Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Advanced Library Research Course at IGHR

As part of my continuing series of guest authors reviewing courses at different genealogical institutes, Laurel Baty, CG writes about the Advanced Library Research course at Samford University's Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. This course is scheduled every other year, so will be available again in 2014.

 Advanced Library Research:

 Law Libraries & Government Documents

You’ve found your family in the census, searched for probate and deed records, read the neighborhood newspapers, and located any applicable military records. Are you ready to write your family history, sure that you have mined all available sources? Well you might first explore the records that exist in government documents and law libraries! The class Advanced Library Research: Law Libraries & Government Documents will provide you with the skills you need to explore these under-utilized records.

This class challenges you to determine who in your family interacted with the federal, state, and local government. If you have not yet explored government documents and published court cases you will be surprised to find how many of your ancestors left records hidden among the vast published records of the courts and government. During the one week course I located:
·         The appointment of my husband’s grandparents as postmaster of a small South Dakota town 
·         A case appealed to the Georgia State Supreme Court by my  paternal 2nd great grandmother 
·         A private act of the State of Georgia created to settle the estate of my paternal 3rd great   
·         A case appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court by my maternal 2nd great grandmother 
·         A case appealed to the United States Supreme Court by my maternal 2nd great granduncle 
·         A case appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court by my maternal 3rd great grandfather

Thanks to access to an expensive online database normally available only at law schools, but provided to the students of the Advanced Law Library class through June 30, I am still searching! I highly recommend this class, offered in alternate years at IGHR. One of the course coordinators, Ann Carter Fleming, announced her retirement at the Thursday night banquet but I am sure the course will continue under the able leadership of Benjamin B. Spratling and the talented team of lecturers for the course: Claire Mire Bettag, Kay Haviland Freilich, Ruth Ann Abels Hager, Brenda Jones, and Patricia Walls Stamm. 

Laurel Baty, CGSM

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Course on Genetic Genealogy

I am excited about this new course from NGS. Here is the press release with all the details:

NGS Announces New Course by Dr. Thomas H. Shawker:
Genetic Genealogy, The Basics.

The National Genealogical Society proudly announces the release of its newest American Genealogy Studies course, Genetic Genealogy, The Basics, developed by Dr. Thomas H. Shawker.

Thomas H. Shawker, MD, is a physician with the National Institutes of Health, a nationally recognized lecturer on genetics, and chairman of the NGS Genetic Genealogy Committee. In 2004 he authored the NGS book, Unlocking Your Genetic History.

Now, Dr. Shawker shares his medical expertise in the six-lesson self-paced course Genetic Genealogy, the Basics. Topics covered in the course include:
  • the structure of the DNA molecule, how it is organized, how it replicates, and how it functions;
  • human chromosomes and how the Y chromosome is inherited;
  • the two types of DNA markers used in genetic genealogy;
  • haplotypes and haplogroups;
  • evaluation of a Y chromosome surname project and a discussion on how to evaluate the test results of the participants; and
  • the structure of the mitochondrial DNA molecule, how it is inherited, and how it can be used in genealogy. 

The course is designed for independent study. Students check their work with an answer key that immediately follows each self-test. Genetic Genealogy, The Basics is available on a PC- or MAC-compatible CD in a PDF format. The tuition is $45.00 for members and $70.00 for non-members. For further information, or to purchase the course, visit the NGS website at and click on the Educational Courses tab.

Please visit the course web page at for more information.

NGS American Genealogy Studies courses are designed for both beginners and established genealogists who want the convenience of completing their genealogical studies at their own pace in their own home.

Other available courses include:

          American Genealogy: Home Study Course
         Using Federal Population Census Schedules in Genealogical Research
         Introduction to Civil War Research
         Introduction to Religious Records
         Social Security Sleuthing
         Special Federal Census Schedules
         Transcribing, Extracting, and Abstracting Genealogical Records
         Working with Deeds

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Research in the Midwestern Course at SLIG

Continuing the series of posts by guest authors reviewing courses at genealogy institutes, LeRoy Atkins shares his perspective on the Research in the Midwestern United States at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.

If you have never taken a course coordinated by Kory Meyerink, don't miss "Research in the Midwestern United States." The 2012 guest instructors included Jill Crandall, Luana Darby, Russ Lynch, Debra Mieszala, Gordon Remmington, Paula Stuart-Warren, Kelly Summers, and Linda Turner. All of them are well qualified, interesting people. 

The course is content rich. You will be exposed to many new sources specific to the eight Midwestern states. Millions of people passed through, created records, and/or lived in the Midwest. (The strategy for the area is also useful in the Great Plains states.) In addition classes include methodology applicable to the Midwest and to genealogy in general. 

Subjects include:
  •        Migration
  •        Religious and Ethnic Groups
  •       Immigrant Origins
  •        Finding Aids
  •        Local Histories
  •        Biographies
  •        State Census Records
  •        Cemetery Searching in the Midwest
  •        19th Century Passenger Lists
  •        Public Domain and Local Land Records
  •        State and Local Vital Records
  •        Church Records
  •         Manuscript Collections in the Midwest
  •         Midwestern Archives
  •         Internet Sources for the Midwest
  •        Newspaper Research
  •        Big City Research

Maximize the value of the course. Come prepared with a research plan to answer a specific genealogical question about a Midwest ancestor. The course has no specific homework assignment. Use your evenings to implement the practical knowledge taught in "Research in the Midwest..." You should be able to supplement your research plan, and find answers to your questions. If you elect to do so you may submit your problem for recommendations from your classmates during one of the sessions. Kory is a very sharing and helpful coach and teacher.

One of the final sessions included an interactive case study. It started with a pedigree chart, limited known information, and a goal to learn details to extend the pedigree. That class demonstrated a practical application of the methodology covered during the week. 

If you have ancestors that lived in the Midwest, or will assist others who do, I recommend this course.

A. LeRoy Atkins

A. LeRoy Atkins earned a B.S. in Accounting at Brigham Young University. He is a retired local government auditor and print executive. He began doing genealogy work in 1957. Currently he volunteers at the Mesa (Arizona) Family Search Library. He may be contacted at