SLIG 2016 Courses
Please read the course descriptions carefully, and take note of any prerequisites before accessing the registration page to select your course.  If your preferred course is full, you may sign up on the waiting list on this page.  Seats occasionally become available as last-minute changes in participant schedules occur.

Course 1: Intermediate U.S. Records and Research, Part II
Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

This beyond-the-basics two-year course provides in-depth learning on 19th - 21st century U.S. resources and the methodology for using them. Probe deeper into the content, origin, location, and interpretation of records. Informative and interactive classroom hours delve into significant records and strategies that take you beyond basic research tools both online and off. On-site Family History Library support and a computer lab from course instructors provide one-on-one assistance and guidance with your own research.

Suggested prerequisites: Experience researching in a variety of repositories, familiarity with and other family history websites, reviewing at least two basic genealogy guidebooks, and previous class room learning related to family history.

Note: These do not need to be taken in any particular order. Part I will be taught again in 2017 and includes hands-on dissecting a document and a class project; researching women; courthouse records, legal savvy; source citations; computer lab, land records; passenger arrival records; passports; WPA, National Archives, and genealogical and historical periodicals.


  Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA


  Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

  Debra S. Mieszala, CG

  D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

Course Outline:

  • General Class Information; From Clues to Records: Step-by-Step Planning (Stuart-Warren)

  • Vital Records – Strategies and Substitutes (Stuart-Warren)

  • Church Records: Locating and Excavating (Stuart-Warren)

  • Institutional Records: Extensive Family Details (Stuart-Warren)

  • Clustering and More: Maximizing Your Online Searches (Taylor)

  • Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Research: Resources, Methods, and Skills (Mieszala)

  • Computer Lab Projects at FHL (Stuart-Warren)

  • One-on-one consultations at FHL (Mieszala, Stuart-Warren, Taylor)    

  • US Census Records – Beyond the Basics: Non-Population and Special Schedules (Taylor)

  • More than Just People: Lessons and Hints from Public Directories (Taylor)

  • Step Away from the Computer: Exploring: State Archives (Stuart-Warren)  

  • The Grey and the Blue: Beyond Pensions (Stuart-Warren)

  • Optional time in classroom for groups to discuss their project

  • The Three Rs: Reading, 'Riting, and Research In School Records (Stuart-Warren)

  • Researching the Occupations of Our Ancestors (Stuart-Warren)

  • U.S. Passport Applications (Mieszala)

  • The Write Stuff: Family Histories with Substance and Appeal (Mieszala)

  • One-on-one consultations at FHL (Mieszala, Stuart-Warren)

  • Finding Family Gems in Manuscript Repositories and Special Collections: (Stuart-Warren)

  • Analysis, Discussion and Review of Group Research Projects (Stuart-Warren)

  • Wrap-up; Completion Certificates; Q&A  (Stuart-Warren)

Regular Price: $485.00 Member Price: $435.00 Seats Remaining: 8

Course 2: Researching New York: Resources and Strategies
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Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS

Research in New York is complicated by its urban-rural extremes and its 400-year, multi-ethnic history. This course tackles those complexities, arming the researcher with the knowledge needed for success in this difficult state. We will cover New York’s history as it impacts the researcher, and examine in detail the records that have been created and preserved. Broad topics include immigration/migration, laws and the legal system, military records, ethnic groups, vital records, land and property, urban research, turnpikes/canals/railroads, local government/institutional records, probate, newspapers, directories, censuses, and more.

Level: This class is geared toward intermediate and advanced level researchers. Attendees should have basic knowledge of genealogical methods and sources, and be ready to go beyond that base into the lesser-known methods and sources specific to successful New York research.


  Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS


  Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS

  Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

  Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

  Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

  Jane E. Wilcox

  Michael Hait, CG

Course Outline:

  • Researching New York: Introduction and Overview (K. Jones)
  • The New York Gateway: Immigration and Migration (Wilcox)
  • Estate Administration in New York: Laws and Records (Hait)
  • New York Land: Patents, Deeds, Land Companies, and the Military Tract (K. Jones)
  • Looking for Your New York Tenant Farmer: Little-Used Sources (Wilcox)
  • Urban Research (R. Sayre)
  • Workarounds to New York Record Shortages: Greenfield Examples (T. Jones)
  • New York’s Military Records (K. Jones)
  • “Dutch” New York: A Lesson in Flexibility (K. Jones)
  • Turnpikes, Canals, & Railroads (K. Jones)
  • Justice in the Empire State: Legal Records in New York (Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL)
  • Ask the Experts: Question and Answer Session (Panel: K. Jones, Wilcox)
  • Consultations (K. Jones, Wilcox)
  • Consultations (K. Jones, Wilcox)
  • Newspapers, Directories, and Censuses (K. Jones)
  • Joseph Johnson Chase: An Upstate New York Case Study (K. Jones)
  • Up the North River: An Overview of Pre-1800 Hudson Valley Ethnic Groups and Religions (Wilcox)
  • The Records of Institutions and Local Governments (K. Jones)
  • New York City and State Governmental Vital Records and Alternatives (Wilcox)
  • The Article Isn’t About Your Family? You Should Read It Anyway! (K. Jones)
Waiting List Signup Form

Course 3: Swing Across The South
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J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA and Kelvin Meyers

Join us for a swing across the South, while taking time to learn some specific research strategies, to focus on finding useful records, and applying them toward answering questions. This course will require developing a plan to answer questions and working together toward finding the answers.


Southern research requires a careful understanding of how records were created, and how they have been maintained since their creation. Consideration of lost or missing records will also be included. The approach this year will be more active, with more time spent looking at records. Each day will start with a developed plan, leading to wise record choices, continuing with the analysis of information, followed with properly cited discoveries, ending with a review of evidence and a summary of what was learned, while leaving a next step for tomorrow.   


We will definitely have some mull & ponder time, while discovering answers online and through traditional sources. There will be time to learn about basic records from AL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, SC, VA and even TN.


Update 3 November 2015:  Due to J. Mark Lowe’s current mobility issues, he will not be able to join the course physically in January.  Kelvin L. Meyers will be joining Mark as co-coordinator and will handle onsite management of the course.  The strong team of instructors will remain the same as will the topics being covered.  Mark will provide input remotely throughout the week and continue to work with this excellent team to assure a high level of instruction and a well-rounded course. We wish Mark a quick recovery.


  J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

  Kelvin Meyers


  Deborah Abbott, PhD

  Michael Hait, CG

  Kelvin Meyers

  Anne Gillespie Mitchell

Course Outline:

  • Essentials of the South (Meyers)

  • Strategies of the South (Mitchell)

  • Wills, Estates and Guardians (Abbott)

  • Maps, Atlases and Gazetteers (Hait)

  • Essential Land Issues (Meyers)

  • Essential Swing Through: VA/WV/KY (Abbott)

  • Essential Swing Through: NC/SC/TN (Mitchell)

  • Essential Swing Through: AR/LA/TX (Meyers)

  • Essentials of Church Records (Meyers)

  • Essential Swing Through: MS/AL/GA (Abbott)

  • Essential (Non-Military) Federal Records (Meyers)

  • Finding Records Through the South (Hait)

  • Learning about Neighbors, Family & Friends Through Manuscripts (Abbott)

  • People, Places and Connected Records (Abbott)

  • Essential Civil War Resources (Mitchell)

  • Farming and Other Occupations (Mitchell)

  • Follow a Case with Land (Abbott)

  • Letters, Claims, and Agencies - An Essential Review (Meyers)

  • Where Do I Go Next? Essential Search Skills (Mitchell)

  • Review, Recognition and Planning (Meyers)

Waiting List Signup Form

Course 4: Corpus Juris: Advanced Legal Concepts for Genealogy
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Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

This hands-on course offers students an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the rich research resources of the law, including those generally available only at law libraries. Students will work with legal records and sources, gaining a better grasp of legal history and its implications for research as well as the skills to find and apply the law to solve genealogical problems. Individual sessions will focus on specific legal disciplines (criminal, civil, naturalization and the like) and students will have the opportunity to visit and use the resources of a major university law library.

