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Registration opens Wednesday, February 20

So you didn’t make it to the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in January.

And you sat there the whole time watching people who share your interests learning new things and having fun… without you.

And you’re starting to feel distinctly left out of the camp-for-genealogists mindset…

Never fear. There are lots of options for expanding your genealogical education in 2019, and the first of this year’s “summer camp for genealogists” classes — two weeks of sessions at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) — will open for registration tomorrow, Wednesday, February 20, at 11 a.m.

GRIP is going into its eighth season this year, with two week-long sessions at LaRoche College in Pittsburgh (23-28 June 2019 and 14-19 July 2019). Co-directors Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, and Deborah Lichtner Deal have a terrific line-up of courses offering in-depth immersion for each of these sessions, and one of these is bound to be just what you’re looking for.

GRIP 2019Registration for both the June and July sessions opens on the same day — tomorrow, Wednesday, February 20 — but at different times. Registration for the June session opens at 11 a.m. (8 a.m. Pacific), registration for the July session opens at 1 p.m. Eastern (10 a.m. Pacific).

The Legal Genealogist’s own course, a brand-spanking-new course called Understanding and Using Legal Documents for Genealogical Research, is in the June session, and you’ll forgive me of course if I say I think it’s going to be simply terrific. With Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, and LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL, we’ll explore — up close personal and hands on!! — a wide variety of the legal records on which our genealogical proofs so often rest.

This is a practical course that combines single daily lectures for an overview of the substantive law we need for the day’s exercises with hands-on chances to work with actual case files, laws and records in the areas genealogists need most, such as family law (a juicy divorce!), and probate, and slavery, and land, and immigration. Each day will focus on a single topic, and we’ll review, analyze and interpret the records themselves. Did I mention hands-on yet? It’s going to be a great week…

If perhaps you’re looking for something a bit different, or the timing for that course doesn’t work for you, here’s what else is available in the two GRIP sessions in 2019:

June Session, 23-28 June 2019:

Advanced DNA Evidence
Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.

Do you want to take your DNA expertise to the next level? Are you interested in publishing genealogical conclusions that include DNA evidence? Do you need a refresher or want to learn about the latest developments in the world of DNA? Then this the course for you! In this course we will examine advanced applications of atDNA, mtDNA, X-DNA, and Y-DNA. We’ll also review new third-party tools, methodologies, and company tools. We will also discuss the role and application of DNA standards and the Genealogical Proof Standard and review the privacy and ethical issues related to DNA. Also during the week, we will work on a practicum-like case study in which you will try to solve the mystery before the end of the course! Throughout the week we will feed you new evidence for the case study, to help push you to the finish line! This will be an excellent opportunity to apply advanced DNA methodologies on a real-life case study.

From Confusion to Conclusion: How to Write Proof Arguments
Kimberly Powell

When the research is over, how do genealogists transform complexity of evidence into a coherent, understandable, written proof argument? This hands-on course will feature a variety of strategies, tools, and techniques for making data understandable in written form, as well as lectures and case studies from a diverse group of published authors demonstrating their strategies and methods for moving from disorganized evidence to a well-structured, convincing proof argument.

Diving Deeper into New England: Advanced Strategies for Success
D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

When encountering New England roots, you might come across rich treasures of previous research, compiled materials, and original records dating back to the early 1600s. Yet, despite these advantages, within the branches of our New England roots exist assumptions, errors, missing individuals, and incomplete information. Starting with the colonial period and moving to the 1850s, “Diving Deeper into New England” provides an in-depth look at New England research, specifically focusing on little-known and underused sources. Individual sessions provide a deeper historical and social context for New England research; discuss specific tools for key New England states, and present an overview of the research process through a variety of examples and case studies. In addition, discussions and hands-on sessions allow time for you to gain advice on your personal New England research from the course coordinator and other instructors.

Fundamentals of Forensic Genealogy for the 21st Century
Catherine B. W. Desmarais, CG; Kelvin Meyers; Michael Ramage, J.D., CG

Come explore your potential role in the fast-growing field of forensic genealogy. The instructors – all experienced, practicing forensic genealogists – will cover a broad spectrum of topics including the types of work in which forensic genealogists engage, skills in “reverse genealogy” (descendant research), work products, and an exploration of standards as they relate to forensic genealogy.

