Happy New Year from the Virtual Institute!

Happy New Year from all of us at the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research!

It’s time to close the books on 2016. We’ve had a busy year, as have all of our instructors!

In September the National Genealogical Society announced the publication of Genetic Genealogy in Practice, its latest book release, written by Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD, and Debbie Parker Wayne, CG. This year Blaine also wrote The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, published by Family Tree Books.

Blaine has one upcoming Virtual Institute course: “The Essential Copyright Guide for Genealogists.”

On 6 June, partner Catherine W. Desmarais, CG, renewed her Certified Genealogist credential and began her second term as APG’s vice-president.

On 1 January Billie Stone Fogarty, M. Ed., began her first term as President of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

On 9 July Michael Hait, CG, CGL, renewed his Certified Genealogist credential and earned the Certified Genealogical Lecturer (CGL) credential. On 9 October Michael was re-elected to a second three-year term on the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

In November Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG, and her partner Gena Philibert-Ortega hosted the 2016 “Gena and Jean Genealogy Cruise,” a four-day Mexican cruise with two days of genealogy presentations.

On 22 September Melanie D. Holtz, CG, received the Grahame T. Smallwood Jr. Award of Merit from the Association of Professional Genealogists for her years of service to APG and her commitment to promoting professional development. In October she launched a new part of her business and now offers ancestral tours in southern Italy and Sicily.

Angela Packer McGhie, CG, earned the Certified Genealogist credential in January. In July Angela was appointed a trustee of the BCG Education Fund.

In October Donna Moughty led an annual research trip to Ireland, with stops in both Dublin and Belfast.

In June and July Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, and her partner Deborah Lichtner Deal organized the milestone fifth year for the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. For the second year, GRIP was presented with two separate weeks of courses at LaRoche College. And for the first time, the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research sponsored an evening lecture and broadcast it as a live webinar simultaneously!

In September Craig Roberts Scott, CG, FUGA, led the 3rd Annual Heritage Books Genealogy Conference and Cruise through the Caribbean, featuring speakers (and Virtual Institute instructors) Paul Milner; J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA; and himself, among others.

On 7 January 2016 the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society announced that D. Joshua Taylor would become the President of the society, effective 1 February. On 17 May the third season of Genealogy Roadshow premiered on PBS, with Josh continuing his hosting duties.

Be sure to support our instructors and their work by checking out some of their past courses—recordings are available for sale in the Virtual Institute Store.

We’ll be announcing our 2017 courses soon with more exciting news to follow. Be sure to subscribe using the button on the right so that you don’t miss a thing!

Have a happy and prosperous 2017!

Cathi, Michael, and Melanie


Last chance to learn online research from Joshua Taylor, host of Genealogy Roadshow!

Registration will be closing this Friday, 11 November 2016, for the next course being offered by the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research: “Harness the Power of the Web” with D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS.

For more details and to register, click here.

The Internet has dramatically changed the way genealogists conduct their research. From hidden treasures found on the websites of local libraries to massive online databases gathered by subscription websites like Ancestry, there seems to always be something new to discover online.

This course shares techniques and tools to enable you to become an expert at online research. A specific focus is placed about keyword development for searching online databases, locating digital collections, and using common subscription websites effectively.

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, is a nationally known and recognized author, lecturer, and researcher and a frequent speaker at family history events across the globe. Passionate about family history, Joshua is the President of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (NYG&B) and former President of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). Joshua is the author of numerous articles, books, and a coordinator for courses at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. He holds an MLS (Archival Management) and an MA (History) from Simmons College and has been a featured genealogist on Who Do You Think You Are?. At the present time Joshua can be seen taking America through their past as a host on the popular PBS series Genealogy Roadshow.

For more details and to register, click here.

“Back to School” Sale on Virtual Institute recordings!

back_to_school_3Celebrate the Back to School season with new course recordings from recent Virtual Institute courses!

From Friday, September 2, 2016, through Friday, September 30, 2016, you can save 10% on all purchases of course recordings. Just enter the coupon code “B2SCHOOL” (without the quotes) at checkout to apply the discount.

While you’re looking at our recordings, be sure to also take a look at our upcoming live courses. We have courses scheduled this fall focusing on Italian genealogy, copyright law, and online research.

We currently have recorded courses available from some of the best genealogical instructors working today:

Each recording package contains all six hours of instruction as well as all syllabus material and all practical assignments.

For more information and to purchase some of these recordings, visit http://vigrgenealogy.com/store

Registration open for Michael Hait’s “Working with Sources and Information”

MD State Papers Black Books 2(II)-18 bRegistration is now open for the next course from the Virtual Institute: “Working with Sources and Information” with Michael Hait, CG. The course will begin live on Saturday morning 4 June 2016 at 11:00am (U. S. Eastern).

This hands-on workshop will focus on the disciplined reading and evaluation of sources. Prior to each day of the course, students will be provided with a selection of records from around the world on which to exercise their analytical skills. These source selections will then be discussed in detail during the second session of each day.

Students who register for the Plus option will receive additional documents with which to practice the lessons. Those who submit their written source analyses will receive individual feedback from the instructor based on Genealogy Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry.com, 2014). The separate Plus session will focus on source citations.