Prerequisites:  Students must have conducted onsite genealogical research at one or more courthouses and should be familiar with common court and probate records and with basic legal terminology. Completion of a basic course in genealogy and law (SLIG 2015, GRIP 2014) is recommended.


  Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL


  Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

  Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

  Blaine T. Bettinger, JD

  Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

  R. Lee Warthen, JD, MLS

  Rev. Dr. David McDonald, CG


Course Outline:

  • Introduction: An overview of legal systems and the records they produce (Russell)

  • Prestatehood Legal Research Tools and Strategies (Sayre)

  • Legal Research I: Understanding Statutes and Session Laws (Russell)

  • Probate Records (Jones)

  • Legal Research II: Appeals Courts and their Records (Russell)

  • Legal Research III: Digests and Records (Warthen)

  • Law Library I: Introduction to Law Library Resources (Warthen)

  • Law Library II: Hands On Exercises with Law Library Resources (Russell/Warthen)

  • Family Law Records:  In-Depth Review of the Scope of Family Records (Russell)

  • Family Law Records: Hands on Exercises (Russell)

  • Naturalization Records: In-Depth Review of Records and their Genealogical Uses (Bettinger)

  • Naturalization Records: Hands On Exercises (Bettinger)

  • Canon Law: When The Church Says Yes (or No) (McDonald)

  • In the Poor House: Legal Records of Debt (Russell)

  • The Law Writ Large: Understanding Common Law Writs (Russell)

  • Notarial Records: Understanding & Using Civil Law Records (Russell)

  • Criminal Records I: In-Depth Review of Records of Prosecutions (Russell)
  • Criminal Records II: Hands On Exercises (Russell)

  • Criminal Records III: Prisons, Pardons & Paroles (Russell)

  • Computerized Legal Research: Tips, Tricks & Resources (Russell)


Waiting List Signup Form

Course 5: Early U.S. Church Records
Rev. Dr. David McDonald, CG

Genealogists learn that there are more than one set of records, and multiple different approaches, to conduct effective research. The course will examine both theological underpinnings and the records created by churches, ministers, and denominations that can affect and impact on the genealogical work. Denominational “genealogy,” leading lights, naming patterns, cultural and behavioral impacts, in addition to church records as resources will be considered in this week-long learning experience. With the world’s largest collection of records within walking distance of the course, we will examine the utility of the records available, their use as substitutes for civil registration and vital records, and effective interweaving of the records into written narratives of a family’s record. Also examines churches “across the pond” in their European settings, and evaluates influences that helped shape denominational thinking and record-keeping processes.

We will consider the theological influences impacting on the particular denominations, along with religious practices and cultural attitudes which may prevail amongst various groups and bodies. Homework will be featured three evenings.


  Rev. Dr. David McDonald, CG



  Rev. Dr. David McDonald, CG

  Michael D. Lacopo, DVM

  Lisa Parry Arnold

  F. Warren Bittner, CG

Course Outline:

  • Overview: Christian Churches & Perspectives (McDonald)

  • Religion in America from the Colonial Era to the Mid-20th Century  (McDonald)

  • Catholicism: "Papists" to Mainstream Americans  (McDonald)

  • Granddaddy of Them All: Roman Catholic Parish Registers (at FHL)  (McDonald)

  • Episcopalians/Anglicans Punching Above Weight for Centuries  (McDonald)

  • Religious Society of Friends: The Quakers and Their Records (Arnold)

  • Presbyterians: Calvin, Knox & Predestination…Slavery & Scots-Irish (McDonald)

  • Puritans & Pilgrims: The Congregational Way and Missionary Workers  (McDonald)

  • Lutherans: European Influences and American Denominationalists  (McDonald)

  • Mennonite Research: The Forgotten Swiss Germans (Lacopo)

  • Huguenots & Dutch Reformed or New Amsterdam becomes New York  (McDonald)

  • Case Study: Illegitimacy & Parish Registers (McDonald)

  • Using Religious Newspapers and Periodicals (Lacopo)

  • Jewish Practices & Records (McDonald)

