Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, noted on her blog today that registration for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (“SLIG”) opens this Saturday, June 14th, at 9:00 AM Mountain Daylight Time (11 a.m. Eastern, 10 a.m. Central, and 8 a.m. Pacific).
Regular readers of The Genetic Genealogist may not be familiar with SLIG, which is an institute run by the Utah Genealogical Association. SLIG is one of a very limited number of week-long institutes that offer educational content for genealogists. SLIG 2015 will be held at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 12-16, 2015. Tuition for the institute is $375 for UGA members and $425 for everyone else.
This year there are 12 tracks at SLIG, including two at which I will be an instructor:
- Getting Started with Genetic Genealogy – “This course provides genealogists with the knowledge needed to correctly incorporate DNA results into their family history. Beginners will receive foundational knowledge in the basics needed to understand the application of genetics for genealogical research purposes. Those with prior knowledge of DNA will be able fill in holes in understanding and be introduced to tools and techniques with practical, hands-on exercises.”
Course Coordinator: Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL
Course Instructors: Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL; Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.; and CeCe Moore
- Advanced DNA Analysis – “This course will examine the methods used by expert genetic genealogists to thoroughly and accurately analyze DNA testing results to advance knowledge of an individual’s genealogy. Instruction will include complex case studies that incorporate multiple types of DNA testing results, analyzed in conjunction with documentary evidence, as well as cases where DNA test results are the primary resource, such as in unknown parentage cases. Coursework will include analyzing and comparing DNA testing data from all of the companies offering products to the genealogy community with explanations and demonstrations of the most valuable features and tools for the genetic genealogist working with large amounts of data. Through active participation in and completion of this course, the genealogist will gain essential skills for integrating DNA testing with traditional genealogy research on an advanced level.”
Course Coordinators: Angie Bush and CeCe Moore
Course Instructors: Angie Bush; CeCe Moore; and Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.
Both of these tracks are aimed educating genealogists and promoting increased crossover between genetic genealogy and paper-based genealogy.
The Need for Genetic Genealogy Education
The need for genetic genealogy education is clear.
Just today, Family Tree DNA announced that they have “processed over 1,000,000 DNA test kits results for genealogy and anthropology purposes.” We also know that more than 650,000 kits have been processed at 23andMe, and more than 400,000 kits have been processed at AncestryDNA (see http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Autosomal_DNA_testing_comparison_chart).
Thus, more than 2 million people (mostly in the United States) have taken genetic genealogy tests at just these three companies! And while many of these test-takers are professional genealogists, even more are beginner and intermediate genealogists. So many of these genealogists are asking for education that several opportunities have arisen to fill that gaping need.
Earlier this year, the first week-long course directed to genetic genealogy sold out in mere minutes. This week a Family Tree University course entitled “Genetic Genealogy 101,” for which I am the instructor, sold out in just 24 hours (although additional seats have been added). At SCGS Jamboree last weekend, I spoke with so many people who expressed a dire need for assistance and education.
Genetic genealogy and paper-based genealogy have long traveled mostly parallel tracks. Hopefully, with the courses, lectures, and other opportunities that have recently been announced, we can begin to bridge the gulf between these two communities.