SLIG 2024 Courses

Records and Resources

Course 1: Behind the Scenes at FamilySearch: Technology and Features

Lynn Turner, AG

Lynn Turner, AGFamilySearch has a 128-year history as an organization. It has grown exponentially over time and kept current with a fast-moving continuously changing landscape. To capture the essence of every life in the context of recorded history, FamilySearch employs all of the technology available and strives to keep pace with opportunities worldwide. At FamilySearch, it’s all about the individual and the experience you will have either in person or online. This course is designed to illustrate the array of different opportunities to use the resources of FamilySearch and to understand the foundations of each experience. Come explore the many features and products that FamilySearch has to offer.

Course 2: Immigration from Colonial Times to 1890

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, FUGA

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLSUncovering an ancestor’s immigration story is a rich experience for many genealogists. However, challenges exist when tracing immigrants during the colonial period through 1890. Students in this course will discover resources for identifying an individual or family’s immigration while exploring methods to contextualize and further understand their experiences. The course will explore various compiled and original source materials, including online and onsite resources. Case studies will provide methodologies for finding immigrant stories despite missing or inconsistent records. Other topics covered include forced immigration, colonial settlements, indentured servants, passenger lists, customs passenger lists, naturalization records, foreign passenger records, name variants, compiled databases, newspapers, and immigrant societies.

Course 3: Exploring Their Life: The Social History of Your Family

Gena Philibert-Ortega, MA, MAR

Gena Philibert-Ortega, MA, MARGenealogists seek to understand the past by searching names, dates, and places to understand a family’s place in time. Most people are descended from “ordinary” people whose impact on history was only felt by their immediate family. Because of this, the study and incorporation of history is ignored due to the belief that these family members didn’t make history.

Social history looks at the ordinary person. It’s “history…with the people put back in,” examining topics such as family life, food, education, immigration, death, labor, and industry. For family historians, it helps us understand our ancestor’s life and adds historical context.

At some point, every genealogist realizes that placing ancestors in time and place just isn’t enough and asks, “Who are these people…really?” We wonder about their lives, thoughts, challenges, and successes. When lucky, we find a source with fascinating biographical details. However, this is the exception. Most names on a pedigree chart are doomed to anonymity if we only focus on gathering names and dates. Fortunately, genealogists can discover a great deal about these ancestors through social history research.

Social history sources are readily available for genealogical research. However, genealogists, who primarily seek to identify individuals in the past, may find these sources frustrating because they rarely reference their ancestors by name. To realize the value of social history, genealogists must approach the past as the historian does so they can develop an interpretation of past events. When genealogists look through a historian’s lens, a blending of history and genealogy occurs. It yields contextual knowledge—a deep understanding—of the events they document in their research.

To do this, genealogists must acquire new research skills, use social history sources effectively, and above all else, seek historical context. This course introduces social history systematically by modeling new research skills, introducing sources, and imparting historical background to events of interest to the genealogist. Students will learn how to do comprehensive historical research, benefit from a focused look at historical topics, and learn how to present this information to their families.

Course 4: Advanced Research Tools: Land Records

Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, CGL

Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, CGLLand genealogy is as important as people genealogy for overcoming family history research barriers. This course explores land distribution in the current United States by colonial powers, private land claims, federal land records at both the National Archives and the General Land Office, and local-level county or town deeds. Students will learn about the Public Land Survey System and the metes and bound system. Course content illustrates the use of land records to prove kinship. Use of software and Internet resources for finding land records, mapping, and deed platting is demonstrated and practiced in hands-on labs or classroom exercises.

Course 5: The Family History Law Library

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL and Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGAJudy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGLThis course will cover the basic legal concepts and legal research approaches appropriate for genealogists. Topics will include courts and their records, estate laws, legislative records, pensions, land law, and more. Elements of both English common law and Roman law will be introduced through classes on the legal concepts found in Irish, German, and French law that relate to research in those countries and their relevance to research in the United States.

Course 6: Guide to Treasures Found in Federal Records

Michael L. Strauss, AG

Michael L. Strauss, AGThis course is intended to take students to the next level by digging deeper in the Compiled Military Service Records, Pensions, Private and Public Military Acts and Laws, Dog Tags, Federal and State Bounty Land among other topics. This will be done by both conventional lecturing and the use of critical thinking exercises.

