TWO Institute weeks are being offered in 2016, both in Pittsburgh at La Roche College: June 26 to July 1 and July 17 to 22. Click on the course title below to see the description of the 18 sessions in each course and their prerequisites (if any). The July week descriptions follow the June week descriptions.

Choose one of the courses to attend for the entire week. Each course consists of four lectures per day, except Friday which has two, finishing by lunch. The class lectures lead you deeper into the course topic and build your knowledge through presentations, discussions, and hands-on exercises. Some courses may have homework options and optional projects.

These six courses are scheduled for June 26 to July 1, 2016:

  • Mastering the Art of Genealogical Documentation with 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.
  • Fundamentals of Forensic Genealogy in the 21st Century with Cathi Desmarais, CG, Kelvin Meyers, and 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 the Genealogical Proof Standard as it relates to forensic genealogy. Throughout the week, students will research an actual case as a practicum, putting what they learn into practice immediately. Additional case studies also will be presented.
  • Family Archiving: Heirlooms in the Digital Age with Denise May Levenick
    Did you inherit the Family Bible? Or, were you tasked with emptying a family home filled with photos, documents, and memorabilia? Ancestral artifacts, whether found in private or public collections, can extend family trees, confirm kinship, and enrich family histories with social context and personal stories.This course will offer researchers of all skill levels guidance in understanding, preserving, and incorporating family collections in legacy family history projects:

    • Genealogists who inherit family collections and want to learn how to safely preserve artifacts, efficiently digitize and archive both digital and physical materials, and use heirlooms to enrich their family history.
    • Family historians with a project in mind seeking ways to enrich genealogical writing or visual projects with material culture and social history artifacts
    • Professionals interested in offering archival assistance to clients seeking help digitizing, organizing, and understanding the significance of family keepsakes
    • Society members responsible for the care and curation of small collections, including paper, photographs, memorabilia, and artifacts.

    Students will practice hands-on preservation, digitizing, and archival skills throughout the week using original artifacts, documents and photographs supplied by the instructor and/or the student. Students may also opt to work on individual archival projects with the instructor’s guidance. More information about recommended items and suitable projects will be sent by email.

    The course is designed as a workshop. Illustrated lectures and informative case studies will lay the foundation for new skills and techniques to be practiced in classroom and individual projects. Attendees are encouraged, but not required, to come to GRIP with the idea for an archival project; throughout the week they may develop a project plan and practice necessary skills, so they are ready to move forward when returning home.

  • German Research Resources with F. Warren Bittner, CG, and Baerbel Johnson, AG
    This intermediate German course will teach tools for finding places in Germany, and introduce a wide variety of records types: civil records, maps, online sources, land records, citizenship records, etc.
  • Pennsylvania: Research in the Keystone State with Sharon Cook MacInnes, Ph.D. and Michael D. Lacopo, D.V.M.
    We have designed our course for intermediate and above researchers who understand how the Genealogical Proof Standard forms the foundation for solid research but may not know much about Pennsylvania resources.  Our goal is to present a practical, in-depth, and fast-paced exploration of Pennsylvania record groups with a bit of fun and hands-on exercises thrown in.
  • Women and Children First with Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL
    The women of our families – mothers, sisters, wives – and the children they bore and raised comprise far more than just a hidden half of our families: women and children greatly outnumbered the menfolk. Yet they left fewer traces in the records and researching these family members effectively poses challenges for any genealogist. This course will begin to answer the question of why we should – and how we can – research women and children first.

