The summer is fast approaching! It seems like Christmas was not that long ago. (Don’t tell anyone but I still have a string of Christmas lights hanging on our banister.) Since April is already here, I thought I’d take a moment and share my Summer and Fall travel and speaking schedule with you. Exciting things are on my horizon and I hope to see some of you at one of these events!
September 22-25 – I am attending the APG’s Professional Management Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I will also be presenting a program on Thursday titled “PERSI Possibilities: Better Research with ACPL’s Periodical Source Index”
October 9 – 14 – I will be one of the lecturers in the course “Crossing the Pond” coordinated by Eric Stroschein at the British Institute sponsored by ISBGF in Salt Lake City.
November 11-13 – I am considering attending the FamilyTree DNA Conference in Houston, but we will see what my budget and energy will allow by then. After writing up this list, this one may have to wait until next time.
November 17 – I will be speaking at the Sun City (TX) Genealogy meeting.
Wow! I’m exhausted just writing this up! Well, that’s what’s in store for me for the rest of the year. I’ve got other projects underway as well. So, if you find yourself near me at any of these events, be sure to say ‘hi’!
At the beginning of June, I took my 11-year-old daughter to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City for a week of genealogical research. We had a great time. She’s short (not having started the sprouting up process yet) and cute and blonde and very into fashion. She is also very quick and has an analytical mind. She very quickly learned how to find microfilm, load the film (although she was about 1 inch too short but insisted on doing it herself anyway), be able to read the old handwriting enough to recognize the page numbers and surnames we were looking for, load the film on the scanner, resize, focus, adjust contrast, spot-edit, and scan to the flash drive. She learned all that on the first day and after I could see she knew what she was doing, I gave her films and lists and set her on her way. She did VERY well. I was happily surprised. We spent 2 days working on scanning all of the deeds for one family line and their collaterals.
The staff people at the library just loved her! They’d offer help but she quickly demonstrated that she knew what she was doing and even helped other patrons as the week went on. The scanning section has a tall desk in the middle where you stand to scan and then seated scanners along the perimeter. When she was at a standing scanner, she was a little short (but still able to work the machinery). About mid-week they found her a stool and would bring it out for her when she came up to the scanners. On Friday of our week there, the Family History Library staff asked if they could have someone interview my daughter. She was great! Loved having the photos taken, loved talking to the couple who came to interview us. You can read the article here: Family History Blog.
The week spent with my daughter taught me a few things:
My daughter is VERY independent. I mean I knew that before, but now that she actually CAN do things herself (as opposed to when she was 3 and really did need some help) she really wants to and will get mad if you try to help her too much.
Too much of even good things can be bad. We made sure to take breaks. While some of us adults can sit in a library for many, many hours on end, we should not necessarily do so. We packed a lunch everyday and instead of eating in the lunch room, we sat on a bench in Temple Square. And about 2 or 3 in the afternoon we took a walk to the Starbucks. Walking and sunshine can really wake up your brain (not to mention the coffee). We also quit working at 6 or 7 pm which I know is sacrilege to some of you die-hard researchers, and if it weren’t for my daughter I’d probably have stayed until closing too, but we also spent time in our room making dinner, watching movies and resting. All good things.
To do genealogy with young people, you have to remember what it was like to be a kid. While my daughter did help me a whole bunch, she also spent a fair amount of time playing “Plants Vs. Zombies” on her iPad, reading a book and knitting. Since she doesn’t quite understand what a deed can mean for research, she understands what it is at a high level and finds it completely boring. But when we found those names on a plat map and I could point to a section and say “And this was where great-grandpa and great-grandma’s farm was” (Great-grandma is still alive, kicking, traveling and my kids will remember her), she was very interested. Kids are about the stories.
And kids are about the technology. The fact that she got to run a scanning computer all week, handle films and all of that, kept her interested.
I am so grateful that I had the chance to take that trip with my daughter. Someday she might not want to go to the library or would rather hang out with her friends instead of me, but that day is not here yet. Until then, I will be planning next year’s trip!
I recently spent almost 2 weeks in Salt Lake City for research and to attend the APG PMC and SLIG. (Thanks Grandpa for being “mom” for me!) It was beautifully snowy the first week (along with slippery sidewalks and cold temps) and sunny but smoggy the second week. Basically I’m not a fan of winter in SLC when you are trying to get around outside. But it will not deter me from attending again next year! I’m pretty tough. I had such a great time just being surrounded by the topic that I love, with people who love the same boring (but not to us!) topic. I got to know the best people more closely. I don’t think I ever laughed so hard in my life. One night, I literally had a face-ache from laughing so much. (You know who you are.)
