For years, I've been hearing about how wonderful this conference is. People come in from all over the world to attend. It's set up so you choose a specific "track" and spend the week focusing on one area, and learning from best researchers for that locale. It's like boot camp for genealogists, or so I've been told.
Additionally, classes are taught in the evening and open to all for a mere $10 each.
It's a great opportunity, and a great value. Nonetheless, the registration fees are a bit steep for my limited budget, so I've never been able to go.
But this year, UGA has introduced a blogging contest and the random winner will earn a tuition waiver.
Not only is SLIG a great educational opportunity for me, but let's be honest, the change in routine would provide a much needed vacation for me. (Much needed, how about desperately needed!) (Yes it is that bad that a week at a conference, 30 miles from my home, with nights still spent at home would be a vacation for me.)
So the question is not really whether or not I want to go, but which of the wonderful 12 tracks I'd choose if I were able to go.
1: American Research and Records: Focus on Families
The first track is American Research and Records-an "intermediate level course...on 19th-21st century U.S. sources and the methodology for using them." I always like classes that discuss lesser-used records, as much for the inspiration and reminders of what to search as for the instruction on them. But for most of the time period discussed, my family were all in Utah, an area I'm already pretty familiar with. Again, record-types are good, and hubby's family wasn't here yet. But it's also so generic that I'm not sure which project I'd pick for my project-time/apply-what-you-learned research time.
2: Advanced New England Research
The second track is actually full already, so I probably couldn't go to it anyway, but its on Advanced New England Research, with Josh Taylor heading up the instruction. And it covers 1620-1850, with a focus on 1620-1781. I LOVE Josh's classes! (he's also teaching some classes in the first track). As I mentioned in an earlier post, My husband has been talking lately about needing to get to work on his Family History, which was all the motivation I needed to start diving into his family again. He has several New England roots, and its not an area I've ever paid attention to before, despite having some lines there too. The time period is perfect for what I'd need as well. The "Advanced" is a bit intimidating since I haven't researched in the area before but I think I could manage it, given my overall experience.
3: Welsh Research
The third track is Welsh Research, headed up by Darris Williams, another favorite instructor of mine. I do have some Welsh roots, but they've always been a low priority for me (right down there with my NE ancestors). I'm not sure I'm ready to move them up the line right now, but I couldn't think of a better excuse. There is no time period given. But one of the classes is on Civil Registration, which of course (Murphy's Law) didn't start until after my family emigrated, so I wonder how many other of the classes may be out of my time range.
4: Swedish Research
My Swedish roots were some some of the last to immigrate. Consequently, any cultural traditions or stories that have managed to survive the generations have come from this line, and have peaked my interest. I've started diving into this area a couple times, even trying to teach myself Swedish at one point, but I've never gotten very far so I could really use the help. The question would be whether or not I could handle the foreign language research in my present and chronic sleep-deprived, mentally-exhausted state.
5: Research in the Midwestern United States.
This is another one that interests me more because of my recent activity with my husband's lines. They were all over the map, but many of them spent a lot of time in the Midwest, and in several cases, this is where the brick-walls lie. This track is also full of wonderful teachers and really excites me.
6: Genealogy Software and Research Tools
Ok, this one doesn't excite me nearly as much, but since I've included every other class so-far, I hated to break the streak. It definitely seems to have some awesome classes included in it, such as using GenSmarts (which I've been in love with since it first came out, but am a few releases behind on), and Mobile Apps, which does me no good since I still have a dumb phone.
7: Principles of Effective Genealogical Librarianship
Another "not so much" one. Despite my boss's best efforts, and the fact that I work with books day-in and day-out, and enjoy doing so, and enjoy being in the library, I'm not a librarian. (Wait, why aren't I????). A lot of great classes, such as Newspaper Research Techniques, and various internet resources, and a Digitization Projects and Issues class that I'd love to be a fly on the wall for, But still... (This is the disadvantage to "tracks" I'd love to hop over for a a couple of these classes while enjoying another track for the ones that wouldn't apply)
8: Beyond the Library: Using Original Source Repositories
Pro: A field trip to the Utah State Archives! Con: Once they got me there, they probably wouldn't get me out. If ever I'm tempted to play hookey from life and grab some alone time for myself, this is where I dream of going. Well this and a tropical, semi-deserted island. But the Utah Archive is slightly more accessible. However, if I had the money to visit any other source repositories, I'd also be paying my way to SLIG. :) (Or visiting that tropical island...why couldn't my ancestors be from the Caribbean? Instead of the equally beautiful, but much colder lands of the British Isles and Scandinavia)
9: Advanced Genealogical Methods
What Genealogist couldn't use this, especially one at my intermediate skill level. That's probably the reason the class is full already.
10: Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum
Same as above, but this one is for even more advanced genealogists, so is probably above my level, but could be fun, if they manage to find room for more people, which they're working on.
11: Advanced Research Tools: Land Records
Another already full class that may be overwhelming but fabulous, and definitely something I need, especially since it includes internet resources for land records. You know I LOVE internet research!
12: Problem Solving
Help getting through brick-walls. YES! But which brick-wall would I pick?!?!?!
See why the decision is so difficult! And I didn't even list all the classes within each track for you. You really should hop over to the UGA or SLIG websites and learn more.
Out of the classes that still have room in them, I'm still kind of leaning towards Track 5, Midwestern States. Not only have my husband's ancestors in this area started calling out to me lately, but they are some of the closest brick-walls to us time-wise, so theoretically, they should be the easiest ones to break-through. It's also where there seems to be the most movement so I could definitely use the help tracking them.
Or if your budget is as strapped as mine, I'd definitely recommend you check into a UGA membership. Only $35 a year (with discounts for family, or extended memberships), which first of all saves you $50 on tuition to SLIG, but also provides you with a subscription to the UGA magazine "Crossroads" As well as access to training materials and members-only activities, among other things. Does it get any better than that?