  • Christian Church/Disciples of Christ and Restorationist Impulses (McDonald)

  • Methodists & Methodism From Wesley to Slavery to Merger (McDonald)

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: History & Records (Bittner)

  • Baptists: Northern, Southern & Seventh-Day (McDonald)

  • Case Study: Using Church Records to Make the Connections (McDonald)

  • The Post-Modern Religious Landscape (McDonald)


Regular Price: $485.00 Member Price: $435.00 Seats Remaining: 6

Course 6: Advanced Research Tools: Land Records
Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA and Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA


Land genealogy is as important as people genealogy for overcoming family history research barriers. This course explores land distribution in the current United States by colonial powers, private land claims, federal land records at both the National Archives and the General Land Office, and local-level county or town deeds. Students will learn about the Public Land Survey System and the metes and bound system. Course content illustrates the use of land records to prove kinship. Use of software and Internet resources for finding land records, mapping, and deed platting is demonstrated and practiced in hands-on computer labs.


  Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG ,CGL, FUGA, and

  Richard G. “Rick” Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA



  Angela Packer McGhie

  Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

  Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

  Richard G. “Rick” Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

Course Outline:

  • Overview of Land Division in the United States (R. Sayre)

  • State Land States (P. Sayre)

  • Federal Land Division (R. Sayre)

  • All About Deeds (P. Sayre)

  • Land Entry Files: Federal Land Records at NARA (McGhie)

  • Private Land Claims at NARA and Elsewhere (P. Sayre)

  • BLM Website (R. Sayre)

  • Computer Lab (P. Sayre and R. Sayre)

  • Land Division in Ohio & Other Unique Areas (R. Sayre)

  • Records of the General Land Office: A Guide (TransMississippi West guide) (R. Sayre)

  • Deed Platting (2 hours) (P. Sayre and R. Sayre)

  • Deed Platting (continued)

  • Land Ownership Maps (R. Sayre)

  • Land Records in the Serial Set, ASP, and Territorial Papers (R. Sayre)

  • Using Federal Land Tract Books (McGhie)

  • Computer Lab (P. Sayre and R. Sayre)

  • Buying the Farm… or Selling, Mortgaging, Inheriting It (Russell)

  • Homestead Records (R. Sayre)

  • U.S. Military Bounty Lands (R. Sayre)

  • Reports on Class Projects (P. Sayre and R. Sayre)

Regular Price: $485.00 Member Price: $435.00 Seats Remaining: 1

Course 7: Beginning Genetic Genealogy
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Blaine T Bettinger, JD, PhD

This course provides genealogists with the knowledge needed to correctly incorporate DNA results into their family history. Beginners will receive foundational knowledge in the basics needed to understand the application of genetics for genealogical research purposes. Those with prior knowledge of DNA will add to their current understanding and receive an introduction to tools and techniques with real-life examples and practical, hands-on exercises.

The course will use real-life genetic results and family histories to demonstrate DNA inheritance patterns, how to analyze DNA test results, and how to correlate that analysis with traditional documentary research to arrive at soundly reasoned genealogical conclusions. A discussion of biology will provide baseline information needed to fully understand DNA results used for genealogical purposes without spending time on discussions more useful to biologists than genealogists. Attendees should be able to use their knowledge and current tools to analyze Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), autosomal DNA (atDNA), and X-DNA test results, as appropriate for any given kinship theory, as positive or negative evidence to correlate with the documentary evidence from traditional research.


There are no prerequisites for this course, although to get the most out of the course students are VERY strongly encouraged to have tested at least autosomal DNA with one or more of the three testing companies (23andMe, AncestryDNA, and/or Family Tree DNA). Students should also consider uploading their raw data to the free third-party site GEDmatch (, although this is not required.


