Posted in Conferences and workshops, Institutes, Technology

SLIG 2018: (I don’t) know it all


And the good news is that I don’t need to know it all, because genealogy is an “open book” test. You don’t have to have all knowledge in your head, but you do need to know where to look to get the answers. And coming to SLIG is like reading 20 books in one week! So, halfway through my third day here (remember, I attended SLIG Tech Day on Saturday) I’m fully immersed in my little world of research methodologies and resources.

Fortunately for me, there is enough empty space in my head I am not yet in danger of overload. We’ll see how I feel by Thursday night. Also fortunately for me, there is a shop at the Hilton that sells Snickers and Twix. I think they stocked up on these special “Know-it-All” Snickers just for SLIG!

I mentioned that I would let you know how it’s going with my tech gear. Not bad, actually. At first I tried to follow the syllabus material via PDF on my laptop, but found it a little awkward to navigate the document. I’ve been keeping handwritten notes on my iPad using the Penultimate app and that has been very smooth and easy. I like it a lot!

I tried following and annotating the syllabus in it’s printed form for a few classes, but because I like having a digital version of notes and materials I switched over to the PDF version in my iPad’s iBooks. It is very easy to highlight and make brief notes right in the document using my Apple Pencil, and switching back and forth between the iBooks document and my handwritten notes in Penultimate has been super easy. I found that by doing it all on my iPad I was able to focus on the presentation more and really digest what what being said, and it helped me to follow the syllabus material more closely. I think I’ll stick with this routine for the rest of the week. Plus, there is less clutter on the table in front of me this way!


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!