SLIG 2020 Courses

Course Information

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Course 1: Settlers in the New World and Immigrants to a New Nation:
Colonial Times to 1900

John Philip Colletta, PhD, FUGA

John Philip Colletta, PhD, FUGAThe immigration saga—leaving a homeland for a new life in America—tends to be the most dramatic and momentous chapter of American family history. This course explores sources and methods for reconstructing the lives of ancestors who came from foreign lands. From the 1590s, when Europeans first settled in territory that would become the Southwest and Florida, through the British colonial period of the 17th and 18th centuries, to the newcomers of every nationality, hue and creed who made the United States their home in the 19th century, this course embraces the panorama of immigration history up to about 1900. Issues discussed include: discovering and locating the town of origin overseas; leaving home, crossing an ocean, and reaching the place of settlement; putting down roots; ferreting out biographical detail that personalizes each immigrant’s experience; and preparing for research in European records to trace family lines back in the Old Country. John Colletta, Joshua Taylor and Deborah Gurtler exploit an exciting panoply of online, microfilm, print and original sources to provide practical instruction, helpful tips, and individual counsel. They also share with students their considerable passion for getting to know some of our most inspiring forebears!

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Course 2: Guide to Treasures Found in Federal Records

Michael L. Strauss, AG

Michael L. Strauss, AGThis course covers those who desire to learn about a wide of variety of records maintained, and in the custody of the National Archives of the United States. Record sets to be discussed will include land, military, patents, copyrights, trademarks, civilian government employment, taxation, naturalizations, passenger arrivals, criminal, and government documents to name a few, all from the vast storehouse of Federal records. By gaining a firm understanding of a wide variety of different record groups (several which students may not have exposed to beforehand), each attendee will be able to apply the lectures presented in the course to get to know their ancestors personally by applying the techniques of fundamental genealogy research and methodology. Students will be asked to think critically about the records of the Federal Government as these records may have impacted their families over generations.

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Course 3: Early US Church Records

Rev. David McDonald, DMin

Rev. David McDonald, DMin, CGChurch registers can be a substitute for missing vital records; they can also serve as correlating evidence when working with multiple indirect resources to construct and document a genealogical project. Our work together will seek to provide insights into the records, their creation and their utility.

Genealogists know that more than one set of records on a family or research target, and multiple different approaches to those families, enables us to conduct effective research. The course will examine both the theological underpinnings of a number of Christian denominations and their substantial impact in American genealogy. The records created by churches, ministers, and denominations that can affect and impact on the genealogical work will be considered. Denominational “genealogy,” leading lights, naming patterns, cultural and behavioral impacts, in addition to church records as resources will be considered in this week-long learning experience.

With the world’s largest collection of records within walking distance of the course, we will examine the utility of the records available, their use as substitutes for civil registration and vital records, and effective interweaving of the records into written narratives of a family’s record. Also examines churches “across the pond” in their European settings, and evaluates influences that helped shape denominational thinking and record-keeping processes.

We will consider the theological influences impacting on the particular denominations, along with religious practices and cultural attitudes which may prevail amongst various groups and bodies. Homework will be featured three evenings.

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Course 4: Advanced Research Tools: Land Records

Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA and Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, FUGA

Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, FUGARichard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGALand genealogy is as important as people genealogy for overcoming family history research barriers. This course explores land distribution in the current United States by colonial powers, private land claims, federal land records at both the National Archives and the General Land Office, and local-level county or town deeds. Students will learn about the Public Land Survey System and the metes and bound system. Course content illustrates the use of land records to prove kinship. Use of software and Internet resources for finding land records, mapping, and deed platting is demonstrated and practiced in hands-on labs or classroom exercises.

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Course 5: Corpus Juris: Advanced Legal Concepts for Genealogy

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGLThis course offers students an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the rich research resources of the law, including those generally available only at law libraries. Students will work with legal records and sources, gaining a better grasp of legal history and its implications for research as well as the skills to find and apply the law to solve genealogical problems. Individual sessions will focus on specific legal disciplines (criminal, civil, probate and the like) and students will have the opportunity to visit and use the resources of a major university law library.

