Thanks to Pam Sayre for her great guest blog post!
I gave my husband Rick a new iMac for his birthday recently. As a Mac convert, I cannot stop proselytizing about Apple products and their ease of use. Still, there was a learning curve for me, and Rick is now experiencing a totally different way of doing things. So we did what new and experienced genealogists alike should do—we took a class. We went into a very busy Apple store staffed by enthusiastic knowledgeable people. With equipment and questions in hand, we grilled them for the entire scheduled hour and a half. Rick learned his way around the new interface and how to access some fairly complicated tools that lie buried. I learned easier ways to do things I had been doing the hard way.
Genealogy is a lot like this. We struggle along on our own and spend inordinate amounts of time gathering materials. We measure our experience in years, not in what we actually know. I once heard someone say she had been doing genealogy for twenty years, and in the next sentence she marveled at learning that she didn’t have to search every single deed in a book—if she used the index instead.
SLIG is to genealogists what the Apple Store is to Mac users: a place to come and sit down and feel comfortable watching the experts and geniuses show you how easy something is, or how a difficult problem might be resolved. It’s a friendly place where you’ll talk to the person next to you and commiserate over brick walls. It’s a happy place where you’ll make new friends and quickly find someone to share lunch or dinner with and maybe even a hotel room at next year’s institute. Every single course at SLIG will teach you something you didn’t even know you needed, and you’ll go home each night with your head full of new knowledge and possibilities for how you can rethink your research projects.
Who among us couldn’t benefit by learning some intermediate skills from a master like Paula Warren and her extraordinary instructors? And who could resist the wit and wisdom of John Colletta, a joyful collaboration of a course where students will learn to work with original records beyond those found in a library. There are still a few openings in the above courses and Kory Meyerink’s Midwestern United States course or Welsh Research with Darris Williams or Swedish Research with Geoffrey Morris. Come snow or shine, we’ll be absorbing knowledge all day from top-notch instructors. Toward the end of the day, just as we are beginning to tire, we’ll be freed from class to dash right over to the Family History Library. No matter how tired a genealogist is, when given the opportunity to go on a treasure hunt in the records the exhaustion evaporates and he somehow finds the endurance to close down the library.
Like that Apple store, there’s an excitement and a sense of urgency and just plain fun at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. The youthful demographic is represented ably by Josh Taylor, coordinator of the New England course. Apple’s Genius Bar concept is present at SLIG, too, in Judith Hansen’s Problem Solving course where students work on their own research issues. For those with more experience who are ready to really dig in, advanced courses such as Tom Jones’s Advanced Genealogical Methods, Angela McGhie’s Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum, and Rick and Pam Sayre’s Land Records offer in-depth knowledge.
You’ll learn a lot at SLIG, and you’ll leave with a happy satisfaction and excitement at the prospect of using your new tools. And if you missed the course you wanted this year because it sold out early, get ready to register for the 2013 institute as soon as registration opens. See you at SLIG!