In Their Words: Tools for Digging Deeper

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA, is the coordinator of the “Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper” course. With registration for the six July 16-21 courses opening on Wednesday, March 8 at Noon Eastern, you won’t want to miss out on this hands-on course that will walk you through many types of records and methods to advance your skills, overcome roadblocks, and fill in blanks after exhausting online databases. Not only that, but your submitted genealogy problems are discussed–and sometimes solved–in class!

Or as Paula tells it: “I am fortunate to have been a coordinator and instructor for the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) since it began in 2012. The course is one that was developed as a gateway for many of the other GRIP courses. It steps up your experience and knowledge and introduces you more deeply to 19th-21st century U. S. resources, analysis, and research. You aren’t just sitting and listening all week because there are interactive sessions designed to get the knowledge right into your brain. Delving further into resources such as vital records, state archives, court records, and periodicals and then improving citations, transcriptions, and using digital tools for organization will bring you light years ahead of other genealogists.

Unsure of your level of knowledge? We give personalized attention to those who need it. Beyond the intermediate level but need a refresher? We will reopen your eyes and mind, filling in knowledge gaps. I say “we” because a group of highly regarded instructors join me in this course: Melissa Johnson, CG, Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS, Debbie Mieszala, CG.

Your presence will add to a great week of learning, sharing, and fun. Yes, we have fun, too. The intermediate course students get to do some out-loud thinking and planning, have the chance to have their own research challenge worked on as a group, and will share in some other surprises.

On Monday, we do some research planning discussion based on documents presented to the class. Most are amazed at what they can contribute to the discussion as we analyze the documents and also at the great ideas others generate. Then we break into groups for analysis, research planning, and some minimal research on a document and the associated individuals. Oh, the twists and turns these can produce. Later in the week, the results of your group project are shared. Each group does have the same document, and the various insights are interesting.

Each student in this course will receive notice late this spring with guidelines for submitting a research problem for possible discussion with the entire class. Just imagine all the tips you will receive. Other students will hop on their computers and sometimes the issue is solved right in the classroom!  On Monday through Thursday when classes end at 4:00, is the time for the discussions on the student research problems. We end in time for dinner in the cafeteria.

While not required, it is suggested that you bring along a netbook, laptop, or electronic tablet for taking notes and for online research on the week’s projects. Read more about the course and specific sessions here

Other than teaching, what I value most about GRIP is the camaraderie that develops in this course and with everyone else. The cafeteria and the classroom are in the same building and are  air-conditioned. Right outside the cafeteria is a great space for gathering, reading your syllabus, or meeting with new friends. The dorms in the next building are just 50 steps from the classroom building. Yes, they are dorms (with ensuite bathrooms), but the price is right and to be that close to the classroom means I can sleep about 15 minutes more in the morning, can walk down the hall and see others who love genealogy, and have a roommate who will “talk genealogy.” If you need some quiet personal time, walk around the beautiful campus of La Roche College where GRIP takes place.”

To hear what a student of this course thought, view the 30 second interview here.



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2 Responses to In Their Words: Tools for Digging Deeper

  1. Pingback: March 8 is registration for the Genealogical Research of Pittsburgh’s July 16-21 week | Genealogy by Paula

    • GRIPitt says:

      Thank you, Paula! I wish I had this course around when I was an beginning and intermediate genealogist! And I hear the laughter coming from your classroom. Also I hear there is chocolate involved. Hmmmm!

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