SLIG 2021 Courses

Records & Resources

Course 1: From Sea to Shining Sea: Researching Our Ancestors' Migrations in America

Annette Burke Lyttle

The goal of this course is to help researchers understand how to find their migrating ancestors, who often seem to disappear as they moved, and how to fill in the rich details of their lives.

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Course 2: Advanced Techniques for Mastering Online Searches and Uncovering Digital Records

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

Explore the world of digitized records and repositories. This course specifically teaches advanced search skills for subscription family history websites while also focusing on unindexed digitized materials from libraries, archives, museums, and other repositories across the United States. A series of hands-on workshops/labs provide students with guided experiences using online tools discussed during class sessions.


Course 3: Advanced Practices in Social History

Gena Philibert-Ortega, MA, MAR

Social history looks at the ordinary person. It’s “history…with the people put back in,” examining topics such as marriage, family life, and women’s roles in society, food, education, immigration, death, labor, and industry. Participants in this course will understand that social history is a core genealogy research competency and will learn to think and research as historians.


Course 4: Advanced Research Tools: Maps

Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

Maps are a useful, essential tool to conduct effective genealogical research. Applications include locating and visualizing ancestors in time and place, locating boundaries, discovering and following family groups, identifying migration routes, and organizing and correlating information to discover relationships. The class sessions will expose students to a wide range of maps, repositories, and genealogical strategies. Students will gain an understanding of land division systems in America and learn the basics of landing platting and its application to genealogical research. Students are shown a variety of finding aids to locate unfamiliar place names, to identify and search for maps online and in archives useful in their genealogical research, and how to evaluate a map for its application in solving a genealogical research problem.

Through visits to map repositories and hands on exercises students will experience the variety of maps and map-related products available to the genealogist such as cadastral, topographic, fire insurance, military maps, gazetteers of various kinds, and atlases. Strategies for finding maps suitable to both urban and rural settings will be discussed and demonstrated. Several computer labs will provide the opportunity to discover online resources and the advances in technology such as historic geographic information systems (GIS). Students will learn how to create their own maps using Google tools to support new avenues of research and create personal and professional satisfaction.


Course 5: Corpus Juris: Advanced Legal Concepts for Genealogy

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

This 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.


Regional & Ethnic Research

Course 6: In-Depth African American Genealogy

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL

SLIG was at the forefront of recognizing the 400th anniversary of the first recorded arrival of Africans in an English colony by offering the inaugural African American genealogy course in the very first month of 2019. The same faculty of experts will teach in the 2021 course, to provide a foundational overview of records and strategies used to support credible genealogical conclusions about ancestors who lived before the twentieth century. The course has been updated by the addition of several new instructors who will drill down on the most difficult aspects of researching enslaved families in the antebellum era.

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Course 7: The Pennsylvania German and Research in the Keystone State

Michael D. Lacopo, DVM

Between 80,000 and 110,000 German-speaking immigrants arrived in the American colonies before the onset of the Revolution, with the port of Philadelphia being the favored port of disembarkation. Pennsylvanians of German ancestry accounted for 50 to 60 percent of Pennsylvania's population in 1760 and 33 percent in 1790. These men and women became the illustrious "Pennsylvania Dutch" ancestors of many genealogists today.

This course focuses on the push and pull factors that brought these immigrants to America, what their lives were like, and how a deeper understanding of the social history of this immigrant group can make for a better researcher. Unique record groups specific to this ethnic migration will also be discussed. The Pennsylvania Germans were Germans first, and Pennsylvanians second, so understanding the wealth of information available in Pennsylvania records and repositories compromises a great deal of class time. ALL researchers with Pennsylvania roots prior to 1850 will benefit from the wealth of information gleaned in classes devoted to land records, church records, military record, courthouse records, and more.