  Blaine T. Bettinger, JD, PhD



  Blaine T. Bettinger, JD, PhD

  Angie Bush, MS

  CeCe Moore

Course Outline:

  • Introduction and Basic Genetics (Bettinger)

  • Company Offerings and Comparisons (Bettinger)

  • Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) (Bettinger)

  • X-DNA (Angie Bush)

  • Y-DNA (Bettinger)

  • Advanced mtDNA and Y-DNA (Bettinger)

  • Introduction to Autosomal DNA (Bettinger)

  • Developing a DNA Testing Plan (Bush)

  • Biogeographical Estimates (Moore)

  • Chromosome Mapping (Moore)

  • Adoption/Unknown Parentage (Moore)

  • High Profile Cases and Media Work (Moore)

  • DNA and the GPS (Bettinger)

  • Third-Party Tools (Bettinger)

  • Triangulation Tools and Apps (Bush)

  • DNA Case Studies (Bush)

  • Client Reports and Logistics of DNA Consulting (Bettinger)  

  • The Ethics of DNA Testing (Bettinger)

  • Genetic Genealogy Education (Bettinger)

  • The Future of Genetic Genealogy (Bettinger)


Waiting List Signup Form

Course 8: Advanced DNA Analysis Techniques For Genealogical Research
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Angie Bush, MS

This course is intended for the genealogist who has a thorough understanding of genetic genealogy basics and has experience applying DNA testing to family history research. This is the next step in genetic genealogy education, with a focus on preparing professionals and others to work on genetic genealogy cases and strengthen the skills of those who are already doing so.

This course will examine the methods used by expert genetic genealogists to thoroughly and accurately analyze DNA testing results to advance knowledge of an individual’s genealogy. Instruction will include complex case studies that incorporate multiple types of DNA testing results, analyzed in conjunction with documentary evidence, as well as cases where DNA test results are the primary resource, such as in unknown parentage cases. Coursework will include analyzing and comparing DNA testing data from all of the companies offering products to the genealogy community with explanations and demonstrations of the most valuable features and tools for the genetic genealogist working with large amounts of data. Through active participation in and completion of this course, the genealogist will gain essential skills for integrating DNA testing with traditional genealogy research on an advanced level.


This class will move very quickly and assume attendees have an excellent understanding of many foundational concepts. In order to register for this course, you must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Completion of Genetic Genealogy course offered through GRIP in 2014 or 2015

  • Completion of Advanced Genetic Genealogy course at the Forensic Genealogy Institute in 2015*

  • Completion of the Getting Started with Genetic Genealogy course offered at SLIG in 2015

  • Completion of the Genetic Genealogy using DNA course offered on the Heritage Books Genealogy Conference & Cruise in 2015

* The focus in this course was specific to adoption and unknown parentage, and not genealogical research. The course offered by SLIG will be heavily focused on application of DNA testing to genealogical research, with much less focus on adoption and unknown parentage.

Alternately, you may write an essay detailing why you should still be allowed to take the course. This option assumes that you have completed all three of the following:

  • DNA testing - you must have completed or had a family member complete all three types of DNA testing (yDNA, mtDNA and atDNA). In the case of the direct line tests, you must be a member of the corresponding surname and/or haplogroup projects. You do not need to administer a surname or haplogroup project.

  • Testing Companies - You or a close family member and/or client must have completed autosomal DNA testing with two of the three major companies. These companies are AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA and 23andMe. You should be very familiar with the web interfaces for these companies.

  • You must be actively using DNA as a "record type" in solving a question of a genealogical nature. This question can be for your own genealogical research or for that of a client.

Process for notifying us of completion of prerequisites:  Please email the SLIG Registrar <> with which prerequisite you meet or plan to meet within 14 days of registration. If you do not do this, your place in this course may be released to those on the waiting list. If you will be submitting an essay, in addition to notification of intent, your essay should be submitted to the same address within 30 days of registration. If you submit intent to attend a course scheduled in the future, please send us a followup email when you have completed that course.