Irish Research Part I
David Rencher, AG, CG

Participants will acquire a solid foundation for their Irish research, whether just beginning, or they’ve been working at their Irish ancestry for some time. This class covers various Irish records from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Online resources as well as all the major Irish record repositories are covered in this in-depth look into the source materials available to identify and link your Irish families. This course is entirely different than Irish Research, Part II, presented in 2018.

Mastering the Art of Genealogical Documentation
Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG

Documentation lies at the heart of respectable genealogy. Without clear and complete citations to supporting sources no family compilation or report can be credible. Therefore, all serious genealogists document their work. Students taking this course will learn how to understand their sources well enough to describe them. Then they will learn how to apply that knowledge to crafting citations. This hands-on course will help students gain understanding of how to create conventional citations with artistry, clarity, completeness, conciseness, and competence.

Pennsylvania Germans and Research in the Keystone State
Michael D. Lacopo, DVM

Between 80,000 and 110,000 German-speaking immigrants arrived in the American colonies before the onset of the Revolution, with the port of Philadelphia being the favored port of disembarkation. “Pennsylvanians of German ancestry accounted for 50 to 60 percent of Pennsylvania’s population in 1760 and 33 percent in 1790.” These men and women became the illustrious “Pennsylvania Dutch” ancestors of many genealogists today.
This course focuses on the push and pull factors that brought these immigrants to America, what their lives were like, and how a deeper understanding of the social history of this immigrant group can make for a better researcher. Unique record groups specific to this ethnic migration will also be discussed. The Pennsylvania Germans were Germans first, and Pennsylvanians second, so understanding the wealth of information available in Pennsylvania records and repositories compromises a great deal of class time. ALL researchers with Pennsylvania roots prior to 1850 will benefit from the wealth of information gleaned in classes devoted to land records, church records, military record, courthouse records, and more.

Developing Digital Research Skills: Organize, Search, and Analyze
Cyndi Ingle

A prepared and organized genealogist is a productive genealogist. Similarly, a prepared and organized digital workspace is a productive research instrument for that genealogist. The Internet and computers of all types require an understanding of all the ways in which they can be used to take advantage of their maximum potential as exemplary research tools. The course will not directly address specific types of hardware and operating systems. Examples from the course coordinator will be given on a Windows laptop, but the intent is to demonstrate concepts for using technology within genealogical research. The focus will be on using computers and laptops, as well as tablets that can function as a small laptop replacement. We will begin the week with organizing our computers and digital filing. We demonstrate how to effectively search the Internet, online databases and records repositories. We learn the ins and outs of several popular, and necessary, repositories online. We will cover technology tools that enhance the research experience: spreadsheets, tables, timelines, maps, foreign language translation, etc. And then we will focus on the final product of a research plan or project – the output: photographs, scanning, web sites, blogs, and publishing. Each day will have scheduled time for students to work on their computers and put into practice everything learned that day.

July Session, 14-19 July 2019:

Advanced Italian Genealogy: Tools for Researching Difficult Ancestors
Melanie D. Holtz, CG

For an Italian and those of Italian descent, la famiglia or “the family,” has always been the most important social unit, putting focus on the family, the Church, and the community. Immigration to other countries was often the only means of providing for and protecting their families when jobs and opportunities were lacking. Starvation was a reality in the lives of many Italians prior to emigration, and it was a powerful motivator when it came time to decide whether or not to emigrate. They made great sacrifices so that we could have the lives we enjoy now. … If you’ve been working on your (or others) Italian genealogy for some time and want to deepen and expand upon the knowledge you have now, this is the course for you. It’s specifically designed for those who have a thorough grasp of basic concepts in Italian genealogy and want to learn about more advanced resources and research tactics.

Chromosome Mapping
Karen Stanbary, CG

“Chromosome Mapping” is designed for genealogists who have completed beginning DNA courses and wish to bring their research to the next level. The focus of the week is to assist the students to map their autosomal DNA, determining the specific ancestors who contributed to the participants own DNA, segment by segment. An integral component of this course is visual phasing, a technique to map the crossover points of a group of three siblings which facilitates the reconstruction of their grandparent’s genome. Participants will leave the course with atDNA analysis software installed with their own data and the skills needed for continuing analysis. Chromosome Mapping will be taught using Genome Mate Pro.

