I’d like to introduce…

Edward George "Ted" Turner

Edward George Turner, known affectionately to his family and friends as Ted, was a kind hearted, gregarious, right jolly English gent, loved by all who knew him. He was born on the 27th of June 1911 at Blake Cottage, Horn Street in Winslow, Buckinghamshire, where his father was employed as head groom to Mr Gosling of Blake House.

And His Lovely Wife…

phyllis

Miss Phyllis Mary Collins, daughter of William Collins, publican of the George Inn in Winslow, which is where Ted met her one fateful day in the 1930s

An Institute Newbie’s perspective on GRIP 2013: Day One

I am so excited to be at my first institute! It’s like a club. I swear, there really are institute junkies. How they do it mystifies me. There are four (at least) institutes held in this county each year, including this, the youngest on the block: Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. They last a full work week. They’re a financial investment. And really, no matter where one lives, at least three of them are probably going to involve air travel. Plus, and let’s be real, they’re staffed by arguably some of the best minds in genealogy today, which many may find, at least a little, intimidating.

Still,  I’ve been dying to go to one, and GRIP is practically in my backyard! And who knows…maybe this week will be the start of my own addiction :-)

So….DAY ONE   NOTE: This post has two parts and the first is whiny, so feel free to skip to part two.

Before I share my day, I really need to vent about my night. Things got off to a great start yesterday. LaRoche College is far enough away from  downtown Pittsburgh to be easy to navigate to. Registration was well organized and very welcoming. Dinner was nice, and everyone here is SO friendly!!  I was a little (actually a LOT) disappointed to discover the cafeteria does NOT have real cream for coffee, but luckily I’ve brought along my Keurig machine and a good supply of half & half. (FYI The dorm rooms have a refrigerator). And private bathrooms!!!  But unfortunately that’s where the love affair with my room ended. The bed is as you might expect. The sheets the school provides are threadbare and don’t stay on the mattress. And the blanket shouldn’t even be called a blanket. Luckily I thought to bring my own pillow, because the air conditioner was stuck on FREEZE and I’d forgotten to pack socks; in the end the only way to keep them warm (since the blanket wouldn’t warm a doll) was to wrap them in the school’s pillow case. I slept in my clothes. The refrigerator I was so delighted with made this bizarre rustling noise all night, and the a/c sounded like a freight train…a freight train blowing icy wind on me all night. Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of sleep.

So, here’s my advice:

Bring a coffee maker, coffee (the campus store apparently stocks K-cups), and if you need it, your own cream.

Bring your own pillow, and (if you’re funny that way) your own twin sheets. Plus, bring a blanket. And a couple of towels.

Bring warm socks.

Bring shampoo and bars of soap—it’s a dorm not a hotel.

This is already in the brochures, but bears repeating: bring an extra–long Ethernet cable (if you bring a computer and want internet access in your room), and a reading lamp.

Bring warm socks.

If you like to eat at random times, or say, if you are up half the night socializing in the hall, bring some snacks. The cafeteria serves plenty of food, but it’s available only for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (5pm). GRIP provided everyone with a snack today during the afternoon break, but it was M&Ms and peanuts, which aren’t for everyone. There were bottles of water, but no coffee (So having no cream really didn’t matter).

Bring warm socks.

Bring layers—our classroom went from hot to cold to hot all day long, and I noticed a lot of people who hadn’t dressed in layers found the temperature uncomfortable.

Bring warm socks.

 

Okay, no more whining: Part Two

The first day of my course: Advanced Land Records, was excellent. The focus today was primarily on LOCATING records. There were two lectures before lunch and two after. We talked about state lands vs. federal, and various online options and repositories. I found the segment on maps and understanding the grid numbering of public survey systems to be particularly interesting. Pam and Rick Sayre are great speakers.

I noticed a lot of people were talking about homework and projects at the end of the day. In my case, the Sayres broke our class into five groups of five or six people each, and we were given various research problems to work on during the week, using the skills we learn in class. On Friday morning, the groups will have a chance to present their findings. I like the group approach.

The course materials for the land class are excellent. Most of us brought laptops or tablets to class, and took notes on them. The classrooms all have wireless internet access, and there are power outlets in all the desks.

Tonight, Michael Hait gave his excellent talk on “What is a Reasonably Exhaustive Search?”  It was held in a lecture hall (bring a sweater), and was very well attended. The evening lectures are open to the public.

One thing I will say, the day was well and thoughtfully organized, with two half hour breaks that I hadn’t expected, but was grateful for, as they allowed me time to call home and check on my kids, and reply to a few emails. Lunch was from 11:30 to 1:00, which gave me plenty of time to eat and shop at Mia’s Books which was set up in the community area outside the cafeteria.

All in all, a really great first day!!!

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1 comment to An Institute Newbie’s perspective on GRIP 2013: Day One

  • Claire, when I enjoyed dorm life twice a year at my MFA residencies, the sleeping arrangements were much the same. But the first two times, I also had a roommate – a lovely woman/friend of mine, who snored. I became much happier sleep-wise when I got a single and began bringing my own sheets and blankets. I would then make up the bed with my sheets on TOP of the school’s blanket, doubled up. That seemed to help with slippage. A small fan was also mandatory back then, as there was no a/c. Not sure which would be worse. Also flip flops for the public shower. Let me know if you want my full list before your next GRIP.

    Sounds like a wonderful experience, otherwise! Enjoy this post-birthday gift to yourself. And find a friend to share wine in the evening. Helps with the whole sleep thing. :)

    ~ Shelagh

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