A personal note from Louise…
I have some major changes in my life… I am retiring! After 30 years in the educational field of the genealogy community, I sold The National Institute for Genealogical Studies.
Here’s a bit of history:
A few years later, in 1997, at the Faculty of Information Studies in The University of Toronto, I led an eight-week program on Climbing Your Family Tree. I was joined by other genealogists to lecture on various topics for the family historian. That was when The National Institute for Genealogical Studies was born! Though we are no longer affiliated with the University of Toronto, we appreciate they helped us become a great opportunity for genealogists.
Twenty-five years later, The National Institute is still the Leader in genealogical education with over 240 courses and 13 certificate programs even as it will become an international entity under the guidance of the new executive director. I am proud to say that at the Institute, there is something for everyone, from the beginner to those who want a career in genealogy. We have courses for records in Canada and the USA, but also from as far away as Australia and New Zealand, and so many countries in between. Courses on such a variety of topics are included from Planning a Reunion or Preserving Precious Documents or Researching Social History to Choosing a Genealogy Career and Skill Building; there are topics for everyone.
This journey has been incredible. The Internet revolutionized the genealogy world. We’ve delivered our courses entirely online starting in 1999! I must admit, it has been exciting.
All of this couldn’t be achieved alone. Thanks to a team of individuals, each passionate for genealogy. I have so many to thank. Let’s start with Karen Melville from the University of Toronto, who believed in us, and let us put our foot in the door. Our early program architects, especially Penelope Christensen, Sharon Murphy, Beverly Rice, Brian Hutchison, and Kory Meyerink. The authors of course materials… there are so many. Our current staff and consultants, Susanna de Groot, Gena Philibert-Ortega, Cheryl Levy, Brenda Wheeler, and Laurette Viau: student consultations, preparation of course materials, virtual meetings, social media interaction, posting final marks, student support, and shipping products — each individual is so important in their role. Jith Liyanage, our programmer, helped since the beginning of The Institute; what would I have done without him!
My fabulous family. I remember saying to my mother 25 years ago, I’ll be really busy for three years (that’s how long I thought I needed to put together the Canadian program. I never thought we’d continue with everything else we have done! The support from my brother Donald, and sister-in-law, Marlene, and my step-kids, Rachelle and Daniel and their spouses, has always been there. And especially, my Maman and Papa, Denise and Jules, and my husband Michel; always my “Rock of Gibraltar” support system. If I asked in the early days for help with binding books or folding flyers or helping at a conference, they were always there to lend a hand. In the last many years, Michel has not only been there with moral support and accounting assistance, but also as my muscle. He carried lots of boxes of print materials into and out of our office in preparation to send to students!
To everyone who has helped along the way, a sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart. This could not have happened without all your help and dedication.
And now, what does the future hold for The Institute?
Angela Breidenbach, a graduate student of our English program, is the new executive director. She’s a successful author and administrator. Angie has new visions for The Institute. New blood is always good in any organization. I can’t wait to see what she will develop!
And what does the future hold for me? I will turn my attention to spend some quality time with my husband, parents, step-kids, three lovely grandchildren, and friends. Hopefully, some great travelling to all corners of Canada and the USA, and then off to international destinations we want to explore. Without a doubt, there will be new adventures in my future!
Often, I am told, I sound so passionate. Well, I am. I believe I am passionate because of those who worked with The Institute, and you, our students. Our students are so excited about genealogy or about starting a new career. Your enthusiasm about genealogy is contagious. A huge thank you to our students all the way back to 1997. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of the history of this amazing story. The National Institute for Genealogical Studies as it becomes the International Institute of Genealogical Studies is a success story because of the involvement of every one of you. Thank you, thank you! You have given me joy and ‘joie de vivre’ throughout the years.
Louise St Denis, Director Emeritus
The National Institute for Genealogical Studies
The International Institute of Genealogical Studies offers quality online education with over 240 courses. Our wide range of courses covers specific countries, enhances methodology research, build skills to maximize your research time, and all count toward the certification you choose.
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