Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Thirst For Knowledge

Perhaps all this talk of mine about learning, books, and genealogical discoveries is merely a symptom of a deeper thirst for knowledge that's been bubbling up, lately. After all, other than opportunities to hear speakers at my own local genealogical society, the last time I sat in on an informative lecture was back in June, when I attended the annual Jamboree put on by the Southern California Genealogical Society.

Who knows? Maybe it was John Reid talking about the recently-held conference put on by the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa that got me jealous. Despite being way too far for me to just drop by, all the online buzz about this year's BIFHSGO Conference did make me wish it were conference season over here on the west coast, again.

I suppose that opportunity will come around, all in good time. To assuage my ravenous appetite for learning in the meantime, I put a copy of one of Elizabeth Shown Mills' tomes on hold at my local library; perhaps those six hundred pages of information will stand me in good stead until Jamboree is upon us again.

Who am I kidding? While reading is great, I've also developed an appetite for other forms of learning. Conference learning is more social than just curling up on the couch with a good book. Putting connections to those new tidbits of information can be valuable. But the next National Genealogical Conference won't be upon us until the beginning of May. The Federation of Genealogical Societies conference won't get here until next September—a whole year to wait.

Although Jamboree will be sandwiched in between those two events, returning on June 3 through 5, 2016—alas, the same dates as the Ontario Genealogical Society's conference, luring away luminaries Judy Russell and CeCe Moore, whom we've enjoyed almost as regulars at our Southern California event—it still is almost nine months away.

That's when I come to my senses and remember what some of my fellow bloggers have mentioned about other learning opportunities in genealogy, like institutes. I've seen it mentioned in several places, almost like a mantra:
Instead of a breadth of topics, like a conference, this institute brings you a depth of knowledge.

That, as it turns out, seems to be the tag line for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy which, unlike the gala conference events of the spring through fall, is held in the midst of winter—a great time to hunker down and settle in for the long haul of serious learning.

I never forgot fellow blogger Michelle Taggart mentioning her experience at SLIG a couple years ago—jealous, I suppose, even then.

But that wasn't the only learning opportunity I made note of. I remember Smadar Belkind Gerson mentioning in her blog her own learning adventure: the genealogical research program at Boston University. A more intense experience than even the institutes, this fifteen week program can provide the foundational understanding needed for board certification. It's not surprising to see that Smadar is now a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Good for her!

The thought of fifteen weeks of intense learning somehow makes me wilt, though. I may have a thirst for knowledge...but perhaps my quest is more for the opportunity to learn by doing. It's been a while since I drove to a significantly-sized repository and sat myself down for a several-hours-long research project.

Maybe it's about time I headed in that direction. 


  1. Maybe we take a road trip to SLC and spend a couple 2 or 3 days in the FHL instead of going to SLIG? Probably 1/2 the cost.

    1. Considering the class I wanted to take is already full, that may be the only option right now.

  2. Yes you should go where you can while you can! :)

  3. The expense of travel adds up in a hurry. I sure wish the Star Trek transporter technology was actually real, inexpensive and available!


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