Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research to Offer Unique Opportunities in Genealogical Education

I received this announcement today about a new genealogical education opportunity:


Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research to Offer Unique Opportunities in Genealogical Education

RALEIGH, North Carolina, 9 September 2014. Professional genealogists Catherine W. Desmarais, CG, Michael Hait, CG, and Melanie D. Holtz, CG, are pleased to announce the formation of the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research (VIGR). VIGR is a unique educational opportunity for genealogists of all skill levels.

The Institute will offer courses on a wide variety of genealogical subjects, providing “Vigorous” year-round education for the genealogical community using a virtual platform. Each course will consist of a total of four 90-minute lectures, two each presented on consecutive Saturdays, extensive syllabus material, and practical exercises. Limited class sizes of only one hundred registrants per course allows for a higher level of class participation and instructor feedback than typically offered by genealogy webinars.

Courses are currently planned around the topics of genealogical writing, advanced methodology, DNA testing and analysis, and cultural, regional, or record-based research strategies.

Many of these subject matters—as well as the depth of instruction—have never before been offered in a virtual format and are ideal for genealogists around the world. “VIGR will allow genealogists who work a full-time job or have limited travel budgets to more easily advance their genealogical skills,” Institute co-administrator Melanie D. Holtz stated.

Registration for each course will cost $69.99 and includes digital video recordings of all four lectures, available within two weeks of the close of each course.

For more information on the Institute and to register for upcoming courses, visit www.vigrgenealogy.com and subscribe to the mailing list for updates on future courses.


Michael Hait, CG, “Writing Logical Proof Arguments,” 1 November–8 November 2014
J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA, “Preparing the Field: Understanding the Agricultural Records of our Ancestors,” 24 January–31 January 2015
Maureen Taylor, “Family Photographs: Identifying, Preserving, and Sharing Your Visual Heritage,” 21 February–28 February 2015
Donna Moughty, “Strategies for Finding Your Irish Ancestors,” 7 March–14 March 2015
Blaine Bettinger, “(Finally!) Understanding Autosomal DNA,” 21 March–28 March 2015
Billie Stone Fogarty and Rick Fogarty, “Verifying the Family Legend of Native American Ancestry,” 18 April–25 April 2015
Melanie D. Holtz, CG, and Melissa Johnson, “Genealogical Applications of Dual Citizenship by Descent,” 2 May-9 May 2015
Paul Milner, “An In-Depth Look at the 'Big Four' Records of English Research,” 30 May -- 6 June 2015
Angela McGhie, “Digging in Federal Land Records,” 19 September-26 September 2015

CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are Service Marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluations by the Board and the board name is a trademark registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.

VIGR: Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research


This sounds really interesting - rather than travel to Salt Lake City, Samford, Pittsburgh, Detroit, or Washington DC, for a weeklong institute on a specific subject, these courses are offered for a reasonable fee in a webinar format, presumably with some sort of interaction with the presenters.  

This virtual institute will be convenient for persons who are unable take the time off, who are unable to travel, or are unable to afford the weeklong seminars with the travel and daily hotel and food expenses in addition to the institute fee.

What is lost in a virtual seminar like this is the inter-personal interaction between students and the instructors and other students.  In addition, the plan is 6 hours on a specific topic, while the weeklong institutes feature up to 30 hours on a specific topic.  

It's not clear to me if the presentations will be archived so that registrants can access the videos for a period longer than two weeks after the live presentations.  How much interaction between the instructors and the students will there be, and how will it be accomplished?  Can it be done after the live presentations?  

All in all, this looks to me like an excellent addition to the genealogy education universe.

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Michael Hait said...


Thanks for posting about VIGR.

All paid registrants will receive complimentary copies of the lecture recordings for their own use--so they can access them later for review, or just in case they had to miss a lecture during its live presentation.

Michael Hait said...

Also, there is one correction to the schedule:

J. Mark Lowe's course "Preparing the Field: Understanding the Agricultural Records of our Ancestors" will run from 24-31 January 2014.

Elizabeth Lapointe said...

Hi, Randy,

This is an excellent way to keep up on the latest on research. A quick refresher course.

I just enrolled in Michael Hait’s course last night , and I am looking forward to learning and interacting with him.

As I said in my email to VIGR “I am really excited to be a part of the first class! This is groundbreaking in the realm of genealogical institutes, and I am so glad that it has come to pass”.