Level of Instruction

Intermediate to Advanced

Suggested Requirements

An understanding of the Genealogical Proof Standard is necessary in all levels of genealogical research, and this class is no exception. This class is tailored for the intermediate and advanced researcher. Previous research experience in on-site courthouse and archival work will be helpful; simply knowing you have a Pennsylvania German ancestor will not. The class will function under the assumption that you have experience in research methods beyond and Although the German experience will be a focus of this class, any student who wants to learn more about Pennsylvania research pre-1850 will go home with plenty of new knowledge.


Course 8: Show Me Missouri

Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, FUGA

Missouri's location in the middle of the United States and its importance in the exploration and development of the Midwest, West, and Southwest make it an important research target for many whose ancestors settled there early, remained for a lengthy or short time, or simply passed through on their way west. This course will provide context through learning about migration paths; cultural, religious, or geographic patterns of settlement; and history, as well as providing an in-depth discovery of available vital records, manuscript collections, archives, and library resources inside and outside Missouri.


International Research

Course 9: Pre-1837 English Research: Digging Deeper

Paul Milner, MDiv, FUGA

This course will provide an in-depth look at pre-1837 English research methodologies, resources and tools, including the laws that created the records. It will address all levels and classes of society from the landed classes to paupers; law abiding citizens and criminals; tradesmen to professionals.


Course 10: Mother Russia: Research in the Countries of the Former Russian Empire and USSR

Joseph B. Everett, MLS

Students in Mother Russia: Research in the Countries of the former Russian Empire and USSR will develop an understanding of the records, and research methods for tracing families in this region, and learn skills in searching, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from Russian records. The course includes instruction and practice in the Russian alphabet and handwriting, progressing to guided analysis of various source documents. Students will also learn about the historical and geographical context of the region, methods for tracing immigrant origins, and how to navigate to relevant records. This course is for those researching their own family history or who have clients or library patrons with heritage from lands that were part of the former Russian Empire or USSR. It is also for those who are interested in broadening their research knowledge for potential future research in this area. The emphasis will be on European areas of the former empire/union and on Christian and Jewish families.

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Course 11: 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.

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Course 12: Meeting Standards Using DNA Evidence

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CG

Back by popular demand, this 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
And, we will meet daily for the DNA Dreamers, a "think-tank" focused on real-life "stuck" cases submitted by a handful of very lucky volunteers.




Course 13: Applied Genealogical Research Workshop: Hands-on Skillbuilding

Michael Hait, CG, CGL

Genealogists often achieve their best learning through experience. Through a unique blend of lectures and instructor-led exercises, students will work directly with documents. The skills taught throughout the week will focus on the research process, so that students will be able to apply their new experience to any research problem they may encounter in the future. These include source citation, document transcription, research planning, evidence analysis, evidence correlation, and resolving conflicting information. The course also includes a week-long homework assignment in which students will write a complete report for their own files, documenting a research problem of their own choosing.

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Course 14: Advanced Genealogical Methods

Paul K. Graham, AG, CG

Students 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.


Writing & Publication

Course 15: Writing a Quality Family History Narrative

John Philip Colletta, PhD, FUGA

For years you’ve been gathering information about your ancestors. You’ve made many fascinating discoveries. Now it’s time to share them. But where do you start? Right here! Three dynamic instructors are eager to share their expertise and experience to help you write the saga of your family. Using vivid examples and case studies, they demonstrate how to compile the material you’ve gathered, narrate the life stories of your ancestors, choose the most appropriate numbering system, document properly, and edit and proofread your text. Solid genealogical scholarship and creative family history writing need not be mutually exclusive.  They can be complementary. Classes explore how to weave oral family lore and treasured heirlooms, as well as pertinent local history, into your family’s story, and how to incorporate maps, charts and illustrations to enliven your prose. In-class writing and editing exercises help you improve practical skills, share your special talents, and exchange ideas with the instructors and fellow students. Your family history will never be “finished.” It’s time to start sharing what you’ve discovered so far.

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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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