I am absolutely a huge fan of SLIG. It was my first time attending and I had an outstanding time. I think a large part of that was because of the friends I made and people I connected with beyond Facebook! I took the Advanced Practicum which is a different type of course. Everyday you get a new problem to work on, a case study that has been worked on and nearly completed by genealogists in the field, who then turn the problem over to the class with varying degrees of information to get us started. We then had 24 hours to work on the problem. We met everyday at 4pm to discuss our findings and get the next problem. I won’t go into the details of how it all worked, but the class was very interesting. I enjoyed seeing how others would go about solving the same problem, the different thought processes, and the sometimes different, sometimes same results.
After SLIG I needed about a week to readjust to life. I had gotten out of all of my routines and I was exhausted! Living out of a suitcase gets old after a while, even though I love to travel. I did very much enjoy coming down from my hotel room to a nice continental breakfast and giant pots of coffee everyday. I didn’t have to worry about that part of my day everyday. It’s back to making my own coffee and bed again. And back to the blog. I have a fun plan for February’s theme so I’ll “see” you here soon!
There are what I would consider five major genealogy institutes: British, IGHR, GRIP, NIGR, and SLIG. Readers, if there are others that I’m missing, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I may want to attend! By institute, I mean the week-long, in-depth course you take on one topic with one or two instructors for the entire week. You can read the previous post to read my description of an institute. This post will begin the tour of those five and give some insights into what I know about each of them. They are being presented here in random order, and just to remind you, I have only been to GRIP and IGHR personally although I will be attending SLIG in January. So while some of this is firsthand knowledge, other bits are what I have read, heard or found on their websites, which I will also be linking to for easy access.
I find institutes to be invaluable learning opportunities for genealogists wanting to know more and go deeper into a topic. There are many choices within these five institutes. They all seem to have a core of classes that are taught annually and some that rotate. Check their websites for each year’s lineup.
The first institute that I will be covering is the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History Institute (or “British Institute” for short). As the title would suggest, this institute focuses mainly on British Isles research, including Irish research. It is held annually in October at the Radisson in downtown Salt Lake City which is located within walking distance of the Family History Library. Classes are designed so that you have class/lecture time in the morning with time at the library in the afternoon and individual instruction time with your instructor. For current pricing, visit their website.
This year the institute is offering four tracks:
“Sources For Tracing Pre-mid-nineteenth Century English Ancestors” with Maggie Loughran and Paul Blake
“From Simple to Complex: Applying Genealogy’s Standard of Acceptability to British Research” with Tom Jones
“Irish Land Records and Fragmentary Evidence Correlation” with David Rencher
“Using the Cloud for British Family History Research” with Graham Walter
The website currently only lists David Rencher’s course as being sold out, so there may still be time to register and go if you are interested. I have not attended this institute yet, but it is in my future plan to do so. If any of you have input on your experiences with British Institute and would like to share them, please do so in the comments.
The FGS conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana is about a month away. I am leaving for GRIP this Saturday. I will be going on a research trip to Salt Lake City in September. My summer travel plans are ticking by. Regardless, I do have a checklist for what to bring to any given event that’s genealogy related.
Bring a sweater. I don’t know about you but even though it might be 90 degrees and 99 percent humidity outside, being inside can sometimes be like the arctic. For that matter it can also be 90 degrees and humid. My point being bring a sweater and dress in layers. There is nothing more miserable that being too hot or too cold. Be prepared.
I have a small zipper pouch of essential office supplies: sticky notes, sticky flags, pens (1 ball point and a few colored felt-tipped), pencils, a few paperclips, highlighters (I prefer yellow), etc. I don’t use this as much as I used to, but I am one of those people who write in the books that I buy so I use these items a lot.
Business cards. I will be milling about with fellow genealogists and potential clients, so it’s important to have some cards on hand at all times.
I used to always bring my laptop, but since I got a blue tooth keyboard for my iPad, I am loving the lightweight portability of just carrying around a small bag rather than my backpack or rolling suitcase. (Don’t forget the chargers for all of the electronic devices!) When going on a research trip, I make sure that I have all of my files synced with my iPad, mainly my latest Reunion file. I also put all of my travel itineraries, hotel, air, car reservations in Evernote, which syncs to my iPad/iPhone.
Pre-planned list of the programs I wish to attend. I will copy the syllabus to my iPad to have with me at the lectures. I have a .pdf viewing app that allows me to highlight and make notes right on the syllabus pages. No more need to print them out ahead of time, only to realize you printed the wrong pages, or carry around the giant books they used to give out at conferences.
Leave extra suitcase space for the books you might buy and the free swag you will pick up.
Of course, the above list is in addition to all of the socks, undies, t-shirts, shorts/pants, and toothbrushes needed to have an enjoyable trip. Good reading material is a plus as well. I usually have the latest NGSQ or other genealogy book with me for the plane ride. I hope to see you at FGS or any of the other amazing genealogical conferences and institutes available throughout the year.