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Monday, August 19, 2019

How the SLIG Virtual Intermediate Foundations Course Kickstarted My In-Depth Learning


Are you trying to decide if Intermediate Foundations is the course for you? I'm sharing my experience with the course in hopes that it will help you know if you want to take it. 

Nicole Dyer

I took the SLIG Virtual Intermediate Foundations course earlier this year (Spring 2019). The virtual format of the Intermediate Foundations course worked perfectly with my schedule as a stay-at-home mother to young children. Every Tuesday, I blocked off three hours for the course and told my family that I would be busy learning from genealogy experts!

I signed up for Intermediate Foundations hoping to gain confidence that my skills as a professional genealogist were adequate. I had been taking clients for about a year and had done several peer study groups to learn the research process, but was mostly self-taught. I had also been to many genealogy workshops and conferences, but had never done an in-depth institute course. 

Just before I signed up for Intermediate Foundations, I made the decision to actively pursue a credential in genealogy. Becoming certified had been a distant goal for several years, but now I was ready to make it a reality. Attending a genealogy institute was recommended to those seeking a credential through the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). I realized that to be sure I was prepared for the rigorous process of certification, I needed to gain additional learning through an institute. With young children at home, it is sometimes difficult to get away for an entire week. Weekend conferences are a bit easier. With many of the institutes being offered in the summer when my family is traveling, doing vacations and reunions, I couldn't see a convenient time to attend. I was thrilled when I found the online Intermediate Foundations course and signed up right away.

To prepare for the course, I reviewed the recommended books. The materials that are recommended for the course include Board for Certification of Genealogists Genealogy Standards, 2nd ed.; Val D. Greenwood The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, Part Two; Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof; and Elizabeth Shown Mills Evidence Explained. I already had Evidence Explained, which was very useful throughout the course as I worked on assignments. I purchased Val Greenwood's book, which I didn't use as much as I thought I would. The syllabus material from each instructor was lengthy and helpful and that is what I used the most as I worked on the homework.

The format of each session included two 75-minute lecture periods with a 15-minute break. At the beginning of the course, we received a welcome letter with instructions on how to access the sessions each week via Zoom Meetings. Webcams and noise-cancelling headphones were advised. I just used regular ear-buds, but found that I didn't need to wear them during the entire lecture, just during question and answer time. Zoom allows you to mute your microphone so feedback in from your speakers isn't a problem if you're muted. The sessions were recorded and I often went back and watched the lectures again.

Sara Scriber, CG, is the Intermediate Foundations course coordinator. She is an experienced instructor and knowledgeable about many subjects. I was lucky to meet her in person when I attended RootsTech. She truly cares about each student's learning experience. She worked hard to design this course in the best possible way and has made several updates and enhancements for the fall course. 

One of my favorite class sessions was about citations. Sara Scribner did a great job explaining each element of a citation and different ways to order the elements. She gave us some practice exercises to work on for a few minutes, then we came back together and she reviewed the answer. After the presentation, everyone who wanted to was able to ask questions. As this is a subject that many people are still learning, there were many questions. It was nice to be able to hear each others' questions and the answers Sara gave. 

The homework was given after each lecture. It was designed to take 2 1/2 hours to complete, so a total of 5 hours per week (since there are two lectures each Tuesday). I found that I could tailor the homework to my level. Some assignments were easy for me, and others were more difficult, based on my past experience. I did extra reading for the citations homework to study what I was interested in. The reading lists within the syllabus materials provide additional opportunities for learning. The Facebook group for the course was a fun way to connect with other students and get additional feedback and help as we worked on the homework. I enjoyed seeing others' questions and asking my own.

During the class on census research, I learned several new things. We talked about methods for extracting data from pre-1850 censuses and using non-population schedules to enhance our understanding of the locality and history. The census homework was about using the social statistics schedule, which I had never used before.

The military records lecture with Michael Strauss was very extensive. His syllabus materials were top-notch. We reviewed several types of records created due to military conflicts and how to access them. Angie Bush's DNA presentation, homework, and personalized feedback was incredibly helpful. My understanding and ability to use DNA evidence took a huge leap after learning from her. 

The lectures about land and tax records from Kimberly Powell were detailed and well organized. I was impressed with her knowledge and experience and learned much from her. She is clearly an expert in using these record sets. I appreciated Kimberly's homework assignment to find land and tax records about a certain problem and spent extra time studying the tax records to really understand how to use them in the future. It was a very valuable learning experience. Knowing that the instructors would be looking at my assignments and giving me feedback was motivational.

Cari Taplin's lecture and assignment about newspapers was interesting. She showed how various types of newspapers articles can be for genealogical evidence and where to find them. I enjoyed studying about constructing proof statements and proof summaries. As I did the assignment for that lecture, I realized that I had little experience with proof summaries and arguments and decided to devote additional time learning about that in the future. 

Since the course ended, I have continued my genealogy education in several ways. I joined the Certification Discussion group with Cari Taplin, CG, and Jill Morelli, CG, to learn about what is required for certification. After that ended, I invited several of my peers to join me in a study group about Mastering Genealogical Proof by Tom Jones. I feel that my genealogical toolbox has expanded significantly because I took Intermediate Foundations. My in-depth learning was kickstarted by the Intermediate Foundations course, and I'm grateful I was able to participate!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

SLIG Instructors on Saturday, August 24th!

