Tuesday, November 10, 2015

SLIG's Advanced Evidence Practicum: Are you up to the challenge?

I invited Nicole LaRue to write a guest post on the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, as she has taken the course before, and she is registered again in 2016. Why would someone take the same course twice? She will tell you in her review below. There are still two seats available in this course if you would like to join her in January 2016. Registration information below.  
So you've taken the advanced genealogical courses at the big institutes. You're comfortable with solving complex research problems. You may even take paying clients. What's next for someone who is looking for a new genealogical challenge? Where can you test your skills? How about expanding your knowledge? Good news! You can find all of that in one 5-day course during the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in January 2016: the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum.
Imagine being in a room with prominent professional genealogists, all with different areas of expertise and all are willing to share a case study with you.  In addition, you’re  not just hearing about different case studies from the experts, you also get to participate.
First, you are given the background of a case and get the research problem you are going to attempt to solve.  Next, you are set loose in the Family History Library to work some magic in their innumerable books, microfilm reels, databases, etc. The following day, you come back to hear how the experts solved their problems and to find out about the research plans of your peers before you are presented with a new case for the next day. What you end up with at the end of each day is a room full of genealogists discussing their approach to a research problem with the presenters, who are just as eager to hear how others came to a resolution. And no one's eyes are glazing over (like they would be at my house in such a situation)!
You may be thinking, "this sounds great, but I've already taken the Practicum." Simply put, it doesn't matter. There are new experts with new case studies to share every year, making each experience unique. You could come every year for 10 years and learn something new every single time. In fact, there are five students to do attend every year. My first year in the Practicum, there were experts specializing in the Southern U.S., Maryland and African American research, French-Canadian immigrants, and the Midwestern U.S. 2016 will be my second time in the Practicum and the lineup for the coming year has expanded to include experts in Irish research, federal land research, forensic research, Southern research, and New England research, among others.
So often we, as genealogists, tend to get comfortable in our "bubbles" and lack exposure to work in areas outside our comfort zone. The Practicum allows you to not only learn a bit about several different areas, but to be able to learn through practical application. It's one thing to sit in a lecture room and be talked at for five days on a single topic, but it's a very different beast to actually be working on projects covering several topics day after day. That kind of hands-on learning is what drives home all of the education you've been collecting through other courses. And there's simply nothing else like it. Anywhere. So if you're ready to be challenged, to engage with other professionals, and to immerse yourself in learning more about your field, the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum is where you need to be.
For more information on the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy click  here. To register for a course, including the Practicum which is course #13, click here.
Nicole Gilkison LaRue is originally from Illinois and currently lives in Maryland, where she works as a professional genealogist. She has a B.A. in History and has completed courses at IGHR, SLIG, and GRIP, as well as the ProGen Study Program and Mastering Genealogical Proof.

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