  Angie Bush, MS



  Angie Bush, MS

  Blaine Bettinger, JD, PhD

  Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

  Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL

Course Outline:

  • Course Welcome; Understanding DNA Testing Plans

  • Genetic and Biological Concepts Relevant to Genetic Genealogy

  • Autosomal DNA Fundamentals

  • Advanced Concepts in Y-DNA Testing (Full Sequencing/Big-Y)

  • Understanding Mitochondrial and X-Chromosome DNA

  • DNA and the GPS

  • Effective Use of Surname and Haplogroup Projects

  • Admixture and Ethnicity Estimates

  • GEDMatch: Using Advanced Options and Tier 1 Tools

  • Third Party Tools (excluding GEDMatch)

  • Company Matching Algorithms

  • Ethical Considerations and Genetic Genealogy Standards

  • DNA Testing and Unknown Parentage/Adoption (2 sessions)

  • Application of DNA Testing to 18th and 19th Century Research Questions (2 Sessions)

  • Chromosome Mapping (2 Sessions)

  • Triangulation

  • The Future of Genetic Genealogy

Waiting List Signup Form

Course 9: Solving Problems Like a Professional
Michael Hait, CG

This course will discuss the genealogical proof standard, focusing on processes used by successful professional genealogists. The course will teach means of efficient project management to achieve reliable results.

Required Textbook: Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards (2014). Students should familiarize themselves with chapter 1 (pp.1–3) prior to the first class.

A multi-part assignment extending over several days will allow students to apply what they have learned to a problem of their own. Skills tested will include analyzing a research problem and past research, creating a research plan, identifying and obtaining records, and analyzing records for evidentiary value.


  Michael Hait, CG



  Catherine Becker Wiest Desmarais, CG

  Paul K. Graham, AG, CG

  Melanie Holtz, CG

Course Outline:

  • Introductions & Discussion of Overnight Assignment

  • Defining and Analyzing the Research Problem (Hait)

  • Reviewing and Digesting Previous Research (Desmarais)

  • Research Planning: Identifying the First Steps & Expanding the Scope of Research (Graham)

  • Research Calendars and Source Citation (Desmarais)

  • Using Finding Aids and Derivative Sources to Locate [Offline] Records (Holtz)

  • Conducting Research Online (Desmarais)

  • Using Subcontractors as Search Agents (Holtz)

  • Defining “Reasonably Exhaustive” With Limited Time and Money (Graham)

  • Single Document Analysis (Hait) [In-Class Exercise]

  • Correlating Information from Two or More Documents (Hait)

  • Recognizing Relevant Indirect and Negative Evidence (Hait)

  • Resolving Conflicting Information When Records Don’t Agree (Holtz)

  • Research Planning: Next Steps & Making Adjustments (Holtz)

  • Research Reporting: Organizing Research Results in Writing (Desmarais)

  • Research Reporting: Complex Problems and Solutions (Part 1) (Graham)

  • Establishing Proof: When is Enough Enough? (Hait)

  • Research Reporting: Data Visualization (Hait)

  • Research Reporting: Complex Problems and Solutions (Part 2) (Hait)

  • Assignment Review & Certificates (All) [2 sessions]      


Regular Price: $485.00 Member Price: $435.00 Seats Remaining: 5

Course 10: Advanced Genealogical Methods
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Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Students in Advanced Genealogical Methods will learn how to use and assemble evidence to rediscover ancestral origins, identities, and relationships that have been forgotten in the passage of time. The course will address advanced use of evidence from a variety of genealogical records and research in populations for which the usual records are in short supply (including female, enslaved, and impoverished ancestors). Students also will learn how to develop written proof summaries to show their conclusions’ accuracy and create a credible record of their findings for present and future generations of family historians.



This intense course is targeted to “high intermediate” genealogists who have completed an intermediate-level methodology course or who have equivalent experiences, and whose research includes original land and probate records or digital or microfilmed images of land and probate records.



  Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS


  Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL

  Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

  Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA


Course Outline:

  • Introductions; Developing an Evidence Orientation (Jones)

  • Developing Research Questions and Hypotheses; Planning an Exhaustive Search (Jones)

  • Archival Research (P. Sayre)

  • Federal Research: Government Documents (R. Sayre)

  • Homework 1 (Gov Docs) (R. Sayre)

  • Military and Pension Records Strategies: Analysis, Interpretation, and Correlation (R. Sayre)

  • Transcribing, Abstracting, Extracting, Quoting, and Documenting Sources (Jones)

  • Census, Census-Substitute, and Name-List Strategies: Analysis, Interpretation, and Correlation (Jones)

  • Probate Strategies: Analysis, Interpretation, and Correlation (Jones)

  • Homework 2 (transcribing) (Jones)

  • Local Land Records: Analysis, Interpretation, and Correlation (Jones)

  • Tax Roll Strategies: Analysis, Interpretation, and Correlation (Jones)

  • Bringing Law to Bear on Complex Genealogical Problems (Russell)

  • Special Problems I: Identifying Landless, Enslaved, Peasant, and Other Impoverished Ancestors (Jones)

  • Homework 3 Assignment (Cammack case) (Jones)

  • Special Problems II: Finding Immigrant and Migrant Origins (Jones)

  • Special Problems III: Identifying Female Ancestors (Jones)

  • Federal Land Records: Analysis, Interpretation, and Correlation (R. Sayre)

  • Resolving Conflicting Evidence (Jones)

  • Homework 4 (Buss case) (Jones)

  • Rural and Urban Map Strategies: Analysis, Interpretation, and Correlation (R. Sayre)

  • Correlating Sources, Information, and Evidence to Solve Genealogical Problems (Jones)

  • Writing Genealogy (Jones)

  • Continued Advancement (Jones)

Waiting List Signup Form

Course 11: Writing A Quality Family Narrative
John Philip Colletta, PhD, FUGA


You’ve gathered a lot of information about your ancestors. Now it’s time to tell their stories. Using vivid examples and case studies, this course demonstrates how to compile your material; write biography; choose a numbering system; document, edit and proofread your text; and publish the saga of your family - on paper or electronically. Classes explore how to enliven your prose with family lore, treasured heirlooms, local history, maps, and illustrations.

One in-class writing exercise with follow-up critique helps you improve practical skills, share your talents, and exchange ideas with the instructors and fellow students.


  John Philip Colletta, PhD, FUGA


  Michael Hait, CG

Course Outline:

  • Welcome and Orientation; Preliminaries: What, Why, How, and For Whom Are You Writing? (Colletta)

  • Turning Biographical Facts into Real Life Events (Colletta)

  • Principles of Good Writing and Good Storytelling (Colletta)

  • Evidence from Material Culture: Using Artifacts in Researching & Writing About Ancestors (Colletta)

  • In-class writing exercise (Colletta)  

  • Writing for Scholarly Journals; Lineage Presentation and Numbering Systems (Hait)

  • Editing and Proofreading (Hait)

  • In-class Writing/Editing Exercise (Hait; 2 periods) 

  • How to Create a Narrative of Biographical Facts (Colletta)

  • Documentation: It's Important for Readers, Researchers... and the Author, too! (Colletta)

  • Using Newspapers & Cartographic Materials for Historical Context (Colletta)

  • Evaluating Evidence and the Genealogical Proof Standard (Hait)

  • Creating a Genealogy or Family History on a PC (Hait)

  • Electronic Venues for Publishing Genealogy and Family History (Hait)

  • Publishing Your Genealogy or Family History as a Paper Book (Colletta)

  • In-Class Critique and Discussion of Writing Exercise, Part 1 (Colletta)

  • In-Class Critique and Discussion of Writing Exercise, Part 2 (Colletta)

  • Writing a Quality Family Narrative: The Pitfalls and Snares (Colletta)

  • The Larger Literary Possibilities of Family History (Colletta)

Regular Price: $485.00 Member Price: $435.00 Seats Remaining: 4

Course 12: Problem Solving
Luana Darby, MLIS

Have a brick wall in your research? This unique problem solving course is tailored to your individual research needs! Enhance your problem solving skills while working on your ancestral brick walls. Develop methodology, analysis, and research skills while focusing on your own project, using resources from the Family History Library.

Students will be divided into small groups by geographic regions or countries and will meet as a group for two hours each day to review research progress (with one to two professional consultants, depending on group size). To assure more cohesive groups, focus areas have been pre-selected. Fee shown includes regular tuition plus a consultant fee.