FGS opens on Wednesday, August 21st in Washington, DC.

For those attending SLIG in 2020, you can get a preview of what you will experience, since many SLIG instructors and coordinators will be sharing their expertise throughout the conference. If you are still undecided about whether a week-long institute with expert instructors is for you and you are attending FGS, take this opportunity to see why attending SLIG in January 2020 would elevate your genealogical education!

If you have questions regarding the Institute or just want to see what we are all about, pay us a visit at Booth 704. There is an Exhibit Hall map found here.

On Saturday, the following SLIG instructors and coordinators will be presenting the 

following lectures:

8:00–9:00 AM


Churches in the Potomac/Chesapeake Region Before 1800
S-403
David McDonald, DMin, CG

Beyond Population: Researching in the Special Census Schedules
S-404
Angela Packer McGhie, CG

An Overview of Researching Hispanic Ancestry
S-406
Colleen Robledo Greene, MLIS

Irish Estate, Land & Property Records
S-408
David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA

9:30–10:30 PM


The Advance of Research Habits over Recent Decades—And the Downside
S-409
Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

A Vermont Home for a Maryland Man: Assembling Indirect Evidence
S-410
Catherine B. W. Desmarais, CG

Federal Land Laws and the Settlement of Early America
S-411
Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

Key Player, Participant, or Partisan Follower: Discovering An Ancestor’s Political Leanings
S-412
D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

11:00–12:00 PM

The Second Great Awakening: Thawing the Frozen Chosen in The Early Nineteenth Century
S-417
David McDonald, DMin, CG

12:15–1:45 PM ($)


BCG Luncheon: Into the Brave New World of DNA
S-470
LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL

2:30–3:30 PM

Resolving Conflicting Evidence to Identify the Mother of William Dalton—Part I
S-427
Angela Packer McGhie, CG

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Land Records—Advanced
S-428
Gerald "Jerry" H. Smith, CG

Vignettes of Immigrant Military Service
S-432
Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

4:00–5:00 PM

Using DNA to Confirm the Ancestral Line for William Dalton—Part 2
S-437
Karen Stanbary, LCSW, MA, CG

Research in Virginia’s Burned Counties
S-438
Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FUGA, FVGS
For complete FGS conference listings and updates, please visit the FGS conference website at https://fgs.org/conference/2019-program/

Registration is open right now for SLIG 2020, both the Institute and the Academy! Visit www.slig.ugagenealogy.org for more information.

So much to learn! So many great educators!

Friday, August 16, 2019

SLIG Instructors at FGS on Friday, August 23rd!

FGS opens on Wednesday, August 21st in Washington, DC.

For those attending SLIG in 2020, you can get a preview of what you will experience, since many SLIG instructors and coordinators will be sharing their expertise throughout the conference. If you are still undecided about whether a week-long institute with expert instructors is for you and you are attending FGS, take this opportunity to see why attending SLIG in January 2020 would elevate your genealogical education!

If you have questions regarding the Institute or just want to see what we are all about, pay us a visit at Booth 704. There is an Exhibit Hall map found here.

On Friday, the following SLIG instructors and coordinators will be presenting the following lectures:


8:00–9:00 AM

Spit and You Shall Find: atDNA Identifies a Charming Scoundrel
F-302
Karen Stanbary, LCSW, MA, CG

Patents, Surveys, and Indexes: Land Resources for Genealogists at BLM
F-305
Angela Packer McGhie, CG

9:30–10:30 AM


New York Land: Patroonships, Manors, Patents, Rent Wars, and Land Companies 
F-313
Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS, FUGA

Finding Families: The Genealogist’s Role in MIA/POW Repatriation
F-318
Catherine B. W. Desmarais, CG

Identifying Woman: The Ultimate Brick Wall
F-319
Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FUGA, FVGS

Reverse Migration: Colonial Settlers Who Returned “Home”
F-320
D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

10:00–12:00 PM

Genealogy Inclusion: Creating Accessible Digital Content for Your Members, Researchers, and Clients
F-380 (Workshop)
Colleen Robledo Greene, MLIS

11:00–12:00 PM

Third Party Tools the Pros Use
F-322
Angie Bush

History & Records of the German Aid Societies (PA, SC, MD, NY)
F-323
Debra A. Hoffman

Court of Quarter Sessions Research
F-324
Gerald "Jerry" H. Smith, CG

Philip Reid, Enslaved and Free: Tracing Families of Color in the District of Columbia
F-326
John Philip Colletta, PhD, FUGA

2:30–3:30 PM


The Jones Jinx: Tracing Common Surnames
F-331
Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

Strategies for Using Pre-1850 Census Records
F-334
Angela Packer McGhie, CG

Blasting Brick Walls with Legislative Records
F-335
Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

The Georgetown Memory Project: The Genealogical Pursuit of Truth, Reconciliation & Reunion
F-336
Malissa Ruffner, JD, MLS, CG

Irish Census and Census Substitutes
F-337
David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA

4:00–5:00 PM

From the 18th to the 21st: The Records of Prohibition
F-341
Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

For complete FGS conference listings and updates, please visit the FGS conference website at https://fgs.org/conference/2019-program/

Registration is open right now for SLIG 2020, both the Institute and the Academy! Visit www.slig.ugagenealogy.org for more information.

So much to learn! So many great educators!