Am I losing it?

I love genealogy institutes because they provide such a great environment for a deep dive into a topic. But let’s face it, by the fourth day, we’re a little loopy(er than usual) from the 24/7 immersion.

I spent a whole day rebuilding a DNA database even though I’ve concluded it was probably OK to begin with. I turned my purse inside out, went down to the concierge, and posted in the SLIG Facebook group about a lost USB drive that I later found on my bed under my institute name tag. I even asked a question of an instructor that I realized sounded like I hadn’t paid a lick of attention to his presentation, even though I had AND I knew I sounded ridiculous as soon as the words left my mouth.

These are all signs of SLIG-induced sleep-deprivation.

Or perhaps the after-effects of wearing balloon representations of endogamous chromosome segments on my head.

IMG_3298 Paul Woodbury

Legacy Tree Genealogists’ Paul Woodbury and me. Paul used his skills in balloon art while presenting on endogamy’s effects on DNA analysis.

#SLIGExperience #SLIG2018 #SLIGfun #genealogy

My genealogy tribe

For the second year in a row, I’ve traveled to Utah for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. It’s a weeklong adventure in skill-building, researching at the incredible Family History Library (home of, and networking with fellow genealogists.

Last year I was a stressed-out newbie, trying to absorb the experience while simultaneously starting the 15-week online Certificate Program in Genealogical Research from Boston University. I knew a few other SLIG attendees who belonged to my genealogy society back home, but otherwise didn’t really know anyone here. My roommate, a fellow Houstonian who I affectionately call a social butterfly, worked on pulling me out of my shell by introducing me to many new and interesting people.

I learned so much about researching my Norwegian (and my husband’s Danish) ancestors in SLIG’s Scandinavian course and enjoyed getting to know the genealogists who sat by me all week. I also met BU instructors, teaching assistants and a classmate, which helped me feel so much more calm about that intensive online program.

Over the past year, I survived the BU program (not everyone does!) and attended a national conference and two other institutes. I have met many wonderful and interesting people and no longer feel so much like an interloper in the genealogy world. Seeing friendly faces who recognize me and stop to chat thwarts my introvert tendencies.

Six classmates from my BU group came to SLIG this year, including my roommate, blogger Bonnie Wade Mucia of Keeper of the Past Genealogy. Even though half of us had never met in person, it feels more like old friends reuniting.

IMG_3243 BU23Grp3 by Bonnie

Six members of my spring 2017 online Boston University genealogy class (OL23 Group 3) are attending SLIG 2018. Photo by Bonnie Wade Mucia.

Those of us who geek out over genealogy often lament that it’s difficult to share our excitement and discoveries with others in our lives. Our family and friends may love to hear about our findings, but have little interest in the journey to discovery. An institute like this surrounds you with fellow travelers. Most have more experience than I do, but they embrace all newcomers who have a genuine interest in practicing responsible genealogy.

I’m extremely excited about the class I’m taking this year, which focuses on using DNA to prove genealogical relationships. But I’m also thrilled to spend a week among friends and colleagues from home and around the country who are passionate about family history research and eager to share the successes and mistakes that help us all learn to cast a wider net, dig deeper, analyze more thoroughly, and tell more accurate and engaging stories about our ancestors.

#SLIG2018 #SLIGExperience #BUgenealogy #mygenealogytribe