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Getting a Genealogical Education

Once you have gathered information on your family, what's next? What do you do with it? How do you analyze it? Where do you go from here? Taking advantage of the many educational opportunities in the genealogical world can answer these questions and many more.


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Resource: GenWeekly
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So, you have been collecting information on your family. You may have notebooks full of information or scraps of paper everywhere. Now what? How do you analyze all that information? How do you distinguish between different people with the same name, in the same area, at the same time? How do you break down that brick wall you have encountered? Where do you go from here?

Whether your goal is to become a certified genealogist or to simply conduct research on your own family, getting a good genealogical education can help you conduct high quality research, using the highest genealogical standards. It can also help you in finding the best ways to break down those brick walls, find new repositories to conduct research, organize your research, and many other topics to aid you in your search for your ancestors.

There are many ways to receive a genealogical education, from free online courses to genealogical conferences and college degrees. Other ways include regularly reading of at least one scholarly genealogical journal and downloading online research guides and short essays that will give you an overview of specific topics such as using a specific repository or researching in a particular geographical area.

Here is a list of just a few of the available places to get your genealogical education:

1. Online courses for pay: is a group of expert genealogists offering four-week courses on a wide variety of topics, including Adoption Investigation, African-American genealogy, Jewish Genealogy, and Researching in the Northeast United States. Each course is $34.50.

· National Genealogical Society (NGS) offers several courses including topics such as Transcribing, Extracting and Abstracting Genealogical Records, Working with the Census, and others. NGS also offers "American Genealogy – A Home Study Course," which is an in-depth course consisting of 16 lessons. Students have up to three years to complete this course.

· Pharos Tutors offers courses in British, United States and Caribbean genealogy

2. Free online courses:

· has several free courses for beginners to advanced researchers.

· Brigham Young University (BYU) offers a free course on researching your ancestors.

· New England Historic Genealogical Society offers a series of online seminars

3. Reading:

·, the website of the Mormon Church, has hundreds of articles (most in PDF format) on topics ranging from researching in specific geographical locations (worldwide) to maps and historical background.

· Genealogical journals such as The American Genealogist (TAG), National Genealogical Society Quarterly, and The New England Historical Genealogical Register.

· Our own GenWeekly!

4. Conferences:

· Local Genealogical Society conferences – usually one day events, many times with nationally known genealogists. These can be free to members to a few dollars admission.

· National or Regional Conferences. These can last anywhere from 2 – 4 days. These are wonderful ways to hear several top speakers and to meet fellow genealogists from all over the country! Conferences include:

1. NERGC held somewhere in New England (in 2009 it was held in Manchester, NH), every two years

2. Federation of Genealogical Societies (to be held in Tennessee in 2010)

3. NGS Family History Conference held yearly in a different location around the country.

5. College and other On-Site Courses offering genealogy programs:

· Boston University offers a Certificate in Genealogical Research

· Samford University, Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR)

· National Institute on Genealogical Research (National Archives)

· Brigham Young University

· University of Washington in Seattle

· Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy

6. Research trips:

· NGS sponsors a trip to Salt Lake City twice a year

· New England Historic Genealogical Society also sponsors a trip to Salt Lake City

7. Regional Seminars:

· New England Historic Genealogical Society

· New York Genealogical and Biographical Society

· Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree

Listed above are just a few of the educational opportunities available in the United States. There are many more both in the U. S. and around the world. Take the time to check them out. Not only are they informational and educational - they are fun!

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2009.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

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