Friday, November 2, 2012

Researching in Washington D.C. without Leaving Home

The following is a guest post originally posted at Adventures in Genealogy Education.


Researching in Washington D.C. without Leaving Home

This is a special post by guest author Pamela Sayre, CG, CGL, on her course "Researching in Washington D.C. without Leaving Home" featured at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. There is still time to register for the for the Institute which will be held January 13-18, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and you can get the early bird discount until October 31st. 

We (the course coordinators, Rick and Pam Sayre) are fortunate to live in the Washington, DC area with easy access to myriad repositories with more rich sources than we will ever be able to explore. But Pam has only lived here for four years. Prior to that, she lived out in the hinterlands--in St. Louis--and a week's research on-site in Washington meant an expensive flight, hotel stay, dining out, and transportation around the city. Still, in the not-too-distant past, researching in actual brick and mortar repositories was the only way to get the job done.

Fast forward to 2012, and the whole family history game has changed. It is possible to do vast amounts of research in Washington, DC-area repositories without ever leaving your home town. The Researching in Washington, DC without Leaving Home course at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in January shows you how in a week of in-depth classes by leading experts. Learn how to navigate the massive National Archives website to find the very record you need, how to find just the ancestor you're seeking in government records of the past, and where to locate the perfect period map for your ancestor's area. We'll even show you how to find a historic map of nineteenth-century Germany in a Library of Congress collection and obtain a high-resolution print or digital copy.

This course delves into little-known repositories in the Washington area that hold gems most people never discover, and it introduces you to new ways of accessing resources at old familiar institutions such as NARA, the DAR Library, and the Library of Congress. Hands-on computer labs help ensure that you'll be able to do this research yourself when you get back home. You'll also learn how to obtain the records you need through interlibrary loan or microfilm loan at your local Family History Center.

Let's be honest. There ARE records that you'll only be able to see if you do travel to the particular repository in Washington, DC; it isn't all online. But if you invest in this one-week workshop in Salt Lake City, you'll learn to use online resources to their fullest capability, locate a lot of sources online right now, and find the most economical way to make a trip to Washington, DC by preparing in advance.

There are still a few seats left in the Researching in Washington, DC without Leaving Home Course at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in January 2013. Register now for an exciting learning experience with like-minded individuals in the beautiful Salt Lake City area, just a stone's throw from the largest genealogy library in the world (where you can spend your evenings)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall Conference Keynote: Kids having fun.

Bret Petersen, Suzanne Curley and I gave a presentation at the recent UGA conference entitled "The Cool Parts of Family History-Kids Having Fun"  In it I was able to talk about my vision for how family history conferences need to change in the United States and why it is so important to involve youth in our family history efforts.  We had many requests for the recording so I put them up on Youtube.  Unfortunately the recording isn't so hot.  But I hope you can still hear it somewhat.

Suzanne gave a wonderful presentation with great ideas about what is happening around the world.  Unfortunately her portion of the video couldn't be recorded because of copyright permissions on some of the things she showed.  But Bret had some great ideas too:

Spectacular Successes, Learning from failures

Reprinted from The Chart Chick Blog

We say that Lincoln, Edison, etc had many spectacular failures and yet we know them to be spectacularly successful.  I think as I begin to finish up my 2 year tenure as president of the Utah Genealogical Association, we can see both in the innovative conference that UGA tried this fall too.

UGA's fall conference this year was both a spectacular success, and one of those experiences you learn alot from.  
  • Vendors were generally happy even though we put them up to a lot of extra work and had very few people there to pay them for it. Each had to have an activity booth and there were lots of great ideas they came up with.  There is alot of refinement to do there but I think we struck on an idea that was a win win for everyone.  Everyone especially loved Family Roots Publishing's free popcorn.  Thanks Leland!
  • Everyone loved the classes.  Bret Petersen did a great job of changing things up. He was a tireless conference organizer and I can't imagine anyone better suited to the task.  We had new people and new topics and all of the reviews were great.  
  • We really resonated with people.  During the Keynote Saturday morning (Recordings Posted to YouTube Here) I tried to explain our rationale for changing things up and why I'm so passionate about involving youth in genealogy.  We had person after person come up to us on Saturday and tell us that if that was what UGA was about, they wanted to be more involved.  I received some information a couple of weeks ago from a market analysis that Family Tree Magazine did. When asked what their goals were for their family history activities 85.1% said they wanted to record their family tree for posterity and 65.6 % to share their family tree with others.  We want to involve our families in our family history but we are having trouble figuring out how to do it without making their eyes gloss over. 
  • There were very few families who attended like we had hoped.  We've analyzed this and I think it comes down to a couple things.  I don't think anyone trusted us to make this entertaining enough for children.  And when I look at it--I think if I'd been on the other side, I would have had the same reaction.  Would a bunch of genealogists be able to come up with something my children would enjoy? or would they turn my kids off even more to something I so want them to love. Hopefully we gained some trust and began to turn the ship. 
What we learned:  We charged too much for families.  For the next time, everyone 18 and younger just need to be free.  In fact, across the board, throughout the genealogy community, for every event, 18 and younger just need to be free.  Also, you need to clearly label your youth activities.  We had lots of innovative classes but we should have labeled a "young and young at heart" track.  Likewise we needed shorter classes.  We knew that going in this time but weren't ready to change track quite that much.  But you do have to market to adults.  The kids won't come on their own, but they will have fun once they get there. 

