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!
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:
I am heading off to Georgia to attend the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR). I am excited to finally take the writing course from Tom Jones, “Course 4: Writing and Publishing for Genealogists.” This has been on my educational “to do list” for years and I’m finally getting to it!
These days, we are saying good-bye to paper more and more. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE PAPER. Ask any of my students, discussion group attendees, family, or friends. I still print all of my research documents and organize them into binders. I also like taking handwritten notes. However, those institute binders really add up and for many of us, space is at a premium. Plus, it keeps the costs down if an institute doesn’t have to pay to print and organize all of those syllabi. Of course, you can still usually buy a printed syllabus or print it on your own. And if you do, do not worry! I’m not here to be down on anyone’s system. However, in order to use less paper, and utilize the electronic syllabi more effectively, I have come up with a system that works for me. Maybe you’ll find something in here that can work for you too.
Before I go to any institute, there is an amount of prep-work I do with the digital syllabus so I’m organized and ready to take notes. I utilize a combination of a PDF-splitter and Evernote. What I mean by a “PDF-splitter” is using a bit of software to make one large PDF into several small PDFs. I believe the full version of Adobe Acrobat will do this (but I don’t use it so do some research first), as will several other programs. I use a Mac and have found “PDF Toolkit+” to meet all of my needs. It has a lot of features, but today I’m focusing on the “split/extract pages” portion of the software.
Basically, I sit down with the class schedule, the large PDF, the PDF-splitter, and Evernote. Using the splitter, I extract the pages for each class and then create their own note in Evernote, dropping in just that portion of the PDF. This allows me to have each the syllabus material for each class split out into one small file. Then I can type my notes into each note or take handwritten notes on paper to scan/type in later (they say the brain retains information better when you take notes by hand). Evernote also has tools that allow you to highlight, add symbols, draw, or take notes directly on the PDF.
I organize these notes into a new Evernote notebook titled appropriately for the institute I’m attending. You can organize them in whatever way works best for you. I number them according to the order they should be taught based on the class schedule. See my example below.
As the week moves on, I open the note for the appropriate class, and either use the syllabus visually and then take handwritten notes or I type my notes above the PDF. I take handwritten notes most of the time for the reasons already mentioned) but I do also use the mark-up tools available as well, especially if I don’t want to forget something in particular mentioned in the syllabus. Often, it just depends on how I feel when I get up in the morning. Evernote notes are word searchable, and there is a tagging system to help you be organized as well.
The most important thing is that you find a system that works for you. If digitized notes and syllabi are not for you, I hear you! It really has taken me a long time to get to this point…and I’m not completely digital myself and probably never will be. But, to save on costs and space, this is one of my systems for eliminating paper.
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!