A few days ago I encouraged future institute-goers to apply for a variety of scholarships to attend IGHR. You can see that post here. Last night we attended the conclusion banquet for the week where my friend and colleague Kelvin Meyers announced that the Dallas Genealogical Society would be setting up a scholarship in honor of Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck, a long-time faculty member of IGHR.
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:
2018 Started with a BANG! I taught my first ever course at SLIG, co-coordinated with Kathryn Lake Hogan of Ontario, Canada. The course was “The Third Coast: Research in the Great Lakes Region.” It was a lot of fun and went very well. However, it was an intense process to prepare for such a large endeavor. Needless to say, I’m happy I did it and I’m equally happy that it’s done. And I will likely do it again in the future.
SLIG and a week of research at the FHL started this year for me, so I’m just now able to take a breath, take stock, and make plans for 2018 in terms of my speaking schedule and my own educational plans. My speaking schedule is light, which I chalk up to spending so much of my energy last year prepping for SLIG and not spending any time marketing myself or planning for 2018, with a few exceptions. I’m happy to have a bit of a break, however!
Here’s where I’m planning to be this coming year:
Beginning in April, I will be facilitating a discussion group on the topic of becoming a Certified Genealogist® hosted by Jill Morelli and the Seattle Genealogical Society. (For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
National Genealogical Society Annual Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 2-5 where I am presenting: W144 “Third Coast: How the Great Lakes Shaped America”; S423 “Casting the Net: Denominational, Ethnic, and Specialized Newspaper Research”; S456 “Using PERSI Like a Pro”
International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH), Salt Lake City, Utah, October 15-19 where I will be taking “Researching Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors” by Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt and my husband will be taking “Scottish Research: The Fundamentals and Beyond” with Paul Milner
There are some other items in the fall that are still materializing but this is what I have planned so far. I hope you make the investment to enhance your genealogical education plan with conferences and institutes. Nothing beats being in class with other genealogists!
And if your society is planning an all-day seminar, consider me for your speaker. I have a lot of topics to choose from. Check my Lecture Topics page for a complete list.
This time in my series on genealogy institutes, I’m going to describe IGHR and GRIP. These are the two institutes I have actually attended so I have my firsthand experiences to also share. Both of these institutes take place on a college campus and come with all of the perks (or not, depending on your perspective) of campus life, dorm packages and meal plans.
The Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, also commonly referred to as “IGHR” (pronounced eye-jer) or “Samford,” takes place annually in June at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. There are typically ten courses offered for beginners to advanced researchers. The Samford campus is quite lovely with a lot of shade when walking from building to building. This year the temperatures were quite bearable and we experienced a few days of rain, not unpleasant for someone from Colorado where the days are mostly dry. You may choose to stay in the dorms (beware of the snakes) but there are also hotels nearby and the institute coordinates a shuttle service between the hotels and the campus. If you happen to drive, there is free parking on campus. They also have meal plans in their cafeteria or a student center with fast food, a carryout and a coffee bar.
At IGHR the courses being offered for 2014 and 2015 are posted on their website. Here is a quick look at 2014’s lineup by course number:
Techniques & Technology
Intermediate Genealogy & Historical Studies
To Be Determined
Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis
Writing & Publishing for Genealogists
Advanced Library Research: Law Libraries & Government Documents
Virginia: Her Records & Her Laws
Researching African American Ancestors
U.S. Military Records
Irish Genealogical Research
There are a lot of topics to choose from and for complete course descriptions you will want to check their website.
Also, if you are interested in attending IGHR, there is a scholarship available to pay for your tuition. It is the Birdie Monk Holsclaw Memorial Scholarship. According to the Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies website, “Distributions are awarded to those who have an interest in genealogy and wish to pursue genealogical related education at the Samford University Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR). Application is open to all genealogists and consists of a short resume listing genealogical experience and a 150-200 word essay describing how IGHR will help advance their genealogical research skills. Deadline for Applications is October 1 each year.” There is a downloadable application on the site. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity!
The Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (or “GRIP”) takes place annually in July at La Roche College, located a few mile north of downtown Pittsburgh. La Roche College is a small college, easy to locate, with amenities near by. They too offer a dorm and cafeteria package. There are hotels nearby but they do not have a shuttle service yet. If you rent a car or drive to the conference there is also free parking available. This institute offers courses for varying levels of experience. The line-up and course descriptions for 2014 is posted on their website but here are the titles and instructors:
“Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper” with Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA
“Determining Kinship Reliably with the Genealogical Proof Standard” with Thomas W. Jones, PhD., CG, CGL
“Becoming an Online Expert: Mastering Search Engines and Digital Archives” with D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS
“Finding and Documenting African-American Families” with J. Mark Lowe, CG, and Deborah Abbott, PhD.
“Practical Genetic Genealogy” with Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, CeCe Moore and Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.
“Law School for Genealogists” with Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL and Richard G. “Rick” Sayre, CG, CGL
These institutes are very similar in structure. The classes run from about 8:30am-4:30pm. There are set break times with free snacks provided and a great time to get up and stretch your legs and network with your classmates. Both of these institutes offered optional evening sessions on various topics. At GRIP this year we got to watch the first episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (full episodes available on tlc.com) which is a lot of fun when you do it with a huge room of genealogists!
Both of these institutes are top notch, offer a wide variety of topics and activities. They are both located in some very scenic locations with a lot of history to explore. Be sure to plan time for site-seeing and fun!
This summer I attended two outstanding genealogy institutes, IGHR and GRIP. I attended my first last summer and I am hooked. If I had unlimited resources, I’d attend them as much as possible! Genealogical institutes are great because you get to delve into one topic, in-depth for a full week. Also, being in the same class with the same people all week allows for networking and relationship building that one might not get at other educational events. Plus, there tends to be more time to ask questions from the instructors that might not be available at national conferences when they (or you) might need to rush off to another lecture.
Over the next several posts, I am going to share some of the information I have collected to help those of you who have never been to one know what to expect, what to pack, things to consider ahead of time and other tips to enjoy these great opportunities for genealogical education.
Before you go there are few things you’ll want to consider. First of all, you will want to consider your travel arrangements. Depending on where the institute you will be attending is located, you may want to fly. However, taking a car, train or bus are also viable alternatives. You will want to decide if you will stay in the dorms, a hotel or on a friend’s couch (or guest room). Will you want to take advantage of the cafeteria meal plan, eat out or pack your lunch. Also, when you are there, depending on where you stay you will want to determine if you will need daily transportation to and from the venue. I usually have to locate the nearest coffee shop when I travel. And don’t forget to plan some extra time for sight-seeing. Why go all that way if you can’t see some of the local attractions while you are there?
Here is my packing list (besides toothbrush and underwear):
banquet clothes (often there is a banquet and you might want to dress up a bit)
comfy clothes (for sitting in class all day, all week)
computer or iPad or other electronic devices
power cords (you don’t want to forget these, been there)
business cards (if you have them as there are plenty of networking opportunities)
highlighters, pens, pencils, notebook, sticky notes, etc.
backpack/bag to carry your stuff in all week
cash (my trip to Pittsburgh this year included a day of sightseeing that encountered many “cash only” establishments)
camera (if you don’t use your phone)
extra reading materials (plane rides are excellent times to catch up on NGSQ reading)
an umbrella (if you think you’ll melt, I personally don’t own one as I have never needed it here in Colorado, some might want one though)
While I’m sure there are other things to bring. If you have been to an institute and would recommend something else, please feel free to add it to the comments below. Over the next several posts I will be looking at the 5 major institutes and give some of the unique details about each.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from IGHR or Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Advanced Methodology Course. I heard a lot of rumors about how hard it was. When people would find out which course I was taking they’d say “Ooooh. Gosh, be ready for a lot of homework.” Of course then I begin to second guess myself. “What if I’m not at the level needed to take this course? What if I’ve overestimated my abilities?” It turned out to be at just the right level and pace for me. I was familiar with almost all of the topics covered, with the exception of the government documents (gov docs for short) section. I’ve listened to lectures about gov docs before but never had the opportunity to use them. Everyone has a unique brain and therefore a different way of doing things and I thoroughly enjoyed learning how someone of Elizabeth Shown Mills’ caliber approaches a problem, what interpretations she makes from any given record and where she goes from there.
I think the biggest lessons I learned from the course are:
There’s always something more.
Citations are an art not a science.
Research the neighbors.
