walls.


I’ve been digging into my Welsh roots for twenty-eight years. In that time I’ve had two unique opportunities to learn from pioneers in the field. The Welsh Research track of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2012 provides a similar opportunity for today’s Welsh family historian. You will learn about the best records and strategies to get the most from your research efforts. After each day of training you will be able to walk a short distance to the greatest centralized collection of Welsh family history records in the world. Three reasons not to miss next year:

1. The classes. Common topics such as census, church, civil registration and probate records will be covered as you should expect. Additional, more advanced, topics like migration, surnames (there are only a few so that should be easy, right!), the poor, land records, and records from the court of Great Sessions will provide additional leads for resolving many of the brick walls in your Welsh research. The case study at the end of the week will show how various records and research strategies enable a more complete view of the life of your Welsh ancestors.

2. The instructors. Six instructors will provide more than twenty hours of insight for better research success. Half of the instructors live in Wales and the other half are based in Salt Lake City. Their combined expertise will open doors on both sides of the pond for breaking down the brick walls in your Welsh family history.

3. The experience. The Salt Lake Institute is not the start of your journey into Welsh family history and it will not be the end. The people you meet and the time spent learning together will be the beginning of a new phase in your research. You will obtain information, contacts and resources that will help you move forward in new and exciting ways.

~See you in January!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Virtual Chapter Presentation--The Vision of Indexing: A Revolution in the Research Mode

The UGA Virtual Chapter presents:
Randy Bryson
speaking on
The Vision of Indexing: A Revolution in the Research Mode
August 18, 2011, 7:00 pm MDT @

The FamilySearch Indexing effort is unparalleled in its success and scope, but what is the real vision behind this wonderful activity? Come learn how this simple but massive effort will change how genealogical research can be done from what we have done in the past.

Randy Bryson is an Area Family History Advisor in the Utah South Area and is a past Family History Center Director. Working for the Family History Department, he has had experience in the development and use of Personal Ancestral File, Scanning, Indexing, newFamilySearch and others systems. He now works to scale the LDS Church’s technology to provide new FamilySearch to the homes of members and nonmembers alike.

Starting this month, you will need to be a member of UGA to access the virtual chapter meetings. Address to access the chapter meeting: Log in to the website at with your username (the first 4 letters of your first name and the first 4 letters of your last name) and your password (the first letter of your first name, your zip code, and the first letter of your last name). Click on Virtual Chapter and go to our virtual meeting system. Log in there with your full name or "guest"

The UGA Virtual Chapter meets online on the third Thursday of the month. These meetings are free to members of UGA. To join UGA visit our website at Membership is just $35.00 per year. Members will also have access to all archived virtual chapter meeting presentations, discounts for registration to the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, a free subscription to our quarterly journal Crossroads, and more.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Swedish Research

If you've been following our series of blog posts about the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), you know that every other week we are featuring our course coodinators as guest bloggers.  This week we are headed to Sweden with Course 4 Coordinator, Geoffrey Morris.

First, may I congratulate any reader who has Swedish ancestry! Your research activities to discover your Swedish family can be a rich and fulfilling journey. The biggest factor in accomplishing this is your determination to overcome research barriers. There is no lack of records. Unlike many other countries where good thorough records were not kept, or preserved, the Swedish records are some of the most thorough and complete in the world. This is due to a number of factors such as:

  • a reasonably small population compared to many countries
  • an incredible amount of records kept by religious and civil authorities
  • national stability
  • a huge amount of records that have survived the hazards of time

So what are the major barriers? As I have been helping people at the Nordic Reference Counter at the Family History Library, I have noticed that the biggest barriers seem to be:
  1. Figuring out what record to go to next
  2. To read and understand text

The Swedish Research Course will begin by focusing on reading and understanding Swedish text (especially for records before about 1820.) We will focus on learning handwriting styles, correctly identifying letters, combining letters into words, putting words into sentences and getting the actual meaning.

The remainder of the course will be focused on exploring records and research strategies. Speaking of records, did you know there are roughly 3,000 parishes in Sweden? Each parish has a collection of records that were created for a variety of reasons (including many record types that were never microfilmed.) Now if you gathered all the parish records from every parish in Sweden and made an enormous pile of books, the pile would only represent about six percent of the all records in the national and regional archives. As the digitization of records continues to progress, a much wider variety of records are becoming available than ever before.  All of the class topics in the Swedish track will have a record and strategy focus that is not limited to the FamilySearch collection.

Finally, we will offer consultation activities at the Family History Library where your instructors will schedule a time to assist with research guidance.

In summary, our hope is to offer a Swedish Research course that will discuss topics that are rarely (if ever) offered at any other genealogical conference outside of Sweden. All of your instructors are fluent in Swedish and will be using Swedish sources to build their class material.  Although this is a great opportunity for intermediate to advanced researchers to improve their Swedish research skills, beginners are very welcome.

Thanks, Geoff!  If you have Swedish ancestry you can register for the Swedish Research course or learn more about it at the UGA website.  If you have any questions about this course, please comment on this post.  Will we see you in January?

If you enjoyed this article we invite you to share it via your favorite social networking media using the appropriate icon below. You may also reprint this article in any email or print newsletters you wish to distribute provided you include the date of original publication and the following text:

This article reprinted with permission of the Utah Genealogical Association. To learn more about the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) or the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), please visit their website at: