Saturday, January 28, 2017
SLIG 2017: It's a Wrap!
The fastest way to make a week fly by must be to attend an event which requires one hundred ten percent of one's brain power to be firing on all cylinders, all day long. I'd say SLIG—the Utah Genealogical Association's Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy—would qualify in that capacity.
I arrived in Salt Lake City mid afternoon last Sunday, just in time for a drive through gently falling snow to my hotel destination. Other than having to shoulder my way past some insistent paparazzi chasing late-arriving celebs for the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, the move from airport to baggage claim to express shuttle was seamless, getting me checked in, settled, and on my way to the opening reception at a relaxed pace. (Hint: Don't think I was one of those arriving stars.)
My goal for the week was to extract a few practical tips and tools for examining those kazillion matches I've tired of comparing at the three main DNA testing companies. I came away from the week more than satisfied with the outcome.
Not to say it won't take a while—oh, let's peg that somewhere between several weeks and several months—to digest all that I've acquired in the week's sessions. Between the hands-on presentations by CeCe Moore on tools at 23andMe and AncestryDNA, Paul Woodbury on GEDmatch and chromosome mapping, and APG member and recently Board Certified genealogist Karen Stanbary on the powerful but cranky Genome Mate Pro—not to mention, an added field trip to the Ancestry.com offices to watch Angie Bush take us through the ins and outs of Gworks—there was a lot to digest in this week's material.
It might sound like we barely survived a harrowing week, cramming in more information than a brain should be able to bear, but it really wasn't that way. Those who arrived in time for advanced check-in were treated to a reception along with gathering their registration materials—a leisurely opportunity for networking and saying hello to fellow alums from previous institutes. While classes kept up a steady schedule from Monday morning through Friday afternoon, each session began at 8:30 and ended at 4:00, with a half hour mid-morning and mid-afternoon break and ninety minutes for a leisurely lunch with friends to interject a change of pace each day.
Though the point of an institute is to allow the opportunity to study one area of focus in depth all week long, each institute offers learning options from wide variety of subjects. My choice, of course, was the DNA course, but others chose to hear from luminaries like Judy Russell (The Family History Law Library), Thomas W. Jones (Advanced Genealogical Methods), and John Philip Colletta (Researching Ancestors From Overseas).
As might be expected, the capstone for the week was Friday night's banquet, featuring the keynote address by Barbara Vines Little. The pull of home and the unfortunate juxtaposition of the last flight out on Friday night with the introductory comments during the Completion Banquet put me in the position of having to kiss goodbye what was surely a fun evening. But here I am, weary yet well-informed, back home and ready to put all this hard-earned experience to good use.