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Course 6: Virginia from the Colonial Period to the Civil War: Her Records, Her People, Her Laws

Barbara Vines Little, CG, FVGS, FNGS, FUGA

Barbara Vines Little, CG, FVGS, FNGS, FUGAThe course will focus on Virginia resources and background information (law, social customs, geography, etc.) needed to properly interpret them. Substitutes for missing records, Virginia records in out-of-state repositories, and unique manuscript records in small, local repositories will be addressed. Emphasis will be placed on records available either online or through microfilm loan programs; however, researchers will also be introduced to records available only in manuscript form at either the local level or in larger research repositories.
Due to popular demand, Barbara will be teaching two sessions of this course during SLIG!.

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Course 7: Maryland: Researching in the Old Line State

Debra A. Hoffman

Debra A. HoffmanLocated in the Mid-Atlantic, Maryland is a small state with great diversity. It has been said that it represents America in microcosm. From Western Maryland, which was Maryland’s last frontier, to the Eastern Shore, which is part of the Delmarva Peninsula and consists mostly of flat farmland, to the City of Baltimore, Maryland provides researchers with a wide array of resources to explore.

This course is designed to provide in-depth coverage of Maryland record groups, repositories, as well as social, economic, and historical context for researchers discovering their Maryland ancestors, from the founding as a proprietary colony to the present. The course will cover the Maryland State Archives as well as the collections of other libraries, repositories, and archives available for genealogical research in Maryland. Also covered will be vital records, land records, court records, tax lists, probate records, military records, church records, and online databases.

Additionally, there will be hands-on exercises offered to students to provide reinforcement of the material covered as well as the opportunity to apply what was learned during the course.

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Course 8: Chinese Ancestry: Research Methods and Sources

Kelly Summers, MS, AG

Kelly Summers, MS, AGLearn about the records, tools and resources needed to discover Chinese ancestry. Identify records that may contain the original Chinese family name character and the location in China where the Chinese ancestral family originated. Locate and examine Chinese Clan Genealogies (Jiapu) and practice extracting important genealogical information. Gather and organize resources to use when helping others with Chinese genealogical research.

This course is geared toward the individual with Chinese ancestry or the librarian that assists those with Chinese ancestry. Chinese language ability not needed.

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Course 9: Advanced Hispanic Research

George R. Ryskamp, JD, AG, FUGA and Deborah S. Gurtler, AG

Deborah S. Gurtler, AGGeorge R. Ryskamp, JD, AG, FUGAWith the rising increase in the popularity of family history research in the world, and especially among those with Hispanic ancestry, there is an ever-increasing demand for good professional researchers who can conduct sound, comprehensive research in this specialized area. This course will help you advance your Hispanic Research skills to the next level. ¡Si se puede!

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Course 10: Introduction to Genetic Genealogy

Paul Woodbury, MEd

Paul Woodbury, MEdIn this hands-on course, students will master the basics of genetic genealogy research through hands-on application in a variety of investigative contexts. They will create testing plans incorporating such elements as which individuals to test, the types of tests to take and the companies to be used. They will also evaluate chances of success and needs for additional testing for a research objective given a set of test results, develop research plans given a set of DNA test results, and learn to abide by genetic genealogy ethics and standards. Participants will practice basic interpretation of Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, X-DNA and autosomal DNA evidence within the context of traditional document research and evaluation of Y-DNA and mtDNA.

Students will identify and evaluate likely relationships based on shared autosomal DNA and tree data, as well as explore possible sources of shared DNA for X-DNA matches. They will also interpret ethnicity reports for Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and autosomal DNA test results and formulate estimates regarding ethnic origins of the first few generations of ancestry. Additional skills participants will gain will include performing modern research, creating “quick and dirty” trees in the pursuit of an objective, collaborating and corresponding with genetic cousins, correctly citing genetic genealogy sources, organizing research to enable discovery, evaluating which approaches and methodologies would be best to utilize in a given research case, and incorporating DNA evidence into genealogical proof arguments.

Students will receive written feedback on daily homework assignments, in-class lab assistance, and a 15-minute DNA consultation to review a DNA goal, related results, and outline a research plan. (Consultations will be conducted outside of regular classroom hours by appointment.)

