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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in Pittsburgh (2)


    The GRIP Report Vol. 2 No. 1: Hit the Ground Running

    Angela Packer McGhie, evening presenter at GRIP

    Jet-lag just "doesn't work" here at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh. Attendees converged at La Roche College Sunday afternoon and were in the classrooms early Monday morning for the first sessions. I wasn't the only one who traveled across time zones to get here. The daily conference newsletter reported that genealogists came from 34 states and one foreign country:

    • Pennsylvania: 38
    • Ohio: 15
    • New Jersey: 10
    • Maryland: 9
    • Virginia, Indiana: 8 each
    • Colorado, Massachusetts, New York: 7 each
    • Washington: 7
    • Michigan: 5
    • Texas: 4
    • Delaware, Georgia, Ilinois, Minnesota, West Virginia: 3 each
    • Arizona, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, South Carolina, Wisconsin: 2 each
    • Italy, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, NewHampshire, Tennessee, Vermont: 1 each

    The institute sessions this year include six courses taught by a roster of outstanding genealogy educators. I'm taking Dr. Tom Jones inagural course based on his new book, Mastering Genealogical Proof. 

    Genealogy Camp

    I've heard a few people refer to GRIP as Genealogy Camp, and it does have a bit of the Camp atmosphere because of the small group setting with 150 students. The classrooms, dorms, and cafeteria are all situated together at LaRoche -- convenient and congenial. But the atmosphere is more like graduate school, with "focus and discipline" (as Dr. Jones notes) as the goal.

    That is, except for MOVIE NIGHT! I remember those much-anticipated evenings at summer camp, and Tuesday evening, GRIP directors Elissa Scalise Powell and Deborah Lichtner Deal arranged a special showing of the season premier of Who Do You Think You Are? following the evening genealogy presentation by Angela Packer McGhie.

    It was great fun to follow Kelly Clarkson on her family history journey and watch her reaction to learning about her ancestors. But, the biggest round of applause was reserved for GRIP instructor and WDYTYA researcher Josh Taylor. You don't always get to go to camp with a movie star!


    Getting a GRIP on the 2012 Inaugural Session of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh 

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    If success of a venture can be measured in "repeat business" GRIP has found a place as a valuable resource for genealogical education with the inaugural session at La Roche College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Hopefully, Institute Directors Debbie Deal and Elissa Scalise Powell are enjoying a bit of R&R after a week of classes, lectures, and full-time "directing" to make sure that everything ran smoothly.

    In my Intermediate Course with Paula Stuart-Warren, more than a few people were asking for "preferred" registration status for next year's six-course lineup. Don't worry, according to Elissa, that won't happen and everyone will get the same opportunity to sign up when registration opens, but the enthusiasm of the first attendees is a good indication of GRIP's achievement.

    Each of the four courses offered an outstanding instructor and a curriculum of targeted lectures and hands-on exercises. The classrooms were comfortable and well-equipped, the evening lectures were varied and interesting, and the dorm accommodations were convenient and economical. The cafeteria food was an unexpected highlight featuring local fresh ingredients in a changing daily menu. 

    I shouldn't really be writing all this because now it's going to be tougher for me to get a spot next year! 

    My Personal Take-away from GRIP

    I learned so much about becoming a better, more effective researcher, from the instructors as well as from my classmates. I learned that collaboration is a good thing. Although I've attended several conferences and seminars, I often spend most of my social time with geneabloggers where conversation tends to move towards social networking, marketing, and the technology of blogging. I met several bloggers at GRIP, but the emphasis for all of us was on learning how to be better genealogists, rather than on how to be more effective bloggers.

    Reading posts from some of the other bloggers in attendance emphasizes the week's focus. I enjoyed meeting Christy Webb, Karen Blackmore, Michelle Chubenko, Chris Staats, Shelley Bishop, and Cathy Desmarias for the first time and catching up with old friend Becky Wiseman, but we were all at GRIP intent on the same purpose, to become better genealogists. 

    Would I go again? In a flash. But, I'd pack away a six-pack of Diet Coke; La Roche is dedicated Pepsi Country, and that can make for some tough study sessions.

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