Click here for more information and to register.

Michael Hait, CG, is a full-time professional genealogical researcher, writer, and lecturer. He has written case studies for several genealogical journals including the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. In 2012 Michael won 1st prize in the National Genealogical Society Family History Writing Competition for his article “In the Shadow of Rebellions,” exploring descendants of an enslaved woman living in 19th-century Maryland. Michael currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (2013–2016), and formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists (2012–2013). For more information, visit www.haitfamilyresearch.com.

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Virtual Institute announces summer and fall 2016 courses


Virtual Institute announces summer and fall 2016 courses.

RALEIGH, North Carolina, 22 May 2016. The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research would like to announce several exciting new courses that will be offered during the summer and fall 2016. The schedule sees new courses from several of our popular past instructors as well as a few new instructors with their first Virtual Institute courses. We would also like to announce the beginning of a whole new endeavor to bring even more educational opportunities to the genealogical community.

Registration for all of the following courses are now open:

As usual, each of these courses costs $69.99 for six hours of instruction (including the recordings), syllabus material, and a practical exercise. All of the upcoming courses will be offered with the Plus option, which provides additional instruction, direct instructor feedback, and a certificate of completion.

The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research would also like to announce the beginning of our Occasional Lecture series. On Thursday, 21 July 2016, the Virtual Institutewill sponsor an evening session at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh: Michael Hait, CG, on “Finding and Using Online Legal Resources.” This lecture will be delivered simultaneously live in Pittsburgh at GRIP and broadcast as a free webinar. Webinar seating is limited to 100 seats. Click here for more information and to register.

The Occasional Lecture series will supplement our six-hour courses by bringing one-hour webinars from international genealogical educators. The series will host unique lectures as our instructors and special guest lecturers are available, rather than producing a regular schedule. Announcements for future webinars in the Occasional Lecture series will appear in the Virtual Institute newsletter. Seating will always be limited so be sure to subscribe to email newsletter so that you do not miss any of these upcoming lectures.


Visit us next week at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Ft. Lauderdale!

Are you attending the National Genealogical Society Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, next week?

Stop by Booth #111 in the Exhibit Hall to visit and learn more about the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research!

Daily Raffles

Every day we will hold a giveaway for one free standard course (live or recorded)! Just provide us with your name and email address. Winners will be drawn about a half hour before the Exhibit Hall closes each day, Wednesday through Saturday. Stop by the booth in the afternoon to watch the drawing. Winners will be notified by email. And of course, all entrants will be added to our mailing list so you will continue to receive news about the Virtual Institute, including upcoming courses, recordings, promotions, etc.

Meet our Instructors

The Virtual Institute offers courses from some of the top instructors in the country. So it should be no surprise that several of them will also be in Ft. Lauderdale. The following instructors will be at the booth throughout the week, to talk to you about their courses:

In addition to these, you just never know who else might show up throughout the week. Several of our other instructors will be at the conference, both as speakers and as attendees.

Do you have any other questions?

Do you have any other questions about the Virtual Institute? We will be at the booth to answer them.

We can’t wait to meet you all!

Register now for new DNA course with Blaine Bettinger!

Bettinger_B (3)Registration is now open for our latest course from “The Genetic Genealogist” Blaine Bettinger: “Third-Party Tools for Genetic Genealogists.” The course will begin live on Saturday morning 21 May 2016 at 11:00am (U. S. Eastern).

Receiving your results from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA is just the first step in your DNA journey. Understanding and applying the results of Y-DNA, mtDNA, and autosomal DNA tests can be extremely challenging. Although the testing companies provide a mix of various tools for analyzing test results, there remains an ever-growing demand for tools and applications that the testing companies don’t offer to genealogists. Several programmers have stepped up to fill that demand, creating excellent third-party tools that help us wring every bit of information from our DNA test results.

Together we will explore some of the third-party tools that are currently available to genealogists, including how to use them to advance your research. We’ll also cover some of the most advanced third-party tools, including phasing tools, the Tier 1 tools at GEDmatch (Matching Segment Search, Lazarus, and Triangulation), and the Autosomal DNA Segment Analyzer (ADSA) tool at DNAGedcom.

Click here for more information and to register for the course.

Blaine has previously presented “(Finally!) Understanding Autosomal DNA” and “Genetic Genealogy for Professional Genealogists” for the Virtual Institute. Both courses have come close to selling out, so you will want to register early!

Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., is an intellectual property attorney by day and a genetic genealogist by night. In 2007 he started The Genetic Genealogist (www.thegeneticgenealogist.com), one of the earliest blogs on the topic. For the past eight years, it has been his mission to bridge the gap between traditional genealogy and genetic genealogy. He has been interviewed and quoted on personal genomics topics in NewsweekNew Scientist, Wired, and others. He authored I Have the Results of My Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What? in 2008, which is distributed by Family Tree DNA to all of their new customers. An update to the ebook is in the works.

Blaine frequently authors articles and gives presentations to educate others about the use of DNA to explore their ancestry. He is an instructor for genetic genealogy courses at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research, and Family Tree University. Blaine was also recently elected to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s Board of Trustees.

Click here for more information and to register for the course.