How would you like to take a deep dive into your research area? Have been working in the same localities for so long that you’re out of ideas for what to do next? You might want to consider attending a genealogy institute to open your mind to new possibilities.
I attended the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) last week and was treated to five days of learning from expert southern researcher, J. Mark Lowe. The class title was “Advanced Southern Research and Resources,” and after 15 years of researching in the south, I was hoping for a new way to look at my research. I wasn’t disappointed. I’ll fill you in on some of my takeaways, as well as give you an idea of what to expect if you decide to try out an institute.
Expect in-depth content for whatever your course is focused on. The course description should give you a clue as to whether it is for intermediate or advanced researchers. My class description told me exactly what to expect. If you’re interested in attending an institute – try to find a course that fits your research capability.
This course will address more advanced methods in Southern research and look at lesser-known records and resources that can aid in tracing Southern families. Accessing manuscript collections, understanding transportation routes and records, searching occupational records, and locating court and estate records (and the laws the underpin them) will be the major concepts covered. Methods for compiling and documenting Southern families will also be discussed. Problem-solving activities throughout the week will be used to cement these methodologies.
Preparation and Homework
Some institute courses require preparation before the course or homework during the week. Our advanced southern course suggested choosing one of our southern families, then researching the ten households before and after them in one of the censuses from 1850-1880. Why? Southern communities in that time period generally were connected and our task was to discover new connections.
What did I discover? I decided to research my ancestor, Clemsey Cline Weatherford of the 1850 census, Morgan County, Missouri. In her household were two children, Jacob and Telitha Cline, who I suspected where a niece and nephew. I was intrigued with the name Telitha and was surprised to find that many of the women of the community shared the name. I found a lot of intermarriage in the community and I’m looking forward to discovering connections that might prove the father of my Clemsey,
One of the best parts of a week-long institute is the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. My friend Julie and I went through the Accreditation process together and we manned the ICAPGen table much of the week answering questions from interested attendees.
My table partner turned out to be my 10th cousin – discovered when our entire class tried the “family around me” option on the FamilySearch app. I guess when you get a bunch of southerners together, they really are all related. I matched with at least 10 of the 30 course members.
The Research Like a Pro community is growing as evidenced by the many friends I met who had bought the book or were in the e Course/Study group. Self proclaimed “groupies” they kindly shared their passion for the RLP process with their friends.
Finding an Institute
If you’re interested in trying out an institute, here are several coming up in the next year.
What if you can’t afford to travel to an institute or don’t have time to take a week off from work or family? The Utah Genealogical Society offers several virtual programs you can access from home.
I’ll be in Salt Lake City a year from now for SLIG 2020. How about you? Will this be the year you try an institute?
Best of luck in all of your genealogy education!