Sunday, July 9, 2017

Continuing That Education

One of life's tenets I tenaciously grab on to is: never stop learning. Continuing education, in my book, can involve everything from information to skills to experiences. Sometimes, it even involves a classroom.

For the past two years, I've used the opportunities hosted by the Utah Genealogical Association to spend a brisk winter's week in Salt Lake City at their genealogical institute. For each of those past years, I focused on genetic genealogy, which was, admittedly, a steep learning curve.

This year, though, I'll break away from my customary focus and try a different approach. This is mainly owing to some projects I need to tackle which require digging into some old books and records—stuff not likely to be found in digitized governmental documents. What perfect timing to realize SLIG2018 will afford me the chance to learn from one of America's most respected and popular genealogical speakers, John Philip Colletta.

This, of course, is not an opportunity to squander by missing out on the early bird registration. Since sign ups opened yesterday morning—at 9:00 Mountain Daylight Time—you can be sure I was poised at my computer at 8:00 a.m., California time, ready to push the button and register. (Truth be told, I tested the waters five minutes earlier, just in case.)

No waiting lists for me this year, thank you! By 9:02 a.m. their time, I was signed up for my first choice and headed to the hotel registration page. Every step of the process worked like a charm. Can you tell I was jazzed to know I got in at the head of the list?

There are quite a few other reasons why SLIG has become such a popular learning options for those who are serious about genealogical research. In addition to the variety of subjects covered and the generous time frame enabling in-depth pursuit of that knowledge, the SLIG coordinators and staff have mastered the art of attending to every detail—even anticipating several that others might not have thought about.

Registration, both online and in person at the opening event on January 21, proceeds seamlessly. Coordinators seem to handle every issue with grace and aplomb, making attendees—both returning and first-timers—feel welcome and comfortable. The facility seems perfectly matched to the needs of this five-hundred-person-plus assemblage, and the diligent effort of learning is adequately paired with welcome times of refreshment and mingling with other attendees.

In preparation for the event, there is an "unofficial" private Facebook group for attendees, set up thanks to the behind-the-scenes efforts of J. Paul Hawthorne. It serves to answer questions, break the ice, and help ramp up the excitement of attending, of course. It's well worth checking out, for those registered for this year's event, and only takes a simple request to join.

For those who don't wish to throw away the chance to do some research at the country's premier genealogical repository, the SLIG coordinators have arranged for shuttle service each evening from the institute hotel to the Family History Library. I have taken that opportunity a few times in past years, but have found that, at the end of a day spent mounting a serious learning curve, my brain needs a break. Dinner out with a congenial group of fellow genealogists certainly can fill the bill there.

During daytime hours, though, my main goal will be to soak up all the information I can from my chosen class, "Beyond the Library: Using Original Source Repositories." The timing couldn't be better. My goal for next spring is to visit state repositories in Florida to pursue the story of my third great grandfather's role in drawing up Florida's first state constitution. I certainly will appreciate some tips from an expert before then.




  1. One of my daily goals is to learn one thing new. The bonus is I usually learn much more than one thing.
    Of course I've reached the stage that I may have learned it yesterday and just forgot--- ;)

  2. This was the first course I took at SLIG after I retired. Although I learned a lot, it was wasted on such a newbie. I should have taken Paula Stewart Warren's class instead. But I just loved listening to John...he's the best storyteller.

    1. Agreed, Lisa. He's a master at the craft. I've enjoyed hearing him at conferences, myself. And I have some projects on hold for which I hope to glean some guidance from him. I'm really looking forward to it!


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