On a personal level it was a spectacular success for my family.  I was able to spend the day with my kids rather than be away from them at another genealogy conference weekend.  There was little to no complaining which was a complete miracle.  They were genuinely happy to be there and enjoyed having their friends there to help them.  They had a fantastic opportunity to develop their communication skills and deal with the public.  In that--I am again continually amazed at the richness genealogy brings to the lives of my children.  Who would have thought they'd gain experience like that from family history.  I think it was good for them to watch their parents, and UGA try to change something in the world, and I personally enjoyed having them see so closely an issue that I care so deeply about.  I hope they will participate in helping me solve it.

UGA has seen some spectacular successes in the last several years.  Our membership continues to grow and grow.  Our board is young and dynamic (even those of us who are older are dynamic.) And we are trying things and moving along with the times.  I'm so proud of UGA and what we've been able to accomplish.  Board meeting is this weekend and I'm excited to see where we go next.  I hope you'll come help us move forward into the next successful things UGA decides to do. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

SLIG Series: John Philip Colletta

1.       When did you first start researching your family history? Was there a moment when you knew you were “hooked?” One summer when I was 13 or 14 and whining about having nothing to do, my mother suggested I create a family tree. She had just read an article about it in Family Circle magazine. I began interviewing my two grandmothers and took to genealogy in a big way immediately.

2.       Do you have a pet ancestor? Can you tell us a little bit about what makes this person so special to you as a researcher? No, I have no “pet ancestor.” I feel particularly close to my mother’s mother’s parents, though, Andrew and Frances Noeth. They were born in Bavaria and came to Buffalo, New York, in 1886. Since my mother was very close to her grandparents (their back yards adjoined and the fence had a gate in it), I have heard more stories about Andrew and Frances Noeth than any other ancestors. It’s almost as though I knew them. Temperamentally, however, I feel a closer kinship to my father’s Sicilian ancestors.

3.       What record set to you believe is the most under-utilized? What advice would you give students in using this record set? Court records in general are under-utilized because accessing and searching them takes time and effort. But they contain a wealth of information about our ancestors. I encourage family historians to explore the records created by our federal courts, 1789-1911, which are in the 13 regional archives of our National Archives and Records Administration (RG21). The court’s docket book may serve as an index. Newspapers, too, report the docket when the court is in session. Federal Cases, a thirty-volume set in any law library also helps to identify federal court suits involving specific ancestors.

4.       What books and periodicals would you recommend for intermediate to advanced researchers? Are there any lesser-known texts you advise? I subscribe to the major scholarly genealogical periodicals, such as the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, The American Genealogist, and so forth. Their articles are the best in the field and offer a tremendous variety of lessons—and enjoyable reading—for all family historians.

5.       What is the most rewarding thing about being a genealogical educator? What advice would you give for those who would follow in your footsteps? Helping people learn more about their own heritage, ancestor by ancestor, is very gratifying, because I know how much it means to them personally. More than that, though, meeting people, one on one, across the country, who are engaged in family research is great fun. It broadens in a most delightful way the horizons of my own experience and knowledge. Genealogists are the best!

6.       Why would you recommend a student attend SLIG in general? SLIG provides a tremendous amount of practical instruction in an ideal setting a few blocks from the LDS Family History Library… and at a very reasonable cost, too! The physical environment is comfortable and the faculty, staff and attendees all share their knowledge, experience and personalities in a genial atmosphere. A week at SLIG adds up to a lot more than a week at SLIG. It is more than an educational institute. It is a coming together of fellow ancestor hunters from across the country, a festival of sharing and camaraderie.

7.       Will you tell us a little bit about what makes your SLIG course unique among genealogical education offerings? “Producing a Quality Family Narrative” is unique among the courses offered at national genealogical institutes and conferences. It is the flagship course of my 28-career. No other course explores the process of arranging and recording the huge quantity of information gathered over many years of genealogical research and demonstrates how to narrate the stories of the ancestors in an engaging way. No matter who your ancestors were or where or when they lived, “Producing a Quality Family Narrative” sets you on the path to telling their stories to future generations.

