APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2001-02 > 0982771506
From: "Pamela Boyer Porter" <>
Subject: RE: [APG] Beyond Beginning Genealogy
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 10:05:06 -0600
For the past several years, I enjoyed teaching several different classes at St. Louis Community College - from "Internet for Genealogists," to "U.S. Migration Patterns," to "History and Geography for Genealogists," to "Writing Your Family History." The computer genealogy classes consistently drew two kinds of folks--those who had been doing genealogy for years but were almost computer-illiterate, or those who were computer whizzes but knew absolutely nothing about genealogy (the type who wanted to find their entire family history on the Internet, already "done"). There was a magic circle in these classes - either Pat Stamm or Ann Fleming had taught them beginning genealogy and they came to my classes to learn about computers, or I sent them to Pat's and Ann's classes to learn basic genealogy. I taught these classes in the St. Louis Genealogical Society's computer lab, and they were limited to 12 students (2 per computer).
I also led on-site research trips to the Missouri State Archives and the State Historical Society and Western Historical Manuscript Collection, both two-hour trips from St. Louis. The college advertised these as both "genealogy" and "trips". Since I demanded a prerequisite of at least a beginning genealogy class, the attendees were usually ready for the more advanced records at these repositories. We held an orientation meeting two weeks before the trip so students would know what kinds of records the repository held and so they could plan their research for the day. Then we took a large passenger van (14 people total) at 7:00 a.m., returning at 7:00 p.m. Everyone got to know one another on the 2-hour drive and had a new friend to lunch with, and they were all excitedly sharing their finds on the way home. These trips led to the third type of classes I taught.
We called those "advanced topics in genealogy" and that's where we got the intermediate or advanced researcher who wanted to know more about patterns of migration or geographic resources. Pat Stamm is now teaching one about military records, and another on problem solving. These classes satisfy the needs of the eager beavers who can't get enough genealogy, or the folks who've been at it awhile and need some more help.
Another St. Louis APG member, Ed Murray, is teaching several classes, including local resources. Ted Steele has taken over several of the computer genealogy classes, since I'm now in Kansas City and the commute to teach is a bit prohibitive (240 miles). St. Louisans seem to be hungry to learn about their family history. Demand has created more and more classes, though we sometimes see a decline in enrollment. So far, we have not been able to successfully hold summer classes either. (Some genealogists must garden or fish in good weather?)
Sorry to take over here, but I am really interested in genealogical education, and wonder if others around the country (and world) have successful or not-so-successful experiences in developing classes in their communities?