As part of my ongoing series where guest authors review courses from genealogy institutes, this post is by Mike Bronner with his perspective on “Settlers in the New World and Immigrants to a New Nation” course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy from January 2017.
SLIG 2017 In Review: Settlers in the New World and Immigrants to a New Nation — Researching Ancestors from Overseas
New Year’s Day ushers in a two-week period of excited anticipation — final preparations for SLIG. The week of turns into a blur with travel, meeting and greeting new and old friends, and trying to absorb it all!
In past years I have concentrated on methodology classes. This year I changed it up a bit and decided to take a history course from Dr. Colletta. I have been looking forward to attending one of his courses quite a few years. He has a wonderful way of sharing his stories through empathy and visual language.
Lessons in History
Together with Josh Taylor and Deborah Gurtler, Dr. Colletta brought a period of history spanning almost 500 years, starting in the 1590s, to life.
The main topics discussed were the pre-colonial, colonial, and federal periods. We delved into the details of what immigrants might experience during these times, what tribulations they faced. We looked at some of the more and some less successful immigrants throughout history with the hope of gleaming a little insight into how different life was in each of those periods.
Lessons in Immigration
We learned a lot about the push and pull effects that triggered immigration, and sometimes even repatriation. Some immigrants were businessmen who were looking to profit in the new world, and travelled back and forth. Others sought fortune in a new world, where the old world bore none, and then returned on the death of a relative.
These causalities are often born from the same internal needs that we experience. We must recognize that they could manifest themselves very differently from what we know today,
No Pressure: Dr. Colletta’s class was a wonderful experience. One could relax and soak in the history, social, and political lessons without having the added pressure of homework or research. This also freed up the evenings for my own research at the FHL.
Interactive: Dr. Colletta made a concerted effort to keep the course interactive. He encouraged us to interrupt with questions, discussions, and sharing of relevant experiences. It developed into a participatory event in which we were all able to learn from each other. At times he would have to reign the class in a bit, to be able to stay on course with the schedule. Everyone was eager to take part.
Story Time with Dr. Colletta: The best, of course, was being able to listen to Dr. Colletta present history through his fantastic ability to paint pictures with his stories.
If you have colonial immigrant ancestors, I fully recommend this course, should it be offered again in the future.
Mike Bronner (@mikebronner on Twitter) is a free-lance translator who runs GeneaLabs in Los Angeles with his wife Myelene. Besides German-English translation services specializing in old German print and handwriting, they also provide custom web development solutions.