8.       Do you have a website where students can learn more about you? My website is

9.       Will you share something with us that students may not know about you? Perhaps a non-genealogical hobby? I have resided in Washington, D.C., for thirty-five years, a beautiful city on a human scale, with lots of greenery, splendid architecture, picturesque bridges and statuary—and totally walkable. Washington, D.C., is not a large city. I do not own a car. Almost all of my travel is by bicycle—errands, business, leisure, pleasure…. I also love to walk and, when necessary, the city’s public transportation is excellent. Taxis are always available, too! Just getting to the National Archives or Library of Congress or DAR Library is a pleasure.

Any parting thoughts or advice? See you in my course! J

Friday, September 21, 2012

SLIG is only 4 months away!

I am looking forward to learning more about the 2013 SLIG students. We will do some sharing in Course 1, American Research and Records: Focus on Localities.

One of the ways I began my research pursuits was visiting the state archives here in Minnesota and devouring the info in finding aids. Then I began ordering boxes of original records and some were not to research my own family, but were for expanding my knowledge. I wish more people would visit archives, courthouses, library special collections and other places to research in the billions of pieces of paper that are not microfilmed or digitized. It’s such a rewarding experience.

One of the most rewarding things about being a genealogical educator is sharing that knowledge with others. I get to experience joy when students and readers report back on what they found or how I helped them solve a brick wall issue. I love problem solving and I hope that shows during the one-on-one consultations that are part of the intermediate American Records course at SLIG.

Two of the big advantages for attending SLIG are the instructors and the accessibility to the Family History Library. The instructors represent many years of experience and knowledge in a myriad of areas. I love being able to instruct about a particular time period, technique, or set of records and telling the students to go to the FHL right after classes and put that info to immediate use.

The camaraderie and friendships that develop out of SLIG are phenomenal. I love chatting with other instructors and I still keep in contact with students from as long ago as the second year of SLIG.

There are still some seats open in Course 1. Sign up today and be a part of a fantastic group of students who will be learning great things, making new friends, and having fun, too. We are not serious every moment and there is time for sharing your knowledge and your research issues, too. Check here to see the course titles, instructors, and the consultants. They are all wonderful educators, too.

See you in January in Salt Lake City.

Now I better get back to working on the syllabus material for my course and for the other two courses in which I am teaching.


Paula Stuart-Warren

Thursday, September 20, 2012

SLIG Series: Cath Madden Trindle

1.       When did you first start researching your family history? Was there a moment when you knew you were “hooked?”

I started researching my family history about 35 years ago.  My Aunt had done quite a bit of work on my Mother's family but we knew nothing about my fathers.  He didn't even know his grandparents.  This was back in the days when there were no computers...but a couple months, a lot of letters and dozens of reels of microfilm later I had great-grandparents and great-great grandparents and I was hooked!

2.       Do you have a pet ancestor? Can you tell us a little bit about what makes this person so special to you as a researcher?

One of my favorite ancestors is actually my husbands Great-Great Grandfather.  We call him Poor Orson Oakes.  We don't know who his mother is, he was raised by his step-mother Sally.  At the age of 21 Orson married the widow next door.  She had seven children.  Her brother was not happy and as executor of her husbands estate created a wonderful Land Document that gives her husbands land back to Mary and her children but prevented Orson from ever making a dime from his years of work running the farm.  Orson was in his forties when be joined the Missouri 11th Cavalry (Union).  He served for 9 months and got cholera.  He went home to recover and then joined the Missouri 14th Cavalry (Union) again after 9 months he went home to recover and then back to the MO 14th.  When he applied for a pension the US Government would not grant it saying he left the Cavalry to serve with the Confederate Army (hedging his bets).  Well some eight years and 250 pension pages later, after agents interviewed family, friends and fellow soldiers living from Ohio to California Orson got his pension.  I guess he's my favorite because for someone the family knew nothing about (we don't even have a picture and he didn't die until 1904) he left a fantastic paper trail of some unusual documents.

3.       What record set to you believe is the most under-utilized? What advice would you give students in using this record set?

Anything that isn't online.  I've been working with some New Deal Records at NARA - San Francisco, what a treasure trove.  Almost every family was touched by the Depression and nearly every family benefited by the programs put in place.  The WPA is just the tip of the iceberg. 

4.       What books and periodicals would you recommend for intermediate to advanced researchers? Are there any lesser-known texts you advise?

Anything inspirational, anything that tells about record sets and encourages you to find them.  There are lots of great publications out there.

5.       What is the most rewarding thing about being a genealogical educator? What advice would you give for those who would follow in your footsteps?

Questions and comments from the room.  An educator should always be open to corrections, we can't know everything.  New updates come along and we might have missed them.  The worst sessions I've ever attended were led by lecturers that insisted they were right when many in the room knew they were wrong.  It ruined anything they might have had to share.