Of course there were many lessons to learn. I definitely have a new way of approaching my research problems! And there was a fair amount of homework. I spent about 4 hours per night, but I found myself going off on tangents. (Anyone else have that problem?) I did not attend any of the evening events except the banquet, because I wanted to do the homework to my satisfaction, and I wanted sleep. Craig R. Scott taught a lecture or two in our course and my favorite thing he said was “A good genealogist needs sleep.” I still didn’t get enough sleep, but an adequate amount. (I hope Elizabeth takes the yawns as a sign of hard work and not as commentary on her lecturing!)
I was surprised when I received a gold star on my certificate. I was doubly surprised when I got home and received an email from Elizabeth letting me know that I had won the Walter Lee Sheppard Jr. Prize. This is from the press release:
Cari Taplin of Longmont, Colorado, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Walter Lee Sheppard Jr. Prize, bestowed annually upon one or more genealogists who demonstrate sound practices and exceptional potential. Candidates for the award are drawn from the Advanced Research Methodology and Evidence Analysis track at Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. The stipend awarded to each recipient covers the preliminary and final application fees for pursuing certification by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Past recipients of the prize include Debbie Hooper, CG, of Millsboro, Delaware; Judy Russell, CG, of Avenel, New Jersey; David Ouimette, AG, CG, of Highland Utah; Phil Burnett Adderly, CG, of Shreveport, Louisiana; and Teri Tillman, CG, of Natchez, Mississippi. The Samford University IGHR and the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) were both founded in 1964 by a cadre of genealogical educators seeking to advance quality and professionalism within the field. Across the decades, BCG has co-sponsored the IGHR; and a significant number of Board-certified genealogists have been its course coordinators and instructors. The prize itself memorializes the late Walter Lee Sheppard Jr., one of the twentieth-century’s leading genealogical scholars whose example strongly promoted sound reasoning and careful analysis in all genealogical specialties. As a mentor, his discerning eye could be counted upon to identify a missed source or clue in family reconstructions, thereby strengthening a colleague’s conclusions. A founder and president of BCG, Lee was also a fellow and president of the American Society of Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, and other bodies. In 2007, he was elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame. The Sheppard Prize is privately funded by an IGHR Track 4 graduate, for whom Lee acted as mentor and patron. The prize has no affiliation with the Board for Certification of Genealogists itself.
The Walter Lee Sheppard Jr. Prize is funded by a private person who was mentored by Lee. This is serendipitous because having had an awesome mentor is the only reason I am here (in the genealogy world) today. My dear friend and mentor Birdie Holsclaw told me I could be, she told me I could do this, that I had potential, that what I was doing was fun and interesting and that people would want to hear about it. So I began speaking and writing articles. We would sit up until Buffalo Wild Wings kicked us out (around 2am) talking about my work and she’d just impart her wisdom on me, freely
and with such patience and grace. Then she and some other friends invited me to a small group of people who were thinking about becoming certified. And I’ve been on that path slowly ever since. Well, now, it’s not going to be slow anymore.
The next 18 months is going to fly by and I hope to do Birdie proud! And I hope to be able to pay forward the mentoring gift someday. All in all, that is not a bad first time at IGHR!
Samford University in Birmin’ham, Alabama is a gorgeous campus teeming with beautiful architecture, wonderful magnolia trees and apparently snakes. It is in its 174th year as a private university. I have lived in Wyoming and Colorado since 1988 and having been in a dry climate for that long I had nearly forgotten about lush, green vegetation, rolling hills, rivers, lightning bugs and all other things that come along with just a little bit more precipitation.
I am here attending my first ever IGHR (Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research). Tomorrow I will have the pleasure of learning from Elizabeth Shown Mills for an entire week! I am excited (and truth be told, a little bit nervous) to be here. There are many rumors that the nightly homework can be quite involved!
Today was the welcome dinner where I got to meet and visit with some of my colleagues and fellow classmates. I especially enjoyed the time getting together with the ProGen Study Group, past and present. What an amazing group of people. The mentors and coordinators are truly interested in promoting genealogy as a profession and in giving each individual participant their attention when needed. Many of my fellow students I have never met in person, so have a chance to put a face with the name is really fun.
Since sleep might be scarce for the rest of the week, I think I will turn in early tonight!