Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thinking Ouside The Genealogy Conference/Workshop

I started researching my family history four short years ago. Like most people who jump into the deep end of family history research, I thought I would be finished in the first year and give each member of my family and my husband's family a published history for Christmas.

I wanted my family history to be a professional research project, so I decided to educate myself regarding everything associated with genealogy and family history. I did a little digging and was fortunate to find the University of Washington Extension, Certificate Program in Genealogy and Family History.

It's a nine month in depth program that requires a very large commitment in time and effort. Take a look at the courses. One of my classmates has said the program was more arduous then her Master's Thesis. She meant that as a compliment.

The program was taught by a Pacific Northwest professional genealogist, the Historian for the Museum of History and Industry, and many guest speakers. My instructors were brilliant. I cannot say enough good things about them or the program.

It did, however, spoil me for any workshop or conference I have since taken. My major disappointment with conferences and workshops offered on the local, regional and state level is that they don't identify the level of expertise the class is geared to, such as beginner, intermediate or advanced. I am continually disappointed after paying $50-$60 and taking the time to attend only to find the workshop geared to the beginning genealogist. I know societies use these classes to encourage new members, but I wish they would consider the segment of their membership who would like an advanced offering or subject.

Because of this I have stopped attending most of the genealogy workshops and conferences in my area and have branched out to workshops or classes that will augment my research and writing skills and the proficiency in the tools needed to accomplish the work, but that are not geared to genealogy.

I've registered for a writer's workshop this fall where your work is critiqued by other writers, mostly in the area of local history.

I took an oral history workshop for professional historians.

I've taken an Adobe and Microsoft Word workshop at the University to help me become proficient with their programs.

I registered for a memoir writing workshop and a documentary workshop.

I recently had a digital camera workshop that focused on my Canon D20.

I've taken several classes at my local Apple store to learn to record on my iPod (oral history), use iMovie, iDVD, and to learn to podcast.

I've also registered for a FileMaker and Final Cut Express class.

The Seattle Public Library offers an advance class in evidence analysis for research that I've been looking into.

And, I took a framing and matting class so that I could put all those family photos to good use.

All of these are invaluable to my passion for genealogy and my family history research, but are not specifically genealogy classes.

Don't get me wrong I still check the monthly lists from the local societies and if there is something specific I have an interest in, I will attend.

Oh, and that family history I was going to complete by Christmas four years ago - please let me live long enough to finish!



Blogger Jasia said...

Aha! You're a professional student aren't you? I recognize the signs...

August 16, 2007 at 5:54 AM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

I've been caught! I am a professional student. It's a hedge against getting old. Keep the brain working - learn something new every day.


August 16, 2007 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger Untangled Family Roots said...

lol I know the feeling. I'm glad I started my search rather young, but I fear I will never finish, at the same time I'm proud of what I have accomplished.

I also agree with you about workshops. I don't find that they provide me with much that is new that I haven't already discovered. My problem is that my husband is a truck driver and I'm a mom of three small children. I can't take classes at our local college (could if I wanted to pay for daycare). Do you know of any great programs that are a reasonable cost that can be done on line? I especially need to make sure I am doing my documention correctly and need to improve my report writing skills I'm sure.


August 16, 2007 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Untangled Family Roots said...

Oh and I forgot. You've been tagged for a Life Balance Meme. Hopefully you haven't done this one here:

August 16, 2007 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Hi Amy:

Three small children, I remember those days.

Here are some online courses. I haven't taken them, but they are by respected names. Some are free, some cost.

BYU Genealogy Courses
Lesson 4 - Using your new knowledge
Use what you learned: This lesson will cover evaluating results (analysis of evidence), recording new information, and sharing new information with others.

BYU Independent Study

NGS American Genealogy:
A Home Study Course
Online Course

I highly recommend the new Elizabeth Shown Mills book, Evidence Explained for your documentation, it is absolutely brilliant.

Also the BOARD FOR CERTIFICATION OF GENEALOGISTS book, BCG Genealogical Standards Manual, for your report writing skills is a must as is their website:

Thank you for tagging me for the Life Balance meme, but I have already participated. It was titled "Life - Gotta Live It!" and can be found here:

If anyone can recommend a good online course, please post it for Amy. Or visit her blog Untangled Family Roots and leave a comment for her:

Good luck Amy!


August 17, 2007 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Janice said...


A very interesting article, and I love the links in the comment section. Who knew so many classes were offered for free on the internet!!


August 18, 2007 at 5:54 AM  
Blogger Sheri Fenley said...

Monterey Peninsula College has online classes in Family History taught by Karen Clifford. They are 3 unit classes and I highly reccomend them. The link is:

Sheri Fenley
Stockton, California

August 18, 2007 at 7:52 AM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

The internet is a wonderful place to hang out, but I must say the best thing about Monterey College is being there.

Carmel and Monterey are the most beautiful places on earth.

Sheri, thanks for the link and the recommendation.


August 18, 2007 at 9:32 AM  

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