6.       Why would you recommend a student attend SLIG in general?

What I see is a comraderie that can't easily be achieved at conferences, and an in depth genealogical experience that can't be achieved in weekly or monthly classes at home.  Everyone seems to go away more enthused about continuing their research.

7.       Will you tell us a little bit about what makes your SLIG course unique among genealogical education offerings?

While house histories have become more popular over the last few years starting from San Francisco where so many records were lost in the 1906 earthquake offers an opportunity to discuss some of the more obscure resources for learning about a house.

8.       Will you share something with us that students may not know about you? Perhaps a non-genealogical hobby?

A bit of a "flower child" my best friend and I sang ballads and protest songs in many a "hootenanny" while in high school.  I got a lot of flack when I married a "cop."

9.   Any parting thoughts or advice?

Researching your family history should be fun and the product of your research should be enjoyable for your family to peruse!  Look for the stories!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fall Conference -- Teresa Boyer Clark

Teresa Boyer Clark -- Hearing the Voices of the Past
The transfer of family history, the core of the oral tradition, is approaching extinction. In this hands on workshop participants will learn to excavate and create stories from their family heritage. Tips will be given on lifting the story from the research and sharing through publication and the oral tradition.
(Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced)

Teresa Boyer Clark -- Prompting Tales from Surviving Generations
Historian, author, and national award-winning storyteller, Teresa Clark, believes the family stories behind the significant dates are vital to engaging interest and forming multi-generational connections. Teresa delights in the excavation and sharing of family story. She has dedicated her life to helping others harvest and triumph theirs.
(Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced)

Teresa Boyer Clark -- Baskets Full of Memory
An exercise in rediscovering the personal archives of memory
Teresa Clark believes many of our youth today are lost because they have no idea who they are, where they come from, or who they come from.  Society as a whole is not sharing, telling, or honoring our stories, our traditions, or our cultures.  Our history, our culture, our core beliefs as a nation, basic human decency and much more can be understood most effectively through story.  Storytelling can strengthen and open communication within all walks of life.  Join Teresa Clark for this fun-filled hands-on lab focused on the exercise of triggering and sharing personal story for families and strangers alike.
(Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced)

Teresa Boyer Clark --  The Tapestry We Call Life
When was the last time you sat down and listened to a good story? Join Teresa Clark as she shares a spell-binding storytelling tapestry filled with the varied colors and fibers of life. Blending folklore, history, and personal glimpses, Teresa’s love for the past shines through as she artfully weaves these threads of life into fresh, yet timely stories. These tales might not be from your home, but they’ll certainly hit close to home. This is listening fun for the whole family!
(Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall Conference -- Shellee Morehead

Shellee Morehead -- Clusters and Chains for Finding Immigrant Origins
Clusters and chains are not cookies! They describe family and neighborhood groups who emigrated to the U.S. Track neighbors and associates to find clues to European hometowns. This lecture describes  immigrant experiences, cluster genealogy and chain migration and demonstrates proven methods to track your immigrant ancestors.

Shellee Morehead -- Conserving Our Personal Collections
Most genealogists are the “family historian” and we gratefully accept a variety of materials for our research. But how do we preserve the materials entrusted to us? Do we prepare for the unexpected? We will discuss preservation of various types of materials and ensuring their survival for future generations.

Shellee Morehead -- Sex, DNA and Family History
It all starts with sex and how two types of DNA, mitochondrial DNA and chromosomal DNA, are transmitted to males and females. This lecture describes DNA transmission and shows how to use two basic genealogy charts, pedigree and descendency charts, to ask and answer questions about your ancestry using DNA.

Shellee Morehead -- Finding and Using Manuscript Collections
Manuscript collections contain fabulous and unique materials for our family history research. Family papers can hide in historical societies, universities or state archives around the country. Learn how to find relevant manuscript collections using online resources, and see a variety of examples of manuscripts used to enhance family history writing.

SLIG Series: Bill Litchman

1. When did you first start researching your family history? Was there a moment when you knew you were “hooked?”

I started researching family history (if you can call it that) when I was about age 13-14 by writing a letter to my paternal grandmother asking her about family information. My father had told me that she was interested in family history and, while he “knew nothing about it,” she would be delighted to share with me. Well, he was right. She responded to my letter with hand-copied notes from her personal family history note-book detailing dates and names from the Marblehead (Mass) town records. She had personally read through these books to find family members with whom she was familiar. Of course, having only met her once for a day or two on a trip when I was nine, I didn't know her or any of the family that she knew so all these names and dates were completely unfamiliar to me. But... when I received that letter, I was hooked – line and sinker!

2. Do you have a pet ancestor? Can you tell us a little bit about what makes this person so special to you as a researcher?

