Students aren’t the only ones energized by a week at GRIP, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. After five days of teaching and interaction with students and other course instructors for “Family Archiving: Heirlooms in the Digital Age,” I came home ready to tackle some of my own archival challenges.
Students worked with my sample materials to experience surveying, processing, and describing collections. We set up scanners and tripods to practice digitizing items of all shapes and sizes. And, we planned family history projects to share our legacy with others.
Now in it’s seventh year, GRIP has grown from offering four classes to more than twenty courses of intensive genealogy instruction in a variety of topics for students at all skill levels. For 2018, Co-Directors Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGS and Deborah Lichtner Deal organized three GRIP sessions: two at La Roche College in Pittsburgh and one at Daemen College in Amerst, New York.
The campus arrangement is convenient for faculty and students with dorm housing and cafeteria meals adjacent to the classroom building. Elissa and Deb remain on-site throughout the program to help keep the schedule running smoothly. This year’s evening programs featured David Rencher of FamilySearch, Blaine Bettinger of DNACentral.com, and Judy G. Russell, The Legal Genealogist.
This was the second year for “Family Archiving” and once again students experienced hands-on time with archival materials and digitizing equipment. We enthusiastically practiced constructing custom archival storage containers and a few conservation techniques. Our discussion led to some interesting challenges that I’m excited to add to the curriculum for the next session.
Lectures and workshop sessions were enhanced by presentations from instructors Shelley Ballenger Bishop, Pam Stone Eagleson CG, Sierra Green Detre Library Archivist, and Judy G. Russell JD, CG, CGL.
Students came to the course from many states and as far away as Mexico and Canada with archiving projects of all sizes and scopes. I’ve already seen social media photos of their progress a few days after returning home! That’s enthusiasm!
Several students are working to archive a collection of family photos or letters, one student plans to digitize and transcribe a century-old church record book of burials, and others are working with love letters, library donations, and photo collections.
I’m still unpacking my travel gear and sample collections, but that might have to wait because right now I’m itching to get started on my own family archiving project. Think about joining us next time, for “Family Archiving: Heirlooms in the Digital Age.”