Thursday, May 28, 2015

Class Highlight: Beginning Genetic Genealogy with Dr. Blaine Bettinger

DNA is the hot topic in genealogy right now. The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) understands the need for genealogists to obtain the knowledge needed to correctly incorporate DNA results into their family history. That is why SLIG is offering Beginning Genetic Genealogy in 2016 with coordinator Dr. Blaine Bettinger.

This course will provide beginners with the foundational knowledge in the basics needed to understand the application of genetics to genealogical research. Those with prior knowledge of DNA will be able to fill in holes in understanding and be introduced to tools and techniques with practical hands-on exercises and homework.

Throughout the course, real-life genetic results and family histories will be used to demonstrate DNA inheritance patterns, how to analyze DNA test results, and how to correlate that analysis with traditional documentary research to arrive at soundly reasoned genealogical conclusions. Students will be able to use the most current tools to analyze Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), autosomal DNA (atDNA), and X-DNA test results, and incorporate those results into their family narrative. 

Dr. Bettinger has a Ph.D. (Biochemistry) and a J.D. and is an intellectual property attorney in Syracuse, New York. In 2007, he started The Genetic Genealogist blog, which is one of the longest-running and most respected blogs on this topic. He has been interviewed on genealogical and personal genomics topics and quoted in Newsweek, New Scientist, Wired magazine, and others. He authored I Have the Results of My Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What? in 2008. An updated version is distributed by Family Tree DNA to their customers. Blaine is the administrator of the Bettinger Surname Project and co-administrator for the R1b-L1/S26 Y-DNA Haplogroup Project. 

Blaine frequently authors articles and gives presentations to educate others about the use of DNA to explore their ancestry. He is an instructor for genetic genealogy courses at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research, and Family Tree University. Blaine was also recently elected to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s Board of Trustees, and graduated from ProGen Study Group 21 in 2015.

You can access his blog at 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

An Unbeatable Combination - SLIG and the Family History Library

SLIG provides its students with the chance to enhance their education for a week on a wide variety of topics. There are thirteen courses offered in 2016. What further enhances the experience, is SLIG’s close proximity to the Family History Library. Founded in 1894, it is the largest library of its kind and is open to the public free of charge.

Whether you have varied research interests or just like to have access to the wealth of material available for a specific location, the FHL satisfies both. The FHL’s collection “includes over 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records, 727,000 microfiche; 356,000 books, serials and other formats; over 4,500 periodicals and 3,725 electronic resources.” These records cover the globe and include the “United States, Canada, the British Isles, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa.”[1] The library provides Research Consultants as well as volunteers to ensure that all patrons have readily available help, if needed.

Whether it is your first time or your hundredth time, you should do some preparation before you come to maximize your research time while you are onsite. For instance, you should:

  1. Organize your materials,
  2. See what has already been done,
  3. Decide what you want to learn, and
  4. Identify available records.[2]

Once you are at the library, you can always request help from a reference consultant. Besides being able to further your personal research, having the FHL so close allows you to practice what you learn during your week at SLIG.

With registration right around the corner on June 20th, now is the time to immerse yourself in an intensive week of learning at SLIG and researching at the FHL. It truly is an unbeatable combination!

[1] "Family History Library," FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 May 2015).
[2] “Library Tips,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 May 2015).

Monday, May 25, 2015

Class Highlight: Research in the South with J. Mark Lowe

Join in for a swing across the South! Take time to learn some specific research strategies, focus on finding useful records, and apply them toward answering questions.  This course will require developing a plan to answer questions and working together toward finding the answers. 

Southern research requires a careful understanding of how records were created, and how they have been maintained since their creation.  Consideration of lost or missing records will also be included.  The approach this year will be more active, with more time spent looking at records. The goal each day will start with a developed plan, leading to wise record choices, continuing with the analysis of information, followed with properly cited discoveries, ending with a review of evidence and a summary of what was learned, while leaving a next step for tomorrow.    

You will definitely have some "mull & ponder" time, while discovering answers online and through traditional sources.  There will be time to learn about basic records from AL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, SC, VA and even TN. 

Ancestry family historian and SLIG participant Lisa Elzey said, “My first class at SLIG was Mark Lowe's Research in the South. I never knew what I didn't know! I soaked in every minute of this class and learned so much, including that farmers are NOT boring! Who knew dirt could tell you so much about your family history story? Since then, I have often told myself many times when frustrated with a research problem, to "mull and ponder" my way through it. The class was profoundly educational and entertaining throughout. I highly recommend this class at SLIG!"

Have questions about Research in the South, and if it’s the right class for you? Email us at 

For more about Mark Lowe, visit his facebook page at
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