SLIG 2023 (Virtual)

Records and Resources

Course 1: Behind the Scenes at FamilySearch: Technology and Features

David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FUGA, FIGRS

David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FUGA, FIGRSFamilySearch has a 128-year history as an organization. It has grown exponentially over time and kept current with a fast-moving, continuously changing landscape. To capture the essence of every life in the context of recorded history, FamilySearch employs all of the technology available and strives to keep pace with opportunities worldwide. At FamilySearch, it’s all about the individual and the experience you will have either in person or online. This course is designed to illustrate the array of different opportunities to use the resources of FamilySearch and to understand the foundations of each experience. Come explore the many features and products that FamilySearch has to offer.

Course 2: Bridging the Gap: New England to the Midwest, 1780–1850

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, FUGA

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLSTracing families as they “moved west” can be a daunting task. As our ancestors explored the wilderness in front of them, fewer detailed records were created, leaving large gaps in the resources needed to reconstruct a complete family record. Further, rapid economic, social, and territorial expansions throughout the Federal period caused massive waves of migration and other movements of our ancestors. The development of the Northwest Territory, New York’s land companies, the Louisiana Purchase, the Second Great Awakening, and the War of 1812 are just a few of the dynamic events that shaped the lives of our ancestors from 1780 to 1850.

Bridging the Gap focuses on strategies and records for tracing families from New England to the Midwest between 1780 and 1850, grounded in the historical context of this vibrant period in American history. Specific topics will explore key New England and Midwestern sources, migration patterns, manuscript materials, historical overviews, military records, land and property acquisition, and a series of case studies, which document various techniques to trace Midwestern families to their New England roots. Specific focus is placed upon tracing families who passed through New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio (though other states are also included in the various course activities and sessions).

Course 3: Advanced Techniques: Material Culture Research Techniques for Genealogy

Gena Philibert-Ortega, MA, MAR

Gena Philibert-Ortega, MA, MARGenealogy’s history is rooted in those wishing to trace their family back in time to ancestors whose accomplishments seemed more remarkable than their own. Over time, genealogical repositories have boasted books and periodicals and special, archival, and museum collections that attempt to capture more than just the dry vital record dates of ancestors. Eventually, genealogy became a pursuit for the “everyman” (and woman), learning more about a distant past one generation at a time. Today, an emphasis on “bringing ancestors to life” through stories means the genealogist must master genealogical methodology while also understanding how to research the non-genealogical to weave a story that will interest descendants.

Comprehensive genealogical research requires incorporating the records and methodologies from diverse fields, including history, social history, and material culture. Material Culture, the story and history of objects created and used by humans, enhances genealogical research and the resulting storytelling. Material Culture can help inform and strengthen research skills and ancestral stories. In addition, the study, research, and analysis of material culture encourage better and more complete research techniques.

Course 4: Metes & Bounds Land Platting

Gerald H. "Jerry" Smith, CG

Gerald H. Smith, CGThis course develops land platting skills and the ability to use land plats to solve genealogical problems. Topics include motivation, reading/abstracting metes & bounds legal land descriptions, hand drawing plats, computer platting, platting over base maps (including USGS), resolving common plat problems (meanders, multiple meanders, imprecise boundary descriptions), constructing connected tract maps, and geo-locating base maps and plats. Related topics include land tenure, map resources, historical surveying equipment and practices, on-line resources, and using GoogleEarth. Much of the course is practicum-based using DeedMapper software. Students will spend a significant amount of the course working practicum problems that derive from real-world research.

The portfolio of practicum problems allow students to select exercises that stress specific skills, align with their own research, and cover different geographic locales. Practicum problems include dealing with errors in textual boundary descriptions (such as scrivener’s errors or reciprocal bearings), scale, using on-line records & resources, platting over a USGS base map, finding and using other base maps (such as historic land ownership maps), neighborhood construction, dealing with imprecise land descriptions, leveraging online GIS systems, urban plats, and other topics. Course materials include solutions for all practicum problems so that students leave with instructional materials for all practicums, not just those that they chose to work on during the week. Students are encouraged to bring their own platting research problems; there will be opportunities for consultation with faculty on individual research.

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 use resources often available only at major law libraries.

International Research

Course 6: Advanced Research Techniques for German Genealogy

Michael D. Lacopo, DVM

Michael D. Lacopo, DVMGerman immigrants have long been a part of the immigrant story of America beginning with the thirteen families that settled Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1683, and continuing with the five million German speakers that flooded our shores in the century before World War I. Most Americans can claim German ancestry but are hesitant to make that leap across the Atlantic. Learn from several knowledgeable speakers on both sides of the ocean how to navigate German genealogy. From history and geography to record groups and archives, you will leave this course abundantly equipped to break down your German genealogical brick walls. Fluency in German is not necessary to take this course.

Regional & Ethnic Resources

Course 7: Capitol Kin: Researching Ancestors Who Lived in Washington, D.C.

Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, CGL

Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, CGLFrom the Revolutionary period and into the 1900s, this course offers an in-depth look at researching ancestors who lived in the District of Columbia. This is not a tour of D.C. repositories—these presentations are designed to assist researchers to navigate the sometimes convoluted system of records available for finding residents of the District. We will utilize intermediate and advanced methodologies as well as underused sources, including those at the National Archives about the city. Sessions will provide a deeper historical and social context for residents, including ones focused on African American resources.

Course 8: African American Genealogy Methods and Strategies

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

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGLThis course is designed to be a skillbuilding experience that will take researchers to the next level by focusing on both methodologies and strategies for meeting the Genealogical Proof Standard when researching families that survived slavery. In-class exercises and a focus on case studies will arm students with the conceptual tools needed to overcome the challenges of researching during the antebellum period.

Course 9: 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 the 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.


Course 10: Introduction to Genetic Genealogy

Paul Woodbury, MEd, AG

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.)

Course 11: DNA Dreamers: Integrating DNA Evidence to Resolve Complex Cases

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CG

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CGALL NEW CASE STUDIES! 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 all new case studies suitable for publication, research reports, and proof summaries/arguments useful in a Kinship Determination Project (KDP). 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 DNA-related standards and the Genealogical Proof Standard.


Course 12: Applied Genealogical Methods Workshop: Hands-on Skillbuilding

Michael G. Hait, CG, AG

Michael G. Hait, CG, AGGenealogists often achieve their best learning through experience. Through a unique blend of lectures and instructor-led exercises, students will work directly with documents to learn and hone skills relating to the research process as a whole. These include source citation, research planning, evidence analysis, evidence correlation, and resolving conflicting information. Students will be able to apply these skills to any research problem they may encounter in the future, no matter what time period or location.

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. The coordinator will provide critiques on their reports to help students further refine their techniques.

This course fits seamlessly into the continuum of SLIG’s methodology courses. At the end of the week, students will also discuss opportunities for further skill-building, so that they can continue to develop their research skills and experience.

Course 13: 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.

Writing & Proficiency

Course 14: Evidence-Based 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.

Course 15: 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.