Tag Archives: Education

Five Goals You Should Set for 2020: Part 2, Set an Education Plan

Continuing education is an important part of any vocation or hobby. Keeping up with the latest developments, learning about new topics, and strengthening areas you are weak in are vital for growth and development. So, let’s look at developing a genealogy education plan.

First, you’ll need to do some self-assessment. There are ways to go about this, usually, they are quite individual so take my process for what you can and adapt to what will work for you. Typically, I ask myself these three questions:

  • Where am I weakest in terms of record type, geographic area (that applies to my research or client work), ethnic group, or methodology?
  • What research (usually personal, not client-related) do I want to expand? And what kinds of education do I need to do that (usually geography related)?
  • Are there areas in my business where I need help, more information, a better system, or another area where I can find a class or webinar to help me improve?

Then, I examine the lecture, webinar, institutes, conferences, and other opportunities to IMG_3920_1024fill in those blanks. I will also seek out books, articles, blog posts, past webinars, and YouTube videos that might help start my education in that area.

Over the last several years, my education, in general, has focused on DNA and genetic genealogy methodology. When I moved from Colorado to Texas, I spent the first year learning about Texas history (fascinating!), ethnic groups, repositories, and research techniques specific to this area.

Looking ahead to 2020 and 2021, I know I want to dig deeper into my personal research overseas, specifically in Germany. I am planning on attending the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) in July and taking “Foundations of German Research” with Warren Bittner, for example. There are also a number of webinars on the topic at Legacy Family Tree Webinars1, and over the years I have purchased several books that I need to read (you don’t have a pile of books to read, do you?).

You can get very specific with your research plan. I know colleagues who employ entire spreadsheets to the topic. I try to set aside time each week (usually a couple of hours) devoted to something on that education plan (a webinar, article, book, etc.). Then I try to apply what I’ve learned to what I’m working on. It is a real shame when you attend an institute and then don’t have time to work with anything you just learned! So, that couple of hours per week is spent learning and applying to a research project.

There are a lot of new opportunities coming up all of the time, many of them online which cuts down the cost of travel. There are many webinars as well as several new online courses available through Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), National Genealogical Society (NGS), Virtual Genealogical Association (VGA), and others. I am working on some new online courses in addition to the NGSQ study groups I started so stay tuned for those.

Let me know what your 2020 education plans might hold. I’m always interested in what educational opportunities are available in the world!


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Announcing NEW NGSQ Study Groups

During my time as a facilitator for the Certification Discussion Groups (CDG), organized by Jill Morelli, students indicated to me that they wished for some more options in discussion groups to talk more about the “meaty” techniques and methods of genealogical research, particularly when working with evidence analysis and the Genealogical Proof Standard.

IMG_3953I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while and have finally settled upon the details. This is a monthly study group that will examine one National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) journal article per month. We will study these articles with a focus on principles taught in Mastering Genealogical Proof (MGP) by Tom Jones. We will discuss topics on the genealogy standards, evidence analysis and correlation, writing, citations, and more.

The cost is $50 for the year. For this price, you will:

  • Participate in a monthly study group session for up to two hours with your peers, led by me, Cari Taplin.
  • Receive the discussion questions at least two weeks prior to the online meeting.
  • Have access to a private Facebook Group for mid-month discussion. This Facebook group will be limited to study group participants only, no outside noise!

There will be no individual feedback given unless you want to sign up for a private consultation session. There will be no required peer feedback, except for what you choose to post and receive in the FB group. Your commitment is to read the articles, any indicated sections in MGP, and come prepared to discuss the questions (or simply show up and listen). I believe the benefit you will get out of a class is equal to the effort you put into it.

Please Note: You must have access to these articles either by being a member of NGS or from your local library. You will also need to have a copy of Mastering Genealogical Proof. Due to copyright, I cannot provide copies to you.

There are three sessions, two daytime and one evening.

Sign up now or click for more information.

This is meant to be an INTERMEDIATE discussion group, not a beginner or advanced. If you aren’t sure if you fall into that category here are some possibly helpful descriptors to help you decide (all or none could apply but this is the type of group I’m aiming for):

  • You’ve read NGSQ articles and generally can follow them (I’m not asking if you fully understand them, but they aren’t “Greek” to you either)
  • You own Mastering Genealogical Proof(or at least know what it is and will buy a copy before this class starts)
  • You own or have access to a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills
  • You’re interested in certification or accreditation and have participated in one of Jill Morelli’s Certification Discussion Groups (CDG)
  • You know what the Genealogical Proof Standard is.

If you aren’t sure, send me an email and we can discuss it further.

To keep the discussion manageable and allow everyone a chance to speak, class size is limited to 25 participants, so sign up now!

I’m looking forward to studying with you!