These seven courses are scheduled for July 17-22, 2016 in Pittsburgh:

  • Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper with Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA.
    What’s the next step in your research and also your genealogy education? Have you moved beyond the beginning stages of researching your family history? 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 delve 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 some hands-on projects, small group discussions, and full class interaction as we develop research plans, delve into the records, and learn what may help to solve problems and fill in those blanks.
    Stuart-Warren focuses on unusual resources, manuscripts, methodology, and analyzing records. She researches across the U.S. and brings her experience into the class room. She encourages students to bring their own family history problems for brainstorming and discussion.  This gives a personal approach to the course which gives a solid foundation and fills in knowledge gaps
  • Advanced Research Methods with Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS
    Participants will develop advanced genealogical research, analysis, correlation and compilation skills. Hands-on activities, using original records, will enhance this learning. Examples are drawn from American states and colonies and European countries. Before the course begins participants will complete two pre-course reading assignments. Four homework assignments, providing opportunities for advanced skill development, are optional.
  • Practical Genetic Genealogy with Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., Patti Hobbs, Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, and Karen Stanbary.
    DNA test results can be confusing and their application to genealogy unclear. This course is designed to provide the in-depth knowledge needed by those who wish to analyze results and further research goals for themselves, their clients, or a surname project. These recognized experts in the field of DNA analysis will provide opportunities for practical, hands-on experience in analysis and correlation of DNA test results utilizing the latest tools and techniques and will give recommendations for further research.
  • Advanced Genetic Genealogy with CeCe Moore
    If you believe that you are ready to graduate from the basics of genetic genealogy and take the next step in genetic genealogy education, then this is the course for you. Be prepared for a fast-paced learning experience intended for the genealogist who has experience applying DNA testing to family history research and has a strong foundational understanding of genetic genealogy concepts.We will demonstrate and discuss methods used by expert genetic genealogists to get the most out of DNA results, utilizing all four types of DNA, in conjunction with documentary evidence to advance knowledge of an individual’s family tree. Genetic genealogy’s application to unknown parentage search will also be examined and resources explored for when unexpected results are encountered.  We will end each day with a discussion session to enhance and reinforce the day’s coursework.Upon completion of this course, students will have gained insight into how to take their own genetic genealogy research to the next level and what it takes to assist others in this pursuit.
  • Diving Deeper into New England: Advanced Strategies for Success with D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS
    When encountering New England roots, many find a rich treasure of previous research, compiled materials, and records dating back to the early 1600s. Yet, 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” will take an in-depth look at New England research, specifically focusing on little-known and underused sources.Individual sessions will provide a deeper historical and social context for New England research, provide specific tools for key New England states, and provide an overview of the research process through a variety of examples and case studies. In addition, optional homework assignments and discussion time will allow time for you to gain advice on your personal New England research with the course coordinator.
  • Researching in Italian Records with Melanie D. Holtz, CG
    Genealogical research in Italy is exciting and varied! A rather young country, Italy was formed by combining multiple city states during Italian Unification (1865-70). However, not all areas of current-day Italy were a part of this process and some were absorbed into Italy by treaty during the twentieth century. Understanding the history of this beautiful country is key to understanding what records will be found and what language they will be written in.
    This course will give you a solid understanding of Italian research and will expand your skills and reveal how to go beyond some of the basic record types. You’ll learn about genealogical evidence and information and how we can apply these concepts to the records of our ancestors. We’ll discuss adding cultural context to your family history and what to do when your research encounters an ancestor who was abandoned. Several case studies will be presented which will demonstrate genealogical methodology, as it applies to Italian research, and you will learn about some of the lesser-used resources that can be used to extend your family tree.
  • From Confusion to Conclusion: How to Write Proof Arguments with Harold Henderson, CG and Kimberly Powell
    When the research is over, what next? How do genealogists transform the three-dimensional complexity of evidence into a coherent, understandable, written proof argument? This course will include both:
  • lectures and case studies demonstrating how published authors analyze, correlate, resolve contradictions, and write, and
  • workshops providing hands-on practice with a variety of tools and techniques for making data understandable in written form. Those who choose can get daily feedback by having their work displayed and discussed on screen in class. The instructors’ approaches will also be up for critique.

This course will not have much to say about research or citations. This course will also not include a list of ironclad rules that guarantee the production of a convincing proof argument every time. There are no such rules. It will, however, include a healthy dose of tools, techniques, and strategies to assist with analysis, organization, and writing. It will also feature examples of a wide variety of published proof arguments where you may find a model for your own pesky problem.