Posted in Conferences and workshops, Institutes, Software, Technology

A Firsthand Look at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG): Day 1 – Tech Day

SLIG 2018 logo

Curious about what it’s like to attend a genealogy institute?  Follow along as I share observations and experiences during my week at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), held annually in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I touched down in Salt Lake City International Airport two days ago and have already begun my adventure.

Genealogy institutes are different than other kinds of genealogy conferences.  See why in my previous post 4 Genealogy Institutes You Should Know About.  SLIG is a 5-day institute preceded by a welcome reception tonight, and this year they added a SLIG Tech Day which I attended all day yesterday.  I am enrolled in the course titled, “Advanced Genealogical Methods” taught by Dr. Thomas W. Jones and am pretty excited about it! It should be a pretty intense week, and I figure by Friday night’s closing banquet my head should be spinning and my feet dragging.  But hey, that’s what chocolate is for and I intend to take heavy doses.

At yesterday’s Tech Day I signed up for three workshops: Evernote for Genealogists (by Gena Philibert Ortega, AG®), Using Google’s My Maps as a Research and Analysis Tool (by Cari Taplin, CG®), and PowerPoint Tips and Tricks – Not Just for Speakers (by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG®, CGL).  All were excellent and I came away with good ideas which will help me in my own research, as well as in the classes I present.  All three of my workshops were held in the Hilton’s seminar theater, which is well-suited for larger classes.  The desktops all had power outlets, which was great because we all had laptops and many of us also had tablets.

Here are the gear and apps I am packing for this week:

  1. Lenovo Thinkpad with a 13-hour battery, plus a 5-hour spare.  You never know what the power outlet situation will be in a classroom full of laptop-users and it’s best to not have to worry about it! Same goes for researching at the Family History Library or other repositories.
  2. iPad Pro with 10.5 inch screen
  3. iPhone 7
  4. Apple Pencil for note-taking and annotating records
  5. I use Evernote extensively to organize my research trips, research sessions, and life in general.  I use the Penultimate app which is integrated with Evernote to take handwritten notes using my Apple Pencil.  Each page of notes is automatically saved to Evernote, making my life easier.  I have Evernote on my iPad, iPhone, and laptop, and the content I add is synced across all three platforms, as well as my online account.
  6. Scannable app.  There are a number of scanner apps out there which are good.  I’ve been using Scannable because it is integrated with Evernote and automatically saves my scans to the Evernote notebook I choose.  I have it on both my tablet and phone.
  7. I upload PDFs and syllabus material provided by instructors, reference books, and blank pedigree charts and family group charts to the iBooks app that came with my iPad.  This allows me to highlight and make notes on the the pages using my Apple Pencil.  I also like having blank pedigree and family group forms to organize my thoughts as I research.  I can easily erase the names and dates and re-use the charts.
  8. RavPower power pack (21,000mh) to charge my iPhone and iPad. It can simultaneously charge both multiple times according to what I’ve read, but I haven’t used it yet to test it out.  I hope it’s true!  Again, you never know what the power outlet situation will be in a classroom, but I also like having it as I travel to use in airports and on the plane, so I can work or watch movies.

So how did my tech gear do on Tech Day?  I felt like it was pretty functional.  I was able to use my laptop to practice what was being taught about Evernote, Google My Maps, and PowerPoint, and at the same time was able to take handwritten notes using the iPad and Apple pencil.  Things could get dicier when I have to use my iPad to annotate the syllabus material while also trying to take handwritten notes, but I’ll let you know how it goes.

After my Tech Day classes I was able to hit a nearby grocery store and stock up on snacks to get me through the week, and a few meals to see me through the weekend. Time to cram for tomorrow’s classes!



I am an Accredited Genealogist® professional living in California. I have been researching and teaching since 1988.

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