SLIG Spring Virtual 2025

Records & Resources

Course 1: Reconstructing Ancestral Neighborhoods & Networks

Kimberly T. Powell and Gerald H. Smith, CG

Kimberly T. PowellGerald H. Smith, CGUnderstanding the physical and social landscapes where our ancestors lived can be crucial to solving problems of identity, kinship, and origin. This hands-on, advanced course, for students with experience in land records and platting, offers critical skills and practical strategies for constructing community networks around elusive ancestors. We’ll explore the integration of advanced land platting techniques with modern mapping technologies and historical maps to place ancestors in a specific location, trace the development of the neighborhoods in which they lived, and uncover insights into historical relationships and migration patterns. In-class examples and exercises will also demonstrate triangulation techniques for determining approximate location from partial data and the use of reconstructed ancestral networks to identify key associates, disambiguate same-name people, and locate “missing” individuals. NOTE: This course requires previous completion of the week-long land platting course offered at either SLIG or IGHR or permission of the instructors.

Course 2: Researching Women from 1860 to 1950

Gena Philibert-Ortega, MA, MAR

Gena Philibert-Ortega, MA, MARThere’s no doubt that researching female ancestors can be difficult. The records genealogist’s use doesn’t always include women by name. Women’s marital name changes coupled with the fact that women’s historical legal rights precluded them from activities that leave a record trail, make finding her story seem impossible.

As we consider our female ancestors, we must enhance our approach from strictly genealogical research to research that includes historical and social history sources and context. By expanding our research to include other methodologies and sources, we can learn more about our female ancestors.

In this course, we will explore women's historical experiences to understand better their lives and the records left behind. Conducting exhaustive research and writing techniques will also be discussed. This course will focus on the 1860-1950 years in the United States so we can narrow our scope and start telling the stories of our most recent female ancestors. Our focus will be recreating women’s communities, finding records, and writing her story so we can share it with family members.

Course 3: A Century of Change: The Emigrant-Immigrant-Migrant Experience in the U.S., 1825–1925

Pamela J. Vittorio, MA, PLCGS

Pamela J. Vittorio, MA, PLCGSIn the century from 1825 to 1925, our ancestors experienced innovations that had a profound effect on every aspect of their lives. This course explores the emigrant-immigrant-migrant experience during the industrial, transportation, and technical revolutions. Dig into your ancestors’ socio-historical backgrounds and develop a better understanding of the push-pull that brought them to North American shores. Determine how they arranged transatlantic passage, used various transportation methods in the U.S., purchased land, built a house, found work, became a U.S. citizen and a part of their community.

In this course, we will consider the factors that affect a person’s identity, such as language(s), educational background, communication methods, occupations, forms of socialization and entertainment, religious affiliations, and social mobility. In the social history/culture sessions, we discuss family traditions and cultural mores that may or may not be woven into the threads of the American tapestry. We will examine and interpret information from our most frequently-used records (e.g., census, BMDs, immigration records) and correlate them with other less-used record types, such as advertisements, city or farm directories, diaries, journals, business ledgers and receipts, and transportation records—to enrich our ancestors’ stories and place them alongside the people with whom they interacted in their day-to-day lives.

The session lectures and discussions cycle through topics on people and identity, social history and culture, and an investigation of a wide variety of record types from which we can extract and weave information into our ancestors’ stories. Every fourth session culminates in tips and techniques for writing a family narrative or case study, and receiving feedback.

Writing and Publication

Course 4: The Art of Writing a Research Report

Debra A. Hoffman, PLCGS

Debra A. Hoffman, PLCGSWant to effectively capture your research whether writing for yourself or a client? Writing effective research reports can be a challenge. This course will provide instruction and hands-on experience creating an efficient and effective report. A team of professional genealogists will share their expertise in technical writing, evidence analysis, incorporating visual elements, organizing material, time-saving strategies, and documentation. Examples of a variety of reporting formats covering simple to complex research problems from a variety of professional perspectives will be shared and available to review during the course. Participants will learn both by evaluating provided reports and writing a research report during the week. Students should have a laptop to work on practice exercises in class and complete writing assignments.

