Do you wish to improve your genealogy research skills? Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate-level genealogist, you have room to hone your skills to make your research better, more accurate, and more thorough, so you can discover more about your ancestors. There are books you can read on the subject, and they can be quite helpful in improving your skills. However, nothing is quite like improving your skills through a class. You will actually get hands-on practice that will help you remember what to do when you’re out in the field doing it on your own. You don’t have to go to a college or adult education facility to take a genealogy research class. The Internet offers plenty. Here are the three best ones you should consider taking if you are serious about getting your research skills to the next level.
1. The National Genealogical Society Family History Skills Course
This online course is given by the prestigious National Genealogical Society, and it is free to members. If you’re not already a member, you can get an annual membership for just $65 and take the class. It has a lot to offer you. Some of the benefits of the class include:
- Learning how to property record genealogy information you find during your research
- How to look for information in published sources, as well as how to find the right sources
- Locating and accessing more recent records that may not yet be available to the general public
- Where to look for birth, death, and marriage records for ancestors in the 19th century and farther back in history
- How to use online library catalogs and other digital finding aids to assist in your research
- How to properly write source citations for the information you include in your official family history
The course does not go over using the Internet itself to do genealogy research. While it does cover online catalogs and provides links to websites that may be helpful in some lessons, the real focus of the course is to learn to do genealogy with physical sources in the real world. You’ll have to step away from the computer eventually in your research. This course shows you how to do it.
2. FamilySearch.org’s Beginning Genealogy Courