Saturday, January 28, 2017

Genealogists as Lifelong Learners -- Part 1

All serious genealogists are lifelong learners. There is always more to learn about our families. You have probably learned by now that there is no such thing as a done genealogy. If you are successful in breaking through a brick wall, your reward is that your previously blocked line has now split into two lines to be followed.

There is also always more to learn about the craft of genealogy. None of us can be experts in all areas. Have you made any New Year resolutions about adding to your genealogy tool kit in 2017? If not there is no time like the present to make a short list of new skills you would like to acquire. Fortunately there are a wide and growing array of opportunities for learning that can be tailored to any learning style, budget or locale. These include from books, blogs, cruises, conferences, institutes, research tours, social media and webinars. The list seems to grow longer every month. Below are a few examples. Let's see who I can offend by leaving their favorite off the list.

Big conferences include:
  1. RootsTech which has grown to more than 10,000 in person attendees from every state and numerous other countries. FamilySearch is the organizing force behind this relatively new conference. Usually held in February and always in Salt Lake City. The aim of this conference is to bring technologists and genealogists together. Many of the sessions are streamed around the world.
  2. National Genealogical Society (NGS) Usually held in May and often in the Eastern part of the US.
  3. Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). Usually held in the late summer. Although it is technically aimed at helping strengthen local and regional societies, there is a rich array of programing aimed at individual researchers.
  4. Genealogy Jamboree of the Southern California Genealogy Society. Usually held about the 2nd week of June in Burbank. The last five years there has been a separate DNA Day at the same location the day before Jamboree begins. 

Home schooling options:

While these large conferences provide a rich array of opportunities in one location as a sort of shock treatment of simultaneous sessions and opportunities to consult with vendors, these sponsoring organizations also provide a rich array of other learning opportunities throughout the year. Some examples include:
  1. FamilySearch offers a wide array of opportunities each month.
  2. The SCGS Webinar Series that was introduced in a previous blog post offers two webinars each month plus some streaming from Jamboree in June.  

Personal learning objectives

I stayed up all night thinking about and writing this post and it is dawning on me that if I try to make it too comprehensive, nothing will ever get published. Tell me what your favorite learning opportunities are and I'll try to include them in my next post on this subject. 

Please share what you would like to learn in 2017.