My father told me a very exciting story of a fisherman lost at sea, with his mother ship gone from sight over the horizon, and he was miles and miles from shore with his dead (frozen) fishing mate in the dory with him. In the story, this man rowed himself 60 miles to Newfoundland with his hands frozen to the oars to be saved from sure death by a member of our family. Though the fisherman was not an ancestor of mine, he became a pet. This fisherman, because of his heroic efforts to save his own life, brought two halves of our family together after being lost from each other for 50 years. The rescue happened in 1883. In 1985 I wrote to “any Lushman/Lishman family in Grey River,” Newfoundland, as a result of this story heard from my father 30 years before. Sure enough, I got a letter back and from that single contact and others which have come from it, I've been able to find and connect over 1500 members of my lost Canadian family, all descended from the father of that single rescuer of the fisherman. I have only touched the tip of the family iceberg here – there is much, much more.

3. What record set to you believe is the most under-utilized? What advice would you give students in using this record set?

There are many under-utilized record groups including court records. With the advent of the internet and the use of computers, we face the danger of over-simplifying the character of research into the expectation that complete family structures are to be found online for the asking. It will take a lot of education and experience for those who are entering this field now to realize the shallowness and non-documentation danger of the view we get through records which are currently available online. Once we get weaned from sitting in front of our computers, then we'll begin to realize the depth of information which is available to us. Court records are under-utilized because they are hand-written, not indexed, and rarely microfilmed/digitized completely. We see only the calendars and dockets but the rest of the testimony, with the personal details, are hidden away in vaults and archives to be visited only by those who know what is there for them. The language of these records is technical, abbreviated, and cryptic. In addition, our court system in this country is so complex and multi-leveled, that what is not found in one court could easy be found in another nearby. Frustration points are common and sprinkled liberally throughout the process of attempting to use these records. There are hundreds of pages of court documents hidden away in archives which have rarely seen the light of day.

4. What books and periodicals would you recommend for intermediate to advanced researchers? Are there any lesser-known texts you advise?

The best periodicals available to intermediate researchers and above are those journals which publish peer-reviewed original research. These journals, when read cover-to-cover will educate the reader better than most layman-level survey articles or books. It requires work to go through this research material enough to cover much of the field but it is worth the reader's while. Research techniques, analytical thinking, and creative uses for evidential documents are all outlined in a way that the author intends to be instructive in these articles. The reviewers are there to protect the unwary reader by improving the presentation and eliminating error before publication. The beginner will only be confused by many of these articles and until they have risen to a certain level of understanding and sophistication they will not realize their full potential.
To get to that level, perhaps some books might be helpful such as Val Greenwood's book The Researcher's Guide, or Kory Meyerink's Printed Sources, or Laura Pfeiffer's Hidden Sources, and finally The Source. The Source is interesting because it has gone through three editions, each of which retains something of the earlier but adds a bit new. Reading all three editions can provide a good review (there is more than can be assimilated in one go) as well as an advance in new directions. Of course, reading is not enough, it is far better to read and then go and do; delve into the records, feel them, see what they contain find out how hard they are to use, discover the gems within – all as a part of real research.

5. What is the most rewarding thing about being a genealogical educator? What advice would you give for those who would follow in your footsteps?

I have been very fortunate in my role as an educator in genealogy. There are few genealogical lecturers and educators who reside where I do and few who visit my city even as large as it is. Over the past 25 years or so, I have been able to provide beginning and advanced seminars, classes, and lectures which have drawn serious students of this field to my side. By that means, I have been able to follow their progress in learning and have marveled at their creativity, cleverness, and use of good research techniques which we have unearthed and discussed together through these seminars. Then, the reward comes when the student picks up what they have learned and runs faster and farther than ever I could, eventually to turn and look back to give a hand to those who are following them The most important part of education in this field is the sense of sharing and giving which permeates those who are involved. What a blessing it is to be among such generous people!

6. Why would you recommend a student attend SLIG in general?

The level of excellence prevalent amongst the staff of this institute is such that every student, regardless of how experienced, will come away with new insight into this intriguing world of learning. Our field is so broad and so finely divided that no single person, as expert as they may be, knows everything there is to know about all aspects of the work in this field. There is always room for learning. How exciting that is.

7. Will you tell us a little bit about what makes your SLIG course unique among genealogical education offerings?

One of the most difficult things to teach in any field of creative work is the ability to think analytically. Analysis is specific to the problem. To think creatively at the same time you are tied to the evidence is not a rote process. There is no defined series of steps which will bring you to a successful solution (proof) for every problem you tackle. For this reason, there is no algorithm which will work every time. No computer can replace the human brain with its ability to think analytically and creatively. Each student brings with him or her their own equipment for solving problems, once the evidence has been exposed; then analysis can direct the next steps by realizing the connections, patterns, and new pathways which will bring to light either new evidence or new places to find it – or – new ways to combine the evidence already in hand. To teach this creative thinking is always a challenge. It requires mentoring, open thinking, and a willingness to accept a challenge, even to the point of making mistakes, to learn how to think creatively. Always connected with this learning process is the doing. The practicum course is one way to tackle this challenge.

