Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SLIG New England Course

This is part of my continuing series of course reviews from genealogy institutes. Here guest author Teresa Scott shares her perspective on the New England course from the Salt Lake Institute in 2012, and the upcoming course in 2015. For more information, or to register for a course at the 2015 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy see www.slig.ugagenealogy.org

I took the course “Advanced New England Research” at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in 2012, coordinated by D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS with David C. Dearborn and Rhonda McClure, both of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS).  A similar course will be offered at SLIG 2015 entitled “Diving Deeper Into New England.” Mr. Taylor is now the Data Strategy Manager for findmypast.com (owned by DC Thomson Family History) and intends to revamp the course significantly.  So, should you consider attending?

I live in downtown Boston – Beacon Hill.  I am a ten-minute walk from NEHGS, a fifteen-minute walk to the Massachusetts Historical Society, and a quick drive (or T ride) to the Massachusetts Archives and Registry of Vital Records.  Other important archives and collections are an easy drive as well.  Why then would I travel to Salt Lake City to take a week long course in New England research?!

First, I am unaware of such a lengthy and in-depth course offering here in New England.  Second, as a veteran SLIG attendee, I know that the courses will offer me new perspectives and insights, even on subjects I know well.  In the 2012 course,  I learned so much about New England (not my native region) and the numerous interesting collections throughout.  Josh Taylor has extensive experience with these records and attracts other lecturers who also have insights and information to enlighten even the most seasoned of researchers.

In 2012, an overview of New England town records was given to familiarize attendees with the richness and peculiarities of such records.  Several of the tracks focused on the many manuscript collections, archives, college and university libraries, and historical societies that exist throughout New England as well as informing attendees of the vast holdings of newspapers and court records that exist in these states and online.  Genealogists were reminded of the long history of the New England states resulting in the creation of various collections, large and small, that one should not overlook. 

The course also included a series of lectures on advanced strategies particular to each of the six New England states: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maine.  Each attendee also had the opportunity to meet individually with each of the lecturers about particular brick walls or issues from their own research (these could be submitted in advance).  Several of the days dismissed early so attendees had ample opportunity to work in the Family History Library and explore some of the strategies learned in the course.
Searching high and low was strongly encouraged and revealed to be more than possible in New England.  I came away excited with many new places to look for my New England ancestors and can report several successes!

Teresa L. Scott

Teresa L. Scott has been researching her family for more than 15 years taking her all over New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Midwest.   She is a 2009 graduate of the Boston University Genealogical Research program and completed the ProGen Study Program in 2010.   She serves as State Records Director of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council working to preserve access to public records.

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