Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hump Day at SLIG

I'm more than halfway through my first Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), and I'm working on processing what I've learned so far.  The class I'm attending is "Swing through the South", which was originally going to be taught by J. Mark Lowe, but he unfortunately was not able to come.  Kelvin Meyers took over coordination of the course, and our other speakers are Dr. Deborah Abbot, Anne Gillespie Mitchell, and Michael Hait.

I chose this course about the South because it supports my volunteer work with the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California, where I am a board member and editor of the quarterly journal.  My volunteer work is how I earned a scholarship to attend SLIG this year.

There's no question that the best session so far has been Kelvin Meyers' talk about church records in the South.  This is obviously a subject dear to him, and his enthusiasm was clearly evident.  He discussed the First and Second Great Awakenings in religion in the United States and talked about prominent leaders in several religions.  He then explained which religions were predominant in each of the Southern states (though there were a couple of omissions).  He also supplied a fairly comprehensive listing of archives for those religions.  This presentation had a great amount of information I'll be able to use in future research.

The plenary session on Monday night, "Genealogically Speaking" by the Rev. Dr. David McDonald, was entertaining and enjoyable.  He had everyone laughing as he related family stories and reminiscences but became serious when he explained that recording and sharing those stories are so important.

Wednesday night the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen) sponsored classes, consultations, and light refreshments at the Family History Library for SLIG attendees.  I went to a fantastic talk on religious migrations to the United States, by David Dilts.  It was really interesting to see a timeline of how a round of religious dissent led to a religious split, and again, and again, and then how those disaffected migrated to this brave new land.  And his handout was jam-packed with information I'll be rereading to make sure I understand it all.  The night at the library was a new event for SLIG this year; it seemed to be very successful.

One of the really fun things at SLIG has been networking with the 350+ other genealogists gathered here in Salt Lake City to learn more about researching family history.  I've made some wonderful connections with people, and I'm looking forward to collaborating and sharing information with them in the future.

Of course, since I'm in Salt Lake, I planned ahead for some research at the Family History Library.  My big score has been finding the birth record for my paternal grandmother.  I learned she was born a year earlier than all of her later records indicate, which isn't that uncommon for someone born in the 1890's.  I was surprised and disappointed to see that her mother's name wasn't listed on the record, but at least it showed that her mother was born in England, so I'm sure it's the right person.  I did a little genealogy happy dance in my seat when I found her on the microfilm.

January 14, 1893, <no name> Gaunt, female, father Thomas, mother born in England

Two more days of classes are coming up, plus the closing banquet on Friday evening, when Judy Russell (The Legal Genealogist) will speak about researching children in your family history.  And I don't leave Salt Lake until Saturday night, so I have all day for more research at the library.  I still have a lot to look forward to!

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