Digging Deeper: Records, Tools, and Skills
Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

Have you moved beyond the beginning stages of researching your family history? Maybe you have researched online but know there must be more to be done elsewhere or that you have missed some online resources? Do you need a firmer foundation before taking advanced or specialized courses? Are you not yet comfortable with in-depth evaluation of documents and setting up research plans? When we have checked the basic records and done online searches but still have blanks to fill in, we need to gain more leads and do a better job of analyzing the records. We will dig deeper into a variety of records, some that you may have never heard about, and where they may be accessed. During the week there will be several hands-on and interactive activities, small group discussions, and full class interaction. The class covers 19th through 21st century U.S. records, online resources, and methodology. A special aspect of this course involves receiving advice for your own research brick walls.

Elements of Genealogical Writing, Editing and Publishing
Melissa A. Johnson, CG

This course covers the principles of genealogical writing and teaches the skills needed for genealogists to turn their research into well-written genealogical works. Students will learn to develop genealogies, pedigrees, lineages, and proof arguments that meet standards in the field. Topics covered include editing and self-editing; technology tools for writing such as Scrivener and mind-mapping software; options for genealogical publishing in journals, magazines, newsletters, books and e-books; and specifics on self-publishing print and e-books. The course is suitable for genealogists who wish to learn about the genealogical writers market and acquire the skills necessary to become better genealogical writers.

Ontario and Quebec Research Before 1900
Kathryn Lake Hogan, UE, PLCGS

This is an intermediate level course for researchers with Canadian and/or French-Canadian ancestry in Ontario and/or Quebec. Many Americans throughout the United States have ancestors who came to Canada before migrating to America.

Practical Genetic Genealogy
Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.

DNA is an exciting new component of genealogical research that helps us explore and unravel our family mysteries. As the size of the genealogy DNA databases grows (currently more than 20 million people have tested!) our ability to examine genealogical questions using DNA evidence also grows. However, just like any other type of evidence, DNA test results do not magically solve our answers. It requires hard work and an understanding of DNA testing and results to ensure that we are properly interpreting the results and properly incorporating them into our documentary research. In this class you will learn from some of the best genealogists in the field of DNA evidence in a setting that allows for interaction, hands-on practice, and cooperative learning. Together we will examine the fundamental aspects of the different types of DNA evidence (atDNA, mtDNA, Y-DNA, and X-DNA), the benefits and limitations of ethnicity estimates, how to navigate the DNA testing company websites, and how to properly use the many third-party DNA tools that are available, among other topics. Throughout the course we will also introduce important themes such as DNA standards and the Genealogical Proof Standard, as well as privacy and ethical issues related to DNA.

Researching Your Mid-Atlantic Ancestors
Michael L. Strauss, AG

This course is envisioned to attract (both beginner and intermediate) genealogists who desire to learn more about their Mid-Atlantic ancestors and to get to know them personally by applying fundamental genealogy research methodology and instruction. Students will be asked to think critically about religious groups, members of society, the military, migration patterns, and a huge collection of primary records that have impacted American life within the borders of this region. The importance of teaching this course is to immerse the students fully into the geographic areas comprising the Mid-Atlantic states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and the District of Columbia by gaining an understanding of the terminology, and research methodology needed to give each student a solid foundation of what records are available from the earliest colonial period to the last century.

Tools & Strategies for Tackling Tough Research Problems
Kimberly Powell

This hands-on workshop/practicum for high-intermediate to advanced genealogists delves deeply into methodologies, strategies, and best practices for solving complex genealogical problems. The focus is on methodology rather than records, explored through a mix of lectures, interactive case studies, and applied learning opportunities. Since good research requires practice, this course will incorporate a variety of exercises and guided participation designed to help enhance your learning. We want you to go home feeling confident that you can apply what you have learned to your own tough research problems!

Because — as usual — this line-up is so solid, class space is going to go fast. If you want in, you need to be ready to go when registration opens Wednesday, February 20, at the time set for the session and class you want.

There are registration instructions on the website that you’re going to want to read through in advance so you can be ready to go when registration opens. But because a countdown timer has been installed on the registration page (here) which will go automatically at the “zero hour” to the registration management system you won’t have to watch the clock, hit refresh, or otherwise fear that you will miss the “opening bell.”

Good luck getting into the course you want!

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Get a GRIP for 2019,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 19 Feb 2019).

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