Review: New Jersey Family History Institute

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending the New Jersey Family History Institute … from the comfort of my own home! Melissa A. Johnson, CG® has put together a fantastic two-day course on New Jersey Family History Research. I have a project in mind to work on some of my New Jersey ancestry and so when I saw this opportunity, I jumped on it. njfhi-logoThe course is offered online or in person “to learn all about sources and strategies for researching NJ ancestors and families.” 

I expected two days of lectures giving me a run-down of the unique history, geography, record sets, and other information to help me with my New Jersey research. I even figured I’d fold laundry while I listened. What I got was a whole lot more. I did manage to fold the laundry, but I also found myself paying very close attention, taking notes, answering class exercises in the chat, and creating a research plan for a future research trip!

Melissa has done a fantastic job of creating an in-depth, interactive course (even with the online audience), with in-class exercises pertaining to the topic of the hour. She asked for people to share their answer to the exercises, including those online, and would read them out for everyone’s benefit, which also made me feel like part of the class. Optional homework was given as well.

This course covered topics ranging from the basic timeline of New Jersey, highlighting key points as they would pertain to records and research, to laws and their impact on research findings, a breakdown of the court system, major resources, libraries, collections, and so on. A lot of attention was given to differentiation between the Colonial period and post-statehood. Melissa is a fantastic instructor, not only because she provides the students with the information they need to be successful in their research, but by also giving relevant exercises that were challenging and educational on the topic at hand. Furthermore, she is very cognizant of the online community tuning in as well, repeating questions from those in class and interacting with us in an individual and meaningful way.

While this course is over for this year, I suspect it will be held again. The website indicates that more courses will be added in the future on other topics as well. You can join the mailing list to be informed when new events are added.

I will be watching this educational resource for future opportunities and encourage you to do so as well!

Fox listening in
Even my dog “Special Agent Fox Mulder” (Fox for short) had a fun time listening to Melissa’s course!

Mid-Summer Catch-Up

I returned from a fantastic week at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) where I had the pleasure of taking “Advanced DNA” from Blaine Bettinger, Angie Bush, and Karen Stanbury, CG. I learned a lot and I learned I already knew a lot which is almost just as important when you are trying to build your confidence in your DNA analysis skills! GRIP has a fantastic line-up for July as well as their 2020 courses published. It’s one of my favorite institutes!

I have some exciting things planned for the rest of my year that I wanted to share:

Phew! I’m tired just thinking about it. I hope to see you at at least one of these events. Be sure to say hi if you see me about.

Laura G. Prescott SLIG Scholarship Announced

One of the best, brightest, kindest, and most selfless genealogists in the genealogy community, Laura Prescott, has decided to enter hospice care after years of fighting a tough battle with cancer.

The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) has announced a scholarship in her honor. As if the writing of this post, the fund has reached over $14,000!

What a wonderful gift to remember and honor such a kind and generous person whose smile would just light up a room!

You can read the full details and how to donate here: https://ugagenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/07/new-laura-g-prescott-slig-scholarship.html?m=1

Please consider a donation, no matter how small, to help honor this lovely person and gift the community with a wonderful legacy in her memory for years to come.

GRIP 2019 Courses Announced

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It is hard to believe that the year is half over and I’m already looking ahead to my continuing education plans for 2019. In a little over a month, I will be attending the July week of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) in Pittsburgh (as opposed to the July week in Amherst, NY) coming up soon, taking the course “Women and Children First” with Judy Russell.

Looking ahead to future educational opportunities, I want to point out that GRIP’s 2019 courses have been announced and you can read about them on their blog.

Two weeks will be held in Pittsburgh at La Roche College, which is a lovely and inviting setting for a week of study. The weeks are June 23-28 and July 14-19, 2019. Mark your calendars!

GRIP is one of my favorites. I hope to see you there!

Future IGHR Courses and Scholarships

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I am attending the Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research in Athens, Georgia this week. They have announced their future courses. You can see the courses planned through 2022 and plan your genealogical education plan accordingly. The courses for 2019 are as follows:

  • Course One: Methods & Sources – coordinator Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG
  • Course Two: Intermediate Genealogy & Historical Studies – coordinator Angela Packer McGhie, CG
  • Course Three: Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis – coordinator Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
  • Course Four: Writing & Publishing for Genealogists – coordinator Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
  • Course Five: Genetics for Genealogists: Beginning DNA – coordinator Patricia Lee Hobbs, CG
  • Course Six: Military Records 2 – coordinator Michael L. Strauss, AG
  • Course Seven: Tracing Your English Ancestors – coordinator Paul Milner, MDiv, FUGA
  • Course Eight: Land Records: Using Maps – coordinator Melinda Kashuba, PhD
  • Course Nine: Research in the South: Colonial States – coordinator J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA
  • Course Ten: Building an African American Research Toolbox – coordinator Timothy Pinnick, BS
  • Course Eleven: Virginia’s Land and Military Conflicts – coordinator Victor S. Dunn, CG
  • Course Twelve: DNA as Genealogical Evidence (Advanced) – coordinator Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD
  • Course Thirteen: The Five Civilized Tribes – coordinator Anita Finger-Smith

There are also some amazing opportunities to help fund your education. IGHR scholarships can be viewed in full on their website, they are:

  • Ancestry ProGenealogists Scholarship
  • Birdie Monk Holsclaw Memorial Scholarship
  • HomePLACE IGHR Travel Scholarship
  • Jean Thomason Scholarship

Take advantage of these excellent educational opportunities and potential funding sources!

