Monthly Archives: January 2006

Back of the Room Sales


Some genealogical speakers bring products to sell when they speak. There are a few challenges. They have to sort out local sales taxes and things like that. But it can prove a lucrative revenue stream especially if the products are your own. One speaker who does this is Dr. Penny Christiansen, a colleague at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Penny has written umpteen books on genealogy topics, published by Heritage Productions in Toronto.

Books are not the only products offered by speakers. I have seen CD-ROMS, DVDs, and even T-Shirts!

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Genealogical Speakers Guild

This is an interesting group. An assemblage of some of the most talented speakers in genealogy in North America who band together to reach the following objectives:

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Short Case Studies

While looking for something else on the web I stumbled on an interesting site regarding the use of short case studies or case histories for promotional use. I began to wonder if the tips on writing them could help us fine tune our case studies for classroom and workshop use. Take a look at this item from Wordbiz Report and see if you can use the tips in this and linked articles to write a simple, short case study based on one of your own research bluders, challeges or problems. Leave the solution open, posing some sort of open-ended questions. Remember, short case studies bear a resemblance to those word problems we got in arithmatic class in 5th grade.
Regular readers will note I am getting you to learn by doing! Like a good facilitator, I hope.

Genealogist in Residence

My local public library has a “writer in residence” for 6 months every other year. They also have a “Critic in Residence” at the library art gallery. These individuals meet with local writers and artists and coach them in improving their literary or artistic work. The library pays them to do a certain number of educational programs, and to have “office hours” for writers or artists to come in and discuss their work.

Would you like to be a “genealogist in residence” at a library near you? Its a new idea and you may not sell them on a month, let alone 6 months, but to the right person they might just pay a professional genealogist to teach and consult with patrons for a week.

Go and discuss it with your librarian and report back.

Genealogy Textbook Suggestion

Looking for a text book for an advanced level genealogy class? There are of course a number of great books out there but the other day I was reflecting on one such book, by Karen Clifford.This book was written for a purpose… Continue reading

Self-Directed Learning: A confession

Ken Aitken profile

You may note that on the bookshelf behind me in the photo, there are books. Very perceptive of you. Most of them are NOT genealogy books, but books on local history, and books on methodology in local history. Many of my ideas for lectures, workshops and articles come from taking ideas from academic historians and public historians and applying them to genealogy education. So what’s on that shelf? Continue reading

Error Recognition Exercises

Red Maple Leaves.jpg

When each of our students’ ancestors seems as different as one leaf is from the next, we often need to devise learning activities all can do that give practical experience. Error recognition exercises are good examples of controlled practical experience. We all make mistakes, but if we know what we are doing ( i.e. if we are competent) , we recognize those errors. So we can pre-test for competence by asking people to look at flawed examples and offer corrections. For example Continue reading

Web-based instruction

If you are thinking about designing a module for web-based instruction, its useful to look at other examples, work them through and articulate your thoughts on them. Besides its good self-directed learning while you do it.  We previously suggested you look at Continue reading

Topics for Lectures and Lessons 2

I have been consulting with genealogists several evenings a week for about three years now and I’ve started to notice a few weaknesses in their education. Here is one that was a weakness of my own for some time. Continue reading

On-line Genealogy Instruction

How do you judge the quality of free instruction on the web? Good question. You might go take a look at a couple of sites and see what others have done before you create your own on-line education. Debbie Duay mentioned one such site the other day on the list, Librarians Serving Genealogists. She described it as follows:

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