I just completed another week of intense instruction at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG). This was my second year. (See last year’s blog post here.) I attended Introduction to Genetic Genealogy taught by Paul Woodbury , who was assisted by DNA experts Angie Bush, Karen Stansbury, and Gretchen Jorgensen. Paul is a DNA team leader at Legacy Tree Genealogists.
The course was exactly what I needed. It’s helping me better organize and analyze all my DNA matches. I have personal DNA results from AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, and MyHeritage – and also manage the kits of family members at FamilyTreeDNA – so it can be confusing trying to pull it altogether. Not only is my knowledge of each of these three testing companies, along with 23andMe, much stronger, but I also better understand how to use third-party tools such as GEDmatch, DNAGedcom, GeneticAffairs, and DNAPainter. I had fairly extensive experience with GEDmatch, but almost no experience with the other three.
One cool thing that I now have a better handle on is Visual Phasing. That’s comparing the DNA of yourself and several siblings to find out what percentage of DNA each of you inherited from your four grandparents. I’ll be working on that over next few weeks and hope to report the results.
At the Friday night silver-anniversary banquet, the Utah Genealogical Association announced the course schedule for next year.
My immediate reaction was to focus on three choices for next year:
- Rick Sayre’s Advanced Land Tools: Maps
- Josh Taylor’s Mastering Online Searches
- Paul Milner’s Pre-1837 English Research
I’m honestly not sure which I will choose, but can’t imagine not returning to Salt Lake City again. Not only are you attending a five-day course with preeminent family history experts, but the greatest genealogical library in the world is just down the street – literally within walking distance. So it’s typically a week of great instruction, outstanding research opportunities, and good social interaction with fellow genealogists.
UGA also announced its SLIG lineup for virtual courses this coming Fall 2020. Chinese genealogy was offered for the first time ever this year. I would have taken it, except that I really needed to organize my DNA research better. So I was pleased to see that it’s being offered virtually in the Fall. I will likely register for that. I doubt I would use it professionally but it might help my wife Lucia resolve some family mysteries. I had an excellent experience with SLIG’s virtual class Nordic Research in Fall 2018 and was pleasantly surprised how useful it was even though you’re sitting at home and engaging with the class online. I continue to consult my syllabus from that class probably more than any other genealogy course I’ve taken.