8. Do you have a website where students can learn more about you?

I have a website on which is posted a number of research papers and projects on which I have worked. The site doesn't explain much about me but does present the papers.

9. Will you share something with us that students may not know about you? Perhaps a non-genealogical hobby?

My interests are broad so I have developed professional capability in several fields. I play music professionally enough to play for dances (English country dance, contra dancing, square dancing, and other community dances). I also have a PhD in the field of physical chemistry and have taught chemistry at the university level (including graduate courses and research) for over 30 years. I am a professional square dance caller with over 55 years of experience, having traveled in most of Europe, England, Canada, and America. My areas of leadership cover squares, contras, English country dancing, ballroom, international folk, quadrilles, historical dance, and other forms of community dancing. I have been a professional-level archivist in the field of music and dance for the past 40 years.

10. Any parting thoughts or advice?

Your mind is the most wonderful tool you have. Keep it clean, exercise it, don't ever put it on a leash. Develop it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall Conference -- Sandra Rumble

Sandra Rumble -- Planning a research trip using GenDetective
Learn how to quickly identify who and what you want to research on a trip to the library.  Create a research plan for several different resources that are available from the Family History Center.
(Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced)

Sandra Rumble -- Genealogy Research Planning using GenDetective
Learn how to quickly identify what you need to research so that you can spend more of your time conducting genealogy research instead of trying to figure out what you need to research.
(Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fall Conference -- Valerie Elkins

Valerie Elkins -- Finding Your Japanese Ancestors
How do you find your Japanese ancestors when you don’t speak or read the language, or when no records are available online? The Japanese are wonderful record-keepers! Learn how to find and access these valuable records that will fill your family tree in no time.
(Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced)

Valerie Elkins --The Magic of Storytelling
Do your families and friends love hearing your genealogy research stories? Or does bringing up the “G” word empty the room faster than a cat in a room full of rockers? Family history is really not only about finding another name to add to pedigree charts. It is also about binding our family’s hearts with the stories of their heritage. Stories full of love and loss, happiness and devastation, heroics, valor and even shame - stories that can provide strength and courage to present and future generations. Our Family History stories need to be told and told well! If our families are not interested in our family history – maybe we are not telling our stories right… every family has great stories waiting to be told. You are invited to attend this session to discover how to find the magic in your family history stories!
(Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced)

Valerie Elkins -- Finding Your Family Stories
What do you do if you didn’t inherit family stories or you just want to find new ones?
We invite you to this session to learn the tips and tricks of how to weave and craft a story from history, documents, and other surprising sources into your personal and family stories and make the past come alive!
(Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced)

Valerie Elkins -- Interest in Pinterest: Pinning Your Family History

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fall Conference -- Warren Bittner

Warren Bittner -- Not in Our Family—Understanding & Researching Illegitimacy
See new light on nineteenth century morality.  How common was illegitimacy and marital pregnancy? What forces influenced its occurrence. What historical demographers have found.

Warren Bittner -- German Gothic Handwriting, Anyone Can Read It – Parts 1 & 2
Lean to read German Gothic handwriting used in records of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Scandinavia.  See examples from many areas and learn to decipher it.

Warren Bittner -- Once in Europe is Thorough Research Needed?
Learn to prove immigrant identity comparing U.S. and European data.  Follow an immigrant not found where she is supposed to be and whose name changes.

Warren Bittner -- Complex Evidence - What Is It, How it Works, Why it Matters
The goal of genealogy is to establish identity and prove relationships; complex evidence is the only way to do this. Follow a case study demonstrating the use of complex evidence.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall Conference -- Robert Raymond

Robert Raymond -- Baby Steps with Sources and Citations
What sources are best? Where are they found? How do I cite published sources, online sources, and manuscripts? Come learn baby steps to take as you grow and mature in your use of sources and citations and your ability to make your genealogy verifiably correct.

Robert Raymond -- Baby Steps with Evidence Analysis
Come learn baby steps to be taken as we grow and mature in our use of information and evidence. Primary or secondary? Direct or indirect? Conflicting or negative? Proven or not? Learn to make your genealogy verifiably correct.

Robert Raymond -- Lassie! Go for Free Genealogy Help!
When you start seeking your roots, you join a community renowned for helping one another. You will be amazed how often total strangers will happily render assistance. After attending this class you will know where to go, online and off, for free help.

Robert Raymond -- Genealogy Internet Gems
The Internet has millions of genealogy pages. Some are free, more are free at your local library, and some require you to buy a subscription. Attendees will learn about the cream of the crop, a handful of websites well worth your time and attention.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why I Love Genealogy Institutes

The following is a guest blog post by Angela Packer McGhie, co-coordinator of the "Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum" and instructor in "Researching in Washington D.C. without Leaving Home."


