Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy's new milestone

Last week's 2012 one-week session of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy saw the completion of the first iteration of a new kind of advanced genealogy education. Five top people in the field, all credentialed, each presented an unpublished problem that they had solved, provided some of the evidence, and challenged their students to piece together the same puzzle.

Faculty were Kory L. Meyerink, Thomas W. Jones, Karen Mauer Green, David Ouimette, and Jim Ison, with Angela McGhie coordinating. The problems were all over the map, including immigrants from Germany, France, and Quebec. Diehard Midwesterners were pleased to find that one ranged all over the heartland.

The methods involved were equally various and intricate; nowhere have I seen the details of the research process probed as thoroughly as here. The problems were hard and the time was short with a new problem given every day. I can't give particulars, as we were sworn to secrecy, but at least one of the five will soon be published.

Even though everyone agreed that it was more important to approach the problem right than to solve it, few of us could avoid wanting to work all hours and race to the finish . . . which is not a research strategy, or at least not a good one. Even those of us who suffered hours of frustration in the library and on the internet enjoyed the give-and-take in the classes afterwards, where we could discuss exactly what worked and what didn't.

The course will be offered again at SLIG 2013, with new problems. Anyone who has taken an advanced methods course, or has experienced the equivalent, should give it some thought -- and be sure to get plenty of sleep the week before! (And if you want a day-by-day story of such a course, check out Susan Farrell Bankhead's blog posts on Jones's advanced course this year.)

1 comment:

N. LaRue said...

Harold, thanks for the info regarding the Practicum. I wasn't aware that you received a new problem from different people every day. So you only had one day to work on each one! That's really something! Congrats for making it through :)