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Course 11: Meeting Standards Using DNA Evidence — Research Strategies

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CG

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CGThis all-new course is designed to deconstruct, and study researcher decisions, strategies, and methodologies employed in the correlation of documentary and genetic evidence to establish proven genealogical conclusions. Examples include case studies suitable for publication, research reports, and proof summaries/arguments useful in a Kinship Determination Project (KPD). The research problems are all long-standing genealogical brick walls that could not be solved without the skillful use of DNA and documentary sources. We will focus on a variety of strategies to meet the newly minted DNA-Related standards and the Genealogical Proof Standard.

We will dissect familiar skills, with a DNA twist:

  • Crafting a meaningful research question
  • Developing and refining research plans
  • Mining for evidence
  • Correlating evidence
  • Sorting and grouping evidence
  • Analyzing with logic and inference
  • Testing hypotheses
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Reporting of findings
  • Writing clear proof arguments detailing evidence and reasoning to support the conclusion
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Course 12: Researching Like a Professional

Michael G. Hait, CG, CGL

Michael G. Hait, CG, CGLProfessional genealogists must meet their clients' expectations. To do so, they have to be able to effectively address their clients' research problems. Success in answering research questions follows directly from the research techniques professionals use. By developing strong research methods, professional genealogists can solve even the most complex research problems and satisfy their clients. These research methods can be learned and applied by all genealogists, increasing the rate of success in solving any research problem.

This course is taught by credentialed, successful full-time professional genealogists. We have different perspectives and different experiences, yet we all apply the same research standards and methods. Throughout the course, we will teach different means of efficient project management to achieve reliable results. The course is framed by the Genealogical Proof Standard but focuses on practical skills.

Throughout the course, students will also complete short homework assignments on a project of their choosing, applying new skills to maximize the potential for successfully solving your own research problem.

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Course 13: Applying Standards to Appraise Genealogical Work

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CGThis is a unique course for advanced practitioners. Most courses and lectures approach genealogy standards from the perspective of how to meet standards and how to produce work that meets standards. During this course—a supervised practical application of Genealogy Standards—the students will be the judges. This is a forum for discussion of each standard and for substantive genealogy questions. Each day the students will evaluate genealogical work samples of unknown quality to determine whether the samples meet, partially meet, or do not meet standards. From these exercises we hope that the students will gain insight into the mindset and the habits involved in consistently producing work that meets standards. We hope that the students will develop evaluation strategies to identify weaknesses in their writing and in the writing of others. This is a forum for discussions of each standard and for substantive genealogy questions.

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Course 14: Advanced Genealogical Methods

Paul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGL

Paul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGLStudents in Advanced Genealogical Methods will learn how to assemble and use evidence to rediscover ancestral origins, identities, and relationships that have been forgotten over the passage of time. The course will address advanced use of evidence derived from a variety of genealogical sources and will explore research techniques for populations for which the usual records are in short supply. Students will also learn how to document their research and develop written proof summaries to reach accurate conclusions and create a credible record of their findings for present and future generations of family historians.

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Course 15: Technical Writing for Genealogists

Melissa A. Johnson, CG

Melissa A. Johnson, CGMany skilled genealogists with excellent analysis and correlation skills have trouble communicating their thought processes and presenting evidence in writing. Students in this course will overcome these roadblocks and gain essential skills needed to convey complex concepts in genealogical work products, including proof arguments, affidavits, and research reports. The course will cover important issues including documentation, establishing proof, use of citations, DNA evidence, and legal and copyright issues. Students will become more comfortable with important skills such as analyzing, organizing, and presenting complex evidence; resolving conflicts; reporting a variety of meaningful and negative findings; using DNA evidence in writing; and qualifying information, theories, and proof. The course will focus on meeting the Genealogical Proof Standard, and writing in a professional, clear and concise manner for a variety of audiences.

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Course 16: Guided Research and Consultation

Craig Roberts Scott, MA, CG, FUGA

Craig Roberts Scott, MA, CG, FUGAExperience the power of having your own personal guide for an entire week as you research both online and in the Family History Library. Students will review progress and findings in regular group meetings and one-on-one consultations throughout the week as they work on their own personal research projects. Assistance will be available as needed during specific research hours.

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