Getting to know Angela Packer McGhie
Co-coordinator, Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum (SLIG course 10)
Instructor, Researching in Washington D.C. Without Leaving Home (SLIG course 5)

When did you first start researching your family history?

I became interested in family history when I was a teenager. My grandmother's parents had both immigrated to the U.S. when they were children and she had researched their families in Sweden and Denmark. My mother was also interested in genealogy and would tell me stories about my ancestors. I did not start out doing good research, but I was smart enough to interview and record my grandparents as well as collect family photographs and stories.

Once I decided I really wanted to become a genealogist and do quality research I began focusing on genealogical education. I took several courses, attended national conferences, and completed the ProGen Study Program, but my favorite educational option has been the genealogical institutes! I have attended the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR), the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) twice, and the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University three times!

As you can see I believe strongly in education and write a blog on the topic at

What is the most rewarding thing about being a genealogical educator?

I appreciate all that I have learned from the excellent genealogists who have taught me and so I like to pay it forward.

Why would you recommend a student attend SLIG in general?

I love genealogy institutes because we get to study one topic in-depth for the whole week. The focus allows us to concentrate our learning and work to master the subject. I also love to spend a week getting to know my classmates as they usually turn out to be long-time genealogy friends and colleagues. And of course, the advantage of SLIG over other genealogy institutes is the Family History Library two block away!

What makes your SLIG course unique among genealogical education offerings?

The Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum course is different because rather than lecture format it is hands-on problem solving. The students are giving a real genealogical case with starting point information and then they have one day to work to solve it. For some cases they conduct research online and at the Family History Library, and for other cases they are given all the documents to analyze and see if they can correctly solve the problem. There are five excellent instructors who have hand picked cases for the students to work on which will give experience with various methodologies, time periods and localities.

Do you have a favorite ancestor? Can you tell us what makes this person so special to you as a researcher?

William Dalton was my "brick wall" ancestor for years. From family records I knew he was born in "England" about 1798 and died in Rochester, New York in July 1836. He did not leave behind much evidence of his life in public records, but I like to say he taught me my craft. You do not learn near as much from ancestors that are easy to find as you do from the ones that are difficult. I finally identified his parents by locating cousins who had family letters that identified a brother in Canada. Records of the brother led me to William's birthplace and parents in England!

Will you share something with us that students may not know about you?

The students who attended SLIG in 2012 know that I was pregnant at the time and now I have a beautiful baby girl who is five months old. My older son and daughter just love her!

Fall Conference -- Pat Jensen

Pat Jensen -- Italian Indexing for the non-Italian Indexer
With the completion of the 1940 Census, the Italian indexing has become a priority indexing project. This class introduces simple, key words and numbers used in printed Italian form records and identifies the required elements in birth and death records, as the class learns the basics of Italian indexing.
(Beginner to Advanced)

Pat Jensen -- FamilySearchIndexing Basics and Tips
This workshop is intended to give those new and experienced in FamilySearch Indexing helpful instructions and shortcuts that will simplify and increase their work without decreasing accuracy. The class includes keyboard shortcuts for the power indexer and program tools and tricks for all levels.
(Beginner to Advanced)

Pat Jensen -- Paleography: Early Handwriting – Can You Read It?
Whether researching original records or indexing for FamilySearch, reading early records presents stumbling blocks for many family history enthusiasts. This class takes learners through many of the pitfalls of reading original records and includes document transcription. It gives additional resources, such as alphabet templates, a book list, and practice websites.
(Beginner to Intermediate)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fall Conference -- Michael Booth

Michael Booth -- RootsMagic: FamilySearch Made Easy
RootsMagic genealogy software won the FamilySearch award for “Easiest to Sync”. Learn how to use RootsMagic to easily search the FamilySearch Family Tree and to share data and collaborate with others using this tremendous online resource. You’ll also learn how RootsMagic can make you more productive in working with FamilySearch.

Michael Booth -- What’s New in RootsMagic 5
An introduction to RootsMagic 5, the newest version of this award-winning genealogy software. Learn about features like the Timeline view, Research Logs, CountyCheck, and Media tagging. You’ll also learn about the many enhanced sources, mapping tools, to-do lists, and reports. See for yourself why Family Tree Magazine named RootsMagic, “the best all-around genealogy program . . for both casual and serious genealogists.”

Michael Booth -- RootsMagic: Sharing and Publishing Your Family Tree
Don’t keep your family history to yourself. RootsMagic is the award-winning genealogy software that makes family history easy. Learn how to add pictures and media, create beautiful charts and reports, publish complete books, make Shareable CDs and DVDs, and share your research with friends and family.