Student involvement in problem solving requires commitment and advance preparation. It is divided into two parts:

Pre-Institute: Choose a project focus, ancestor, time period, geographical area, and research questions. Project submission can include timeline, pertinent pedigree and family group sheets, research logs, maps, and a short research summary, detailing what is known information and a discussion of sources used in previous research. Assigned consultants will return an initial analysis of the student's proposed research on Sunday at Institute.

Institute: Under guidance from professional consultants, student's will use a group collaborative approach to discuss research progress each day, utilizing the combined knowledge and experience of the group to solve problems.

Please note that shuttles do not run during the regular part of the day and student may be on their own for transportation to the FHL for research. It is a two-block (Salt Lake City block) walk.

Geographic research focus areas:

  • New England (FULL)

  • Southern United States



  Luana Darby, MLIS


  Craig Scott, CG (Southern states)

  Paul Graham, AG, CG (Southern states)

  Ruy Cardoso, CG (New England)


Please Note: This course will hold its first meeting on Sunday, 10 January at 4:00 pm.



Regular Price: $550.00 Member Price: $500.00 Seats Remaining: 2

Course 13: Advanced Evidence Practicum
Angela Packer McGhie, CG

This hands-on experience is an opportunity for advanced genealogists to challenge themselves and put their research skills into practice. Participants work on five complex genealogical research problems—a new one each day. The objective is to give students experience in conducting research on complex problems, analyzing and correlating information, and reaching conclusions. Participants will practice using indirect evidence, broadening research to include the FAN club, resolving conflicts, and organizing evidence into a written summary. The research problems are varied, offering students the challenge of stretching their mind and skills in directions that their research may not normally take them.

Participants will work individually on the each of the cases and then gather to discuss their progress with fellow classmates and the instructor. They will compare sources, strategies and methodologies, discuss difficulties encountered, and receive guidance from the case study author. This course is designed for advanced genealogists who have sufficient experience and education to work on complex genealogical problems.

Please Note: This course will hold its first meeting on Sunday, 10 January at 4:15 pm.


The 2016 cases will be presented by:

Nancy Peters, CG

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Nancy A. Peters, CG, is a full-time genealogist specializing in South Carolina and southern U.S. research. Board-certified since 2011, she serves as a BCG trustee and editor of OnBoard, the BCG newsletter. She also volunteers as a collection care assistant in the conservation lab at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History in Columbia. Her articles published in the NGS Quarterly and the UGA Crossroads magazine focused on establishing parentage using complex evidence analysis.


Paul Graham, AG, CG

Paul K. Graham, ag, cg, is a genealogist at Ancestry. He holds a master’s degree in heritage preservation and is the author of several books and articles, primarily related to the state of Georgia. His work has been recognized with multiple awards, including the ASG Scholar Award and as winner of the NGS Family History Writing Contest. His television research credits include African American Lives (2006) and Who Do You Think You Are? (2012-2015).


Michael Hait, CG


Michael Hait, CG, is a full-time professional genealogical researcher, writer, and lecturer. He has written case studies for several genealogical journals including the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. In 2012 Michael won 1st prize in the National Genealogical Society Family History Writing Competition for his article “In the Shadow of Rebellions,” exploring descendants of an enslaved woman living in 19th-century Maryland. Michael currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (2013–2016), and formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists (2012–2013).


Cathi Becker Desmarais, CG


Catherine Desmarais, CG, is the current vice-president of the Association of Professional Genealogists. In addition to family history research, Cathi completes U.S. Army military repatriation cases, locates missing and unknown heirs for law firms and title insurance companies. Her work has given her broad U.S. and international experience, with a particular emphasis on Ireland, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. She has taught at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh, and the Forensic Genealogy Institute.


Angela Packer McGhie

Angela McGhie.jpg

Angela Packer McGhie has focused her career in genealogy education. She is a course coordinator at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University, and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She has been an instructor at the National Institute for Genealogy Research in Washington, D.C., and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. Angela served as the administrator of the ProGen Study Program from 2008-2014 and is now on the board of directors.

Regular Price: $485.00 Member Price: $435.00 Seats Remaining: 1