NIGS & “Google for the Wise Genealogist”

It has been a busy week.  Among many other things, I’ve been catching up on my genealogical education and training. I finished up and tested in the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGSonlinene course, “Google for the Wise Genealogist.” (Got a 97.5%) It was a free course, apparently intended to have potential students learn what lessons with them might be like.

The sample offering was on a topic that I already know much about – Google.  I use Google in so many ways in my genealogy. Besides the obvious uses of Google Search and Google Maps, I use Google Drive and often create documents, spreadsheets, and other items in Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc. Basically, if I am planning on sharing a document, I use Google. I don’t use Google Scholar as much as I probably should. I have a Google Blog (Blogger web site), D. Taylor’s Food & Travel. Additionally, my genealogy blog (Don Taylor Genealogy) began life as a Blogger blog until I migrated the information to a WordPress site. I don’t use Google Patents Search as much as I should. I did find where my wife’s father patented several things but didn’t find where my grandfather supposedly patented some fishing items. (Family Oral History indicates that he patented a fishing lure.)  Anyway, I think I use Google Patents when I should as the need arises.

I think NIGS did a good job going over all of the Google tools that exist and highlighted uses that genealogists would actually find Google useful for.  The course had assignments and a final test to show understanding and competency in the material presented.

The “Google for the Wise Genealogist” course is one of the elective courses that can be used in pursuit of a Certificate in Genealogical Studies. Such a certificate requires nine compulsory basic courses, nine compulsory intermediate courses, ten required advanced courses, plus 12 elective courses. Receiving their top (American) certificate takes 40 classes.  At between $71.25 (one-time payment for all) to $89.00 per class (one at a time), the total cost to receive the “American Certificate in Genealogical Studies” runs between $2,850 and $3,560.

That said, NIGS has many other certificates, such as “Librarianship” and “Methodology” you can achieve along the way.  The real key to NIGS Courses is to know what you want. Are you looking for a certificate?  If so, this might be a way to receive one.  On the other hand, if you are looking for training and experience in a particular area of study, such as Probate Records or Military Records, taking individual, specific classes might be useful in your studies.

Logo of the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium I’m still behind in my genealogy training goal, but I should catch up in April when I attend the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium (NERGC) conference.  I’m signed up for sessions every period of the conference from the time I arrive to when I expect to leave. Also, I’m an “official blogger,” so I’ll be blogging about my experiences, doing a couple interviews, and taking some pictures. It should be grand.

Navy Education

Schools I’ve Attended

My Life
Those Places Thursday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Grace-Lee Products, Inc

After I graduated from high school, I moved to Northeast Minneapolis and got a job at Grace-Lee Products, Inc., 1414 Marshall Avenue in Minneapolis. They manufactured and packaged industrial chemicals. My job was to move 55-gallon drums of chemicals from one place to another. Grace-Lee was a dangerous place to work, but it paid reasonably well for unskilled labor. I recall that a drum of caustic potash (Potassium hydroxide) accidentally opened and the powder came up into the person’s face. He lost an eye and I realized this was an extremely hazardous place to work. Shortly after that, Honeywell hired me to work in their Golden Valley plant.

Honeywell

At Honeywell, I worked in the paint department racking and stacking thermostat rings to go through the paint booth then taking them off the fixture and packaging them. Those thermostats haven’t changed much since 1968 when I work there. I knew that I didn’t want to follow my step-father to be an assembly-line painter, so I decided to join the Navy. I enlisted under a 120-day deferment program where I enlisted in September, saving me from the draft but not going active duty until January, after the holidays.

A-School

Me on barracks steps c. 1969 (This barracks was torn down several weeks after this.)

After Boot Camp, I was enticed to sign a “promissory to extend” in order to go to “A” School and learn a trade. I agreed to do so and went to about a year of electronics training, first eight weeks in San Diego, then 42 weeks at Treasure Island (San Francisco). I was in a really smart class. Nearly everyone in my class received very high grades. After school, your next duty station depended upon where you placed in your class.  I think I was 8th in a 20, so I knew I was going to sea. After I realized that, I took an administrative assignment for a few weeks, which put me into another class. In that new class, I was number one. As number one in the class, I was able to select the best duty station offered–a tour at Boardman Bombing Range, Boardman Oregon. Two years in Oregon sounded great, so I took it.  I thought, “Hopefully the Viet Nam war would be over by the time my duty in Oregon was complete.” No such luck.

Boardman Bombing Range, Boardman, Oregon

QM56 – M56 with gun removed, remote control radio tower and reflector screens installed

In Oregon, I was a bomb spotter most of the time. I worked on transmitters and receiver equipment used to talk with the aircraft doing their bombing runs. Also, the base had M56 90MM Mobile Guns that had their gun removed and then converted to remote control. We would operate them remotely as mobile targets for the aircraft to bomb. In both cases, the electronics seldom broke down, so time was spent on preventative maintenance and repairing the mobile targets. I had no formal training or education while at Boardman.

CTMS – Cryptographic Technical Maintenance School, Mare Island (Vallejo. California

KY-8 – photo courtesy NSA, NSA Museum

After two years in Oregon, it was time for sea duty, and I received orders to the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). On my way there I was sent to CTMS Mare Island (Vallejo, California) and attended a “C” school for eight weeks. There I learned to the KY-8, shipboard crypto equipment used on ships for secure voice communications with aircraft. It was a challenging class (understanding how crypto works can be a challenge) at a big building with no windows on Mare Island.

These Navy schools did what I was hoping for. I learned the basics of a vocation, electronics maintenance and repair, that gave me the fundamentals of electronics that carried me through the rest of my life. Navy Schools were a great beginning, but I wanted more. The USS Kitty Hawk and the Program for Afloat College Education would help me further my education.