Michael Booth -- Genealogy on the Go
Whether you are on vacation, visiting family, or just making a trip to the family history center, you often need access to your family history and other files while being away from your computer. Whether
your data is “in the cloud” on in the palm of your hand, we’ll look at a variety of easy options that allow you to work with your important files no matter where you go.
(Beginner to Advanced)

Michael Booth -- Personal Historian 2: New Tools to Write Your Life Stories
Personal Historian 2 is the latest version of the unique software to organize, write, and publish personal histories for yourself and other individuals. It takes this seemingly monumental task and breaks it into small, manageable pieces and then reconstructs it into a complete, publishable document. The included library of timelines and memory triggers give color and context to your writing. You can even add documents, journals, photographs, and genealogy to give it a personal touch.
(Beginner to Advanced)

Michael Booth -- Where in the World? Geography, GPS, and Genealogy
New and friendly mapping technology has literally put the world in the palm of your hand. From computer software to GPS receivers to handheld mobile devices, it's never been easier to pin-point locations
around the globe. Join us as we learn how to use this technology to find, record, and share locations of interest and importance to your family history.
(Beginner to Advanced)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fall Conference -- Michael D. Lacopo

Michael D. Lacopo --Deconstructing Your Family Tree: Re-Evaluating The "Evidence"
When information passed on from researcher to researcher doesn't "add up," it's time to tear down the walls and rebuild anew.  This methodology lecture shows how erroneous conclusions can sneak into our research uncontested.  This lecture is pertinent especially today with so many Internet family trees that get cut and pasted into our own research. 
(Beginner to Advanced)

Michael D. Lacopo -- More Than the Census - Our Families Did Exist Between Those Ten-Year Intervals!
This lecture will show the researcher that it is important to identify our ancestors’ whereabouts in as many local records as possible.  A lot can happen in ten years!  If you don’t look harder, you won’t find them. (Beginner to Intermediate)

Michael D. Lacopo -- Using German Church Records
Many of us have German-speaking European ancestors but are afraid to tackle the next step across the Atlantic. Your lecturer will show examples of German church records, how to decipher them and how to overcome the fear of German script. 
(Beginner to Advanced).

Michael D. Lacopo -- Methods for Identify the German Origins of American Immigrants
If all you know from conventional records is “Germany” as a place of origin, then this lecture will help you mine other resources to locate WHERE in Germany your ancestor came from.
(Intermediate to Advanced)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall Conference -- Marlo Schuldt

Marlo Schuldt -- Composing and Printing a Family History
Attend this class if you are planning to write or compile a family history o a journal. Learning a few simple tips can dramatically improve the quality of your book. You will learn how to save time, money and make this an enjoyable adventure.
A few of the topics covered in the class:
·    How and where to get started – make it easy on yourself.
·    Suggested topics for you to share and write about.
·    Adding photos to your book – format and size considerations.
·    Easy ways to flow text around photos..
·    Why you should create a CD/DVD to go with the book.
·    Things to avoid that will help save your sanity!
·    Determining how much it will cost to print your book.
·    Easy ways to get others to help you.
·    Formatting examples and suggestions.
·    Taking your book to the printer do’s and don’ts.
·    Archiving and preservation.
·    Money saving tips.
·    Questions welcome.
Marlo Schuldt -- Heritage Collector Software

Marlo Schuldt -- Converting Old Tape Recordings and Working With Sound
Learn to use FREE software to edit, enhance, preserve and record sound. Enrich Your History With Sound.Adding oral narrative to a slide show or a photo adds interest to family history. Hearing the voices of parents, grandparents, relatives and children will be a real treat for your children and grandchildren while introducing them to their ancestors. Time is running out! Old tapes deteriorate more each day. Tapes wear each time they are played. Tape players jam, damage, and destroy old recordings without warning. Editing, recording and converting old tapes is easier than you think. After this class you will wonder why you were so afraid and waited so long to do something so fun!

Marlo Schuldt -- Using Calendars and Storybooks to Increase Interest and Share Family History
Sometimes it's difficult to get the attention of our children and relatives as we attempt to share family history. Often the problem is “their past history” of trying to plow through many dry pages of dates and names looking for something of interest. Therefore it's not easy for us to convince others that we have some new and interesting things to share with them. We have a fun solution to this problem.
This class will provide you with new ideas and ways to entice your children and relatives to take a look at some of the new things you have created. You will learn how to create interesting family history calendars and storybooks that are enhanced with family photos and oral stories.

Marlo Schuldt -- Smart Phone Family History Class
It's time to start working smarter and not harder with a smart phone!
Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know much about the new phones.This is the time and place to learn. If you are thinking about getting a new phone, this is the class for you.
This class will show you how to get your kids and grandkids to help you with family history while having some fun at the same time. Learn how you can use a tripod and how to get video and audio files from your phone.We have two handouts that will be very helpful for you to study during and after the class.