When I was in my early 20's, I knew it all! Unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten some it with the passage of time and so I have gone back to school, specifically genealogy school, and even more specifically, the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. I mentioned my course work a few posts ago when I shared my success in connecting with one of Ellen's cousins through a message board inquiry that had been posted in 2003.
I have been interested in pursuing a formal genealogy related curriculum for quite some time. When I started researching my family history around 1980, there were only a few rudimentary books that I was able to find to act as guides. I joined the local genealogical society and picked up some useful research tips on how to use the local archives resources. There were no formal education opportunities presenting themselves to help my research.
Well, times have changed. We now have computers with good quality database software available to us. We have mobile computing devices. I can even carry my software, database, family history documents, photos and books on a small USB key. In addition, there has been a tremendous expansion in the educational opportunities available to genealogists with numerous post secondary institutions now offering certificate and/or degree programs.
I chose to pursue course work towards a Certificate in Genealogical Studies at the National Institute, with the accompanying post nominals of PLCGS (Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies).
Why I chose the National Institute for Genealogical Studies has a couple of components to the answer. One, NIGS, as it is sometimes referred, is affiliated with St. Michael's College of the University of Toronto - my alma mater. I already know the school and it is located close to me. Two, as a follow-up to the 2011 RootsTech Conference and their recent purchase of the GenealogyWise social media website for genealogists, NIGS offered, for a limited time, free enrollment in their "Social Media for the Wise Genealogist" course. Free is a really good price particularly as I was interested in the program and the free course got me started and got my feet wet. I could try the on-line education program to see how it fit with my needs and style of learning.
I intend to specialize my certification in Canadian research but will also be studying Scottish records research. Maybe an old dog can learn new tricks!
So far, so good - and that's not counting the new, very unexpected cousin connection!