Course 5: Bring ‘Em Back to Life: Writing Our Ancestors’ Stories

Annette Burke Lyttle, MA

Annette Burke Lyttle, MAThe goal of this course is to help researchers understand how to tell the stories of their ancestors, to equip them with skills and techniques that will give them confidence as writers, to help them avoid pitfalls, and to help them understand how best to share their stories, depending on their goals. Writing these stories can seem like a daunting task, but with instruction and coaching, researchers can learn to be not just guardians of the family history, but tellers of those family stories. Our hands-on learning approach, along with homework on their own writing projects, will allow students to immediately practice the concepts being taught in the course. They will also end up with a completed writing project and a plan for how best to share it. The course will finish with a lecture on how to get help and support for their writing projects going forward.

International Research & Languages

Course 6: Tracing French-Canadian Ancestors and Telling Their Stories

David S. Ouimette, CG, CGL

David S. Ouimette, CG, CGLIn this course, you will learn how to trace your French-Canadian family history back to your pioneer ancestors and their origins in France. You do not need to know French to have amazing success discovering your French-Canada ancestry. The rich historical records from the colony of New France to modern-day Quebec are the envy of the genealogical world, and the most valuable records are already digitized, indexed, and available online. You will find your ancestors' stories in Catholic parish registers, notarial acts, census population schedules, and other lesser-known records. You will envision your French-Canadian ancestors in their everyday life within the social, religious, economic, political, and cultural contexts of their time. You might even discover that you have a fur trader, Daughter of the King, or First Nations ancestor in your family tree. Come join us to accelerate the discovery of your French-Canadian heritage!

Proficiency Development

Course 7: Becoming an Accredited Genealogist Professional: The Why, the What, the How

Lisa Stokes, AG

Lisa Stokes, AGEarning the Accredited Genealogist credential with the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen) provides opportunities to demonstrate your research proficiency in a chosen region. Benefits include strengthened research skills, confidence in performing client work, and respect in the genealogy community.

This interactive, hands-on course will cover the requirements for each ICAPGen accreditation step and give valuable information needed for successful testing. Homework assignments will provide essential skill-building activities. Peer review using ICAPGen rubrics will provide vital feedback to students. A four-hour practice project and a personalized meeting with an AG mentor, knowledgeable in the chosen region of accreditation, will cap off the course. Discover your accreditation readiness as you learn more about the testing process and receive peer and mentor feedback on your work.

Course 8: BCG Certification: Understanding and Meeting Standards

Angela Packer McGhie, CG, FUGA and Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CG

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CGAngela Packer McGhie, CG, FUGAIn this hands-on course, students review and practice the Board for Certification of Genealogists’ requirements for credentialing. They study the Genealogical Proof Standard and Genealogy Standards to create and evaluate genealogical work using established rubrics.

Rubrics for Evaluating New Applications for BCG Certification provide the organizing framework for class discussions, hands-on activities, and at-home practice. In-class exercises build foundational skills in transcribing records, planning efficient research, analyzing records, correlating information, reporting on research results, and writing about evidence. Weekly homework assignments provide the opportunity for students to apply the skills to their own research. Students will be asked to identify and celebrate their small wins on their paths to submitting a successful portfolio.

We will dive deep into the skills necessary to achieve certification:

  • Crafting a meaningful research question
  • Conducting reasonably exhaustive research
  • Evaluating sources as containers of information
  • Developing and refining efficient and dynamic research plans
  • Mining and reporting evidence
  • Documenting sources
  • Transcribing and abstracting information
  • Correlating information
  • Writing about evidence with logic and inference
  • Assembling evidence and conclusions
  • Parentage proofs including DNA
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Reporting of findings in a formal Research Report
  • Writing clear proof arguments detailing evidence and reasoning to support conclusions
  • Accurately reconstructing families within a Narrative Lineage
  • Writing a detailed and documented life story including meaningful historical context

This course is not sponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. The opinions expressed by the faculty are entirely their own. The BCG Application Guide and Genealogy Standards represent the authority in all matters relating to credentialing. Please refer to the Board for Certification of Genealogists website for more information.