International Research

Course 7: Genealogy Research in France: An Introduction

Paul Woodbury, MEd, AG

Paul Woodbury, MEdGenealogical and historical research in France benefits from some of the most detailed and well-preserved records in Europe. In this course, learn to trace your French ancestry through civil registration, church, census, military, and newspaper records. Gain hands-on experience working with real cases and associated documents. Observe several case studies highlighting methodological considerations in context, and learn about some of the regional considerations of research in different areas of mainland France. If you don’t know French, have not touched your French ancestral lines or have only dabbled in French research, this course is for you.

Regional & Ethnic Resources

Course 8: Researching Along the Northern Plains

Gary Ball-Kilbourne, MDiv, PhD, CG

Gary Ball-Kilbourne, MDiv, PhD, CGThe Great American Desert, Flyover Country, and Buffalo Commons are all terms used to describe the Northern Plains of the United States. They imply an empty country, with little of interest and few residents. Nothing could be further from the truth. This region—which embraces the entirety of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska, plus western Minnesota, western Iowa, and eastern Montana—is filled with intriguing peoples, rich and varied histories and cultures, and wide-ranging genealogical challenges and opportunities. This course will provide genealogists with insights into researching the region as a whole, as well as its distinctive states. Special attention will be given to Native Americans of the Northern Plains and key ethnic immigrant groups. Important brick-and-mortar repositories, online availability of sources, and helpful agencies will be discussed. Guidance for participants to develop their own location guides will be provided. This course is intended for researchers with at least an intermediate level of knowledge and experience with the range of sources competent genealogists are expected to use.

Course 9: The Fundamentals of Southern U.S. Research and Resources

J. Mark Lowe, FUGA

J. Mark Lowe, FUGAWe will begin with the basic methodologies, and review the records and resources that lead to answers. Highlights include transportation routes, manuscript collections, occupational resources, land, court and estate records (and the laws that created them) along with problem-solving techniques used by real Southern researchers.


Course 10: DNA Dreamers: Integrating DNA Evidence to Resolve Complex Cases

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CG

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CGThis course is designed to deconstruct, and study researcher decisions, strategies, and methodologies employed in the correlation of documentary and genetic evidence to establish proven genealogical conclusions. Examples include all new case studies suitable for publication, research reports, and proof summaries/arguments useful in a Kinship Determination Project (KPD). The research problems are all long-standing genealogical brick walls that could not be solved without the skillful use of DNA and documentary sources. We will focus on a variety of strategies to meet the newly minted DNA-Related standards and the Genealogical Proof Standard.


Course 11: Beyond the Brick Wall: Strategies for Pre-1850 U.S. Research

Julia A. Anderson, MA, AG; Beth Taylor, CG; Lyn Rasmussen, CG; and Jacqueline Kanyuck, AG

Jacqueline Kanyuck, AGLyn Rasmussen, CGBeth Taylor, CGJulia Anderson, MA, AGResearching in the United States prior to 1850 presents unique challenges. Records contain less information, are seldom indexed, and can be difficult to find. In this class, we will introduce pre-1850 record types and highlight strategies for identifying relationships prior to 1850. This class will also demonstrate and provide hands-on practice in applying advanced research skills, record analysis, and evidence correlation.

Course 12: Advanced Genealogical Methods

Paul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGL

Paul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGLStudents in Advanced Genealogical Methods will learn how to assemble and use evidence to rediscover ancestral origins, identities, and relationships that have been forgotten over the passage of time. The course will address advanced use of evidence derived from a variety of genealogical sources and will explore research techniques for populations for which the usual records are in short supply. Students will also learn how to document their research and develop written proof summaries to reach accurate conclusions and create a credible record of their findings for present and future generations of family historians.

Writing & Proficiency

Course 13: Guided Research and Consultation

Craig Roberts Scott, MA, CG, FUGA

Craig Roberts Scott, MA, CG, FUGAExperience the power of having your own personal guide for an entire week as you research both online and in the Family History Library. Students will review progress and findings in regular group meetings and one-on-one consultations throughout the week as they work on their own personal research projects. Assistance will be available as needed during specific research hours.