Week-long institutes are a gathering of like-minded genealogists who want to take their education to a new level. If you’ve never attended a National Conference or Institute, I encourage you to look into them.
This is my second year attending the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh held at LaRoche College in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. My choice for the week this year was “Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Stories: Writing a Quality of Narrative” lead by John Philip Colletta. Since I have a fair amount of immigrant ancestors both 20th century eastern European back to colonial, I thought spending a week with the nationally known Dr. Colletta would be an exciting opportunity for growth in my writing.
Travel to Pittsburgh from New Jersey went smoothly until our approach to the Butler area when the skies decided to open up on us. It felt like we were driving in a carwash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Considering that I spent money and time on Saturday to take the car to the local carwash, I felt a bit cheated that Mother Nature repeated the effort.
Dorm rooms, oh my!! My roommates and I enjoyed rearranging the furniture and the relocation of the cable modem so that all three cables would reach each of our desks. We were almost 100% successful. My one roomie is enjoying a brand-new MacBook Pro Air and was pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised to realize that her new laptop does not have an Ethernet port. So, she’s got a new item on her shopping list to buy that cat-5 connector to USB adaptor. Overall, our room is quite comfy and my roomies are excited to be at their first institute.
Our class covered a fair amount of ground throughout the day of including the Principles of Good Writing and Using Artifacts leading up to our homework assignment. So, 4pm came and the flurry of panic set in as we had to decide which ancestor’s artifact, location, life event, or portrait was to be our focus. Dinner conversations centered on the “attention-grabbing” factor that could be developed from our immigrant ancestor’s lives. For those who experienced indecision, some offered “ancestor sharing” to help them make their choice. I wavered between the location of my great-grandparents initial residence in Newark, NJ and the life-event of the 1951 immigration of husband’s grandparents. After enjoying my dessert of apple pie and butter pecan ice cream, I made my decision. In the end, I chose the intriguing story of post-war immigration to the United States.
The first day weather highlights were the forecasted isolated rain showers which turned out to be rain for most of the day with isolated thunder. Unfortunately, any thought for an evening walk or drive was quickly dismissed. Watch tomorrow’s post for the writing assignment that I completed near midnight.