Saturday, January 19, 2013

More on the Toughest Genealogy Course

Your tutors: William Litchman, Thomas W. Jones, Jay Fonkert, Stefani Evans, and Marke Lowe. Your task: figure out their genealogy puzzles, one a day, until the week ends and the 2013 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy closes shop until next January.

Last year I described the 2012 version of this Advanced Evidence Practicum as the toughest genealogy course I ever took, but now, after this second round (with different problems) I think it may be the toughest course I ever took in any subject. For me it re-emphasized the difference between being able to say what the right research step is, and being able to recognize the situation and do it in real time. It can be crushing to work for 23 1/2 hours and come to late-afternoon class discussion with 16 fellow students and the puzzle-poser, and learn how and where your research went off the tracks. But if genealogists can be mules, this two-by-four definitely gets their attention.

Some think that doing "speed genealogy" reinforces bad habits. Others say that getting prompt decisive responses to research mistakes will reinforce good habits. The course will be back for a third incarnation next year at SLIG, under the careful coordination of Angela McGhie and Kimberly Powell.

Meanwhile, a lot of potential variants on the practicum model are being discussed around the tables in Salt Lake City. Look for them -- and related approaches to advanced genealogy education -- to start popping up in the not too distant future.

Harold Henderson, "More on the Toughest Genealogy Course," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 19 January 2012 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]


Anne Gillespie Mitchell said...

It was a tough week, wasn't it? I thought it was well worth it.

Harold Henderson said...

I agree, Anne, but it may take me 51 weeks to recover! ;-)