BCG Putting Skills to Work 2018

I’ve been in Grand Rapids, Michigan since Tuesday when I attended the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Education Fund’s “Putting Skills to Work” class. What an excellent day! The time was split between two classes.

Connie Lenzen’s class “Planning and Executing Reasonably Exhaustive Research: Or How to Ensure a Successful Hunt” discussed research questions and plans. I have to say that I was quickly reminded of what I should be doing everyday. I get so excited for the research that I forget to focus, slow down, and set forth a path for my search.

Tom Jones made us think about “Citing All Kinds of Online Sources.” This class focused only on sources you find online and really made us look at all of the layers that an online source might have. The original source, the microfilmed version, the scan of the microfilm, an original digitization in color, previously published or not, and so on. We worked through many example citations as a class and discussed each of the parts.

The level of interactive instruction that one gets at a BCG “Putting Skills to Work” class is incredible. If you are interested in certification, are already on the clock, or are already certified, it doesn’t matter. These classes are wonderful examples of hands-on, lecture with discussion with exercises, types of classes many of us enjoy and will benefit for our own continuing education.

The BCG Education Fund’s “Putting Skills to Work” occurs on the Tuesday before the National Genealogical Society Conference every year, so you will want to adjust your schedule accordingly. Next year’s schedule was announced at this years’ class, and will take place in St. Charles, Missouri on Tuesday May 7, 2019:

  • “Meeting Standards with Twenty-First Century Research Reports” with Melissa Johnson, CG
  • “Evidence Analysis: Theory, Practice, and the Real World” with Nancy A. Peters, CG, CGL

For more information on the BCG Education Fund, visit bcgedfund.org.

Irish Genealogy

I have identified two lines in my family tree that are Irish. I am excited to learn how to do Irish research this fall (because I haven’t really started yet) at the British Institute in Salt Lake City. The institute is taking place 15 – 19 October 2018 at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, Salt Lake City, Utah

On the topic of Irish research, this opportunity slid across my news feed recently: the Irish Genealogy Virtual Conference. You can read more about it here.

The schedule is as follows:

9:00 – Fintan Mullan presents Finding 17th Century Families in Ireland

10:15 – Gillian Hunt presents Using Church Records for Irish Genealogy Research

11:30 – Fiona Fitzsimons presents Finding Women in the Irish Records

12:30 – break

1:00 – Chris Paton presents Using Irish Land Records for Genealogy Research

2:15 – Maurice Gleeson presents Making Online Resources Work for You

The website states: The virtual conference starts at 9 am (Eastern) with presentations being delivered in pre-recorded webinar format. Presentations are made available in sequence. After one presentation ends, another becomes available. Also, the webinars are available for 72 hours to accommodate time zone differences.

At $79 CAD (about $64 US if my conversion is correct) for five presentations, this seems like an easy choice for me! If you are interested in learning more about Irish research, this sounds like a great conference that you can attend from home. For more information, visit their website: https://www.genealogyvic.com

(note: I am not affiliated with genealogyvic.com)

NGS Conference Live Stream Details Announced

The National Genealogical Society’s Annual Conference is coming right up! I am honored to be going to present three lectures among a wide variety of very talented speakers. The conference is being held in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 2-5 May 2018. If you are unable to attend in person, NGS just announced their live stream schedule option. You can read the full release with sign-up instructions and fees here.

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National Genealogical Society Conference Banner

The schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday, 3 May 2018: Viewers will be able to stream five lectures from 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., including:
    • Reasonably Exhaustive Research of African American Ancestors who came out of Slavery—LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG®
    • The Price of Loyalism: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary War—Terry Koch-Bostic
    • The Y-DNA Test Should be Your Favorite—Diahan Southard
    • Your Cousins are Your Secret Weapon—Angie Bush
    • Native American DNA: Separating Fact from Fiction—Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD
  • Friday, 4 May 2018: Five BCG Skillbuilding lectures will be live streamed from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., including:
    • History, Records, and Context: Researching the Locations Your Ancestors Lived—Angela Packer McGhie, CG
    • Samuel Witter vs. Samuel Witter: Separating Same-Name Soldiers, War of 1812—Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGLSM, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
    • Using Indirect and Negative Evidence to Prove Unrecorded Events—Thomas Wright Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
    • A Matter of Standards: DNA and the GPS—Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
    • Deeper Analysis: Techniques for Successful Problem Solving—Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

Details about the live stream program, plus additional conference recordings, can be found on the PlaybackNGS Website.

If you’d like to attend, but can’t make it in person, this is a wonderful opportunity to attend from home.