This year, in late January, I attended my second class (or track) at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. (SLIG)
I believe that if you want more than a quick overview of subject matter the institutes are the way to go.
I would like to encourage my readers (if you are interested in Family History research) to consider attending one of these wonderful institutes.
Last year (my first year) I chose the class track organized by Paula Stuart Warren called American Records. Within the first day of this amazing learning opportunity I knew that I would be coming back again and again. This year I attended the track organized by Dr. Thomas Jones entitled Advanced Research Methods.
There are three "Institutes" offered in the United States for a face to face, intense, concentrated, classroom experience.
SLIG is offered by the Utah Genealogical Association every year about January. Next year the Institute will be held beginning January 14, 2013 in Salt Lake City.
The Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh (nicknamed GRIPitt) will make it's debut July 22, 2012 and runs through July 27. (There are still a few spots open)
There is also the Samford Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research held every year in June in Birmingham, Alabama. (called either Samford or IGHR for short)
While conferences offer a smorgasborg of classes to the attendee the Institutes allow you to learn about a single subject in a concentrated format.
For example: The National Genealogical Society's annual conference will be held in Ohio in May. For about four days I can sample classes from more than 200 different choices. (approximately 8 classes every hour for 8 hours a day for 4 days). Each hour I choose from around 8 different classes offered that hour. Each day I go to about 8 hours of classes. (Or until my brain gives out) Every hour a different subject ranging from Elements of a Research Plan (for new genealogists) to Expanding Your Genealogical Skills Through Education (for everyone) to Migration Patterns: An Alternative for Locating African Origins. Or you could choose from On-site Research in Poland, Beginning African American Research, Researching Your Irish Here Before Going There, Organizing Your Research: The Overlooked Step, Canadian Immigration Records and about 200 others.
At an Institute you pick on track from the 10 or more tracks offered. Every day for a week you go to that one track of classes. Eight hours on one subject. You get to study in depth, not just a quick overview.
This year's tracks at SLIG included: Advanced Genealogical Methods, American Records, Beyond the Library: Using Original Source Repositories, Welsh Research, Problem Solving, Midwest U. S. Research, Swedish Research, Advanced Research Tools: Land Records, Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum, and Advanced New England Research.
Next year's tracks include: American Research and Records, Bridging the 1780-1830 Gap: From New England to the Midwest (and Points In Between), Researching Your English Ancestors: Beyond the Parish Register, Advanced German Research, Researching in Washington D. C. without Leaving Home,
A Genealogist's Guide to the Internet Galaxy, Hanging out a Shingle: Genealogy Marketing and Business Practices, Producing a Quality Family Narrative, Advanced Genealogical Methods, Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum, Principles of Forensic Genealogy, and Problem Solving.
Go to the IGHR web page here to learn about what classes are being offered. Click here for this year in June at Samford, and click on the following link for what classes are being offered for 2013.
Both the conference method and the Institute method are excellent ways to get your education. Combined with lectures in your home town, webinars and online classes, you'll be an expert in no time.