Because I am so passionate about my Genealogical research it absorbs much of my time. Like a sponge my research sucks up time and I wonder where did the evening go? Where did my weekend vanish? Why am I still in my pajamas, poised before my computer screen, empty morning coffee cup at my side at two in the afternoon?
Though genealogy and family history is a wonderful hobby full of discovery, puzzles, history, and sentiment among so many other exciting things for crazy people such as myself–and possibly you if you are reading this–one does need to escape from it once and a while. Learning to find joy in other leisure activities creates an important balance. Exercise, pushing one’s self away from that keyboard, is crucial and healthy but so is turning off the screens and curling up with a book that doesn’t necessarily add to your genealogical research but may still have just the hint of family history that would peak any genealogist’s interest.
A bit of mystery, and detective work, a little delving into local archives and dusty family journals, and of course a whiff of scandal leading ultimately to skeletons in the family closet; no it isn’t my family history research of which I speak, but rather the latest novel by Kate Morton, The Lake House!
I realize readers might question why I would choose to write about a novel on a genealogy blog. My response why ever not? What is genealogy and family history but the piecing together of a story. The Lake House is novel which tells a family’s story through the gathering of pieces one by one, configuring them, analyzing them, and reorganizing them until finally the truth is revealed. Kate Morton, with her usual skill and genius, has woven the thick fabric of an intricate plot which morphs with each new warp and weft. The novel appealed to my interest in puzzling family history together, excitement in genealogical discovery, and amazement in the almost coincidental and fateful way some information seems to fall into one’s lap unexpectedly.
Remember that in Genealogy, the Genealogical Proof Standard requires the genealogist to perform a reasonably exhaustive search for sources, and analyze those sources before making any conclusions. I was reminded of this while reading The Lake House. I was also reminded that as one collects each new piece of evidence the conclusion may change, sometimes in very substantive ways!
If it has not already become apparent, I have a true passion for genealogical research. I believe the appeal is not only in learning the unknown about my own ancestors but rather in the human stories, suspensefully revealed piece by piece, and uncovered through the dramatic building up of clues and information. Who among us does not enjoy a detective story, a mystery which we have fulfillingly solved ourselves?
However, this preoccupation is less fulfilling without the skills required to obtain those story pieces and to puzzle them together. Up until January I have been a self-taught genealogist. I had the aptitude and I was able to search out the resources to help me develop my abilities. Webinars, my own trial and error, reading blogs, articles and books have all been my learning tools but in January I decided I wanted to pursue my passion more seriously. I want to be taken seriously as a genealogist, I want to build credentials, and I want to be able to legitimately provide services and assistance to others in search of their family’s past.
This was the impetus for me to go in search of a Canadian genealogy education program and I was gratified to find exactly what I was looking for: an online certificate program through the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. The National Institute of Genealogical Studies (NIGS) has been offering genealogy courses for over 15 years. Why I had not thought to pursue this new path of education years ago I cannot fathom.
The Certificate in Genealogical Studies — Canadian Records is a 40 course program resulting in a certificate and post-nominals (PLCGS). I have completed 7 of the 9 Basic Level courses and will be taking the final 2 basic courses this coming month. Completely online, each course includes module readings, assignments, an exam, and optional live stream chats. The program includes required Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced level courses as well as elective courses which can be selected from a wide menu of choices. Most courses are about two months long however you can work ahead if you wish. You are allotted approximately 2 years for several of the culminating analysis courses which appear to be more intensive. I enjoy working at my own pace!
I am excelling thus far and more importantly enjoying my learning experience. The director of the program has been very helpful and personable whenever I have had any questions. Even if you are not interested in obtaining a certificate you may enroll in NIGS courses individually or in groupings to further your knowledge and aid in your research endeavours. Whether you wish to pursue Genealogy as a business professional/academic or you just want to gain quality skills to aid you in your personal genealogy the National Institute of Genealogical Studies could be what you are looking for just as it was for me!