Last week would have marked my traditional annual trip to attend the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy held there by the Utah Genealogical Society. And, up to only a few weeks prior, this year would have marked a return to an in-person venue after an awkward hiatus due to the too-great risks of the pandemic.
How I would have loved to have been there. And how glad I am that I didn't spring for the preparations. What a big mess such a tiny "bug" can make for even the best of plans.
Though I know the program seamlessly reverted to an online-only option, watching online from my isolated position at home just wouldn't have been the same. I know; I tried it the previous year. Yes, I learned much—but that was all I gained for the experience. The people factor, the networking, the milling about, the reunions with friends from past years just wasn't the same, at least for me.
As difficult as it must have been for the SLIG administrative team to make that last minute decision to abandon original dreams, the choice was likely inevitable. Even after that announcement, here at home—far removed from Salt Lake City—I could watch the hospitalization numbers earlier this month ratchet upwards alarmingly, and know it couldn't be much better anywhere else, no matter where a person calls home. And, on a miniature scale, our own local genealogical society's board traced a route through a similar decision tree to arrive at the conclusion that our own first face-to-face meeting would prudently have to wait out the winter.
On the larger scale in which the UGA must operate, there are significant consequences to such cancellations, and I am not surprised to see that the SLIG leadership has opted to announce next year's Institute to be a virtual-only event. The dates are already up on their website—January 22 through 27, 2023—with fifteen courses already announced.
Those in the know already have marked their calendars for the opening of registration on July 16, 2022, poised to claim their first course choice right at 10:00 a.m. Mountain Time. Even with an online-only venue, classes fill up quickly.