Fall Virtual 2024 Courses
Records and Resources
Course 1: An Advanced Study of Death: Cemeteries, Death Records, and Material Culture
Gena Philibert-Ortega, MA, MAR
Death is a well-known subject for genealogists. To better understand our ancestor's lives, we study their deaths. But, like with any topic, understanding death and the records it produces is complex. Study into its complexity can help us better understand what records to expect and what not to expect. It also helps us understand and trace ancestral lives.
Unlike the typical genealogical treatment of the subject, this course takes an in-depth look at death records, social history, and material culture. We will spend time exploring records and learning more about the history of the recording of death. Students will come away with a better understanding of familiar records, the ability to identify unusual records, and how to research their ancestors beyond online databases.
Writing and Publication
Course 2: Memorializing Family History—From Intimidation to Empowerment
Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CG
Genealogists value the power and legacy of the written word. We all love to research. Some love to write. Others, fueled by intimidation and self-doubt, guiltily procrastinate the writing, secretly hoping for a miracle. This course may just be the beginning of a miracle.
Karen Stanbary will share her passion for storytelling. Trained as a clinician, she will blast away your writing obstacles and empower you to finally memorialize the stories that deserve to be preserved.
This all-new course adapts the successful structure widely applauded in national writing workshops, making it a bit gentler.
Students select from the following topics:
- Document one event in the life of a recently deceased ancestor such as a beloved parent or grandparent. Employing a deep dive into documentary sources, the writing will pinpoint the event within a historical context.
- Document the oral history about a treasured family heirloom. The writing will tell the story while stressing the meaning of the piece to the family. Documentary sources will add texture to the tale.
- Document your ancestor's participation in a specific military engagement, incorporating images as possible.
- Document the historical context and the story hidden within a family photograph.
Between classes, students will engage in anonymous peer review and will edit their work with a focus on creative, but tight writing. The final piece is intended to preserve the stories down through generations.
International Research & Languages
Course 3: Ontario and Quebec: Researching the Foundations of Canada
Kathryn Lake Hogan, UE, PLCGS
Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Canada West and Canada East. Ontario and Quebec. These are two of the foundational provinces of the Dominion of Canada since the arrival of explorers to these shores over four hundred years ago. In this hands-on course, students will gain a better understanding of the geography, history and people of Ontario and Quebec by examining and discussing various federal and provincial records.
Student objectives include:
- identifying the religious denominations of their ancestors in Canada
- learning about the seigneurial land system, Crown land records and the Ontario Land Registry system, and determining if their ancestor owned property
- examining the colonial, provincial or federal military records
- determining if their ancestor was a desired immigrant to Canada
- discovering reasons people crossed the Canada-USA border and why they may have been denied entry into Canada
- exploring repositories, archives and websites for Ontario and Quebec research.
New skills will be gained through working with original records and participation in weekly class and group activities. Homework assignments and discussions will enhance students’ experiences and success in this course. Written feedback will be provided on weekly homework assignments. Students can expect to spend up to five hours per week on homework assignments.
Course 4: Slava Ukraini! Genealogical Research in Ukraine
Joseph B. Everett, MLS, AG
Students in Slava Ukraini! Genealogical Research in Ukraine will develop an understanding of the records and research methods for tracing families in this region, and learn skills in searching, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from records from Ukraine and the historical jurisdictions that became part of it. The course includes instruction and practice in the Cyrillic alphabet and handwriting, progressing to guided analysis of various source documents. Students will also learn about the historical and geographical context of the region, methods for tracing immigrant origins, and how to navigate to relevant records. This course is for those researching their own family history or who have clients or library patrons with heritage from lands that are now part of Ukraine It is also for those who are interested in broadening their research knowledge for potential future research in this area. The emphasis will be on tracing Christian and Jewish families.
Students will learn best who already possess an intermediate to advanced knowledge of genealogical research methods and standards in general. No prior knowledge of Ukrainian research or the Ukrainian or Russian language is required to succeed in the course, however participants will come prepared with at least a rudimentary knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet by completing the pre-course packet. Participants who already have a degree of Ukrainian research proficiency will benefit by reinforcing their abilities while developing new knowledge and skills in paleography, accessing resources, and research methods.
Course 5: Foundations: The Research Process
Annette Burke Lyttle, MA
The goal of this course is to help students understand the genealogical research process in order to be able to research efficiently and effectively and to produce reliable answers to research questions. Students choose a research project of their own to work on throughout the course, and weekly homework assignments allow students to immediately practice skills they are learning. Every step of the research process is covered: formulating a useful research question, assembling and analyzing starting point information, researching the locality of the target ancestor, constructing a research plan, understanding source citations, logging and organizing research, analysis and correlation, and writing up results. The course also includes mind mapping to visualize information, how to know when the question has been answered reliably, and what to do if the research plan doesn’t provide an answer. A session on AI tools for genealogy provides a glimpse into the future. Two workshops and the opportunity for one-on-one consultations with instructors provide students with the chance to engage with the faculty and each other about the research process. This is a companion course to Foundations: Methods and Records.
Course 6: Assemblage: Preparing, Writing, and Revising Proof Arguments
Jan Joyce, DBA, CG, CGL, AG
You’re a good writer and a great researcher. You have been told that by mentors, instructors, peers, and probably your family! But then why does it seem like sometimes your written product doesn’t work? Perhaps it is a case study, a client report, or a family narrative. It may have been during a course, peer study group or institute setting that you struggled with putting it all together. If this sounds like you, then this course could be what you seek.
Simply stated, it is titled assemblage. It is the writing, splicing, dicing, editing, and piecing together of your proof arguments—and other writing—for your research. Students may want to take this course for a variety of reasons, which may include:
- Prepare for certification through BCG or accreditation through ICAPGen.
- Fine-tune articles for submissions to journals.
- Enhance client report writing.
- Craft work for sharing with family.
- Write proof of kinships and attach to online family trees.
Course 7: Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum
Angela Packer McGhie, CG, FUGA
This course provides an opportunity for advanced genealogists to gain hands-on experience solving tough cases. They challenge themselves as they put their research skills into practice. Participants work on five complex genealogical research problems — a new one each week. The objective is to give students experience in conducting research on complex problems, analyzing and correlating information, and writing conclusions.
Participants will practice using indirect evidence, broadening research to include the FAN club, resolving conflicts, and organizing evidence into a written summary. The research problems are varied, offering students the challenge of stretching their minds and skills in directions that their research may not have taken them. Participants will work individually on each of the cases and then gather to discuss their progress with classmates and the instructor. They will compare sources, strategies, and methodologies, discuss difficulties encountered, and receive guidance from the case study author.
This course is designed for advanced genealogists who have sufficient experience and education to work on complex genealogical problems. Most students plan 15-20 hours per week to work on the cases and write up a summary of their findings.
Course 8: Introduction to Genetic Genealogy
Paul Woodbury, MEd, AG
In this hands-on course, students will master the basics of genetic genealogy research through hands-on application in a variety of investigative contexts. They will create testing plans incorporating such elements as which individuals to test, the types of tests to take and the companies to be used. They will also evaluate chances of success and needs for additional testing for a research objective given a set of test results, develop research plans given a set of DNA test results, and learn to abide by genetic genealogy ethics and standards. Participants will practice basic interpretation of Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, X-DNA, and autosomal DNA evidence within the context of traditional document research and evaluation of Y-DNA and mtDNA.
Students will identify and evaluate likely relationships based on shared autosomal DNA and tree data, as well as explore possible sources of shared DNA for X-DNA matches. They will also interpret ethnicity reports for Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and autosomal DNA test results and formulate estimates regarding ethnic origins of the first few generations of ancestry. Additional skills participants will gain will include performing modern research, creating “quick and dirty” trees in the pursuit of an objective, collaborating and corresponding with genetic cousins, correctly citing genetic genealogy sources, organizing research to enable discovery, evaluating which approaches and methodologies would be best to utilize in a given research case, and incorporating DNA evidence into genealogical proof arguments.
Students will receive written feedback on weekly homework assignments, in-class lab assistance, and a 15-minute DNA consultation to review a DNA goal, related results, and outline a research plan. (Consultations will be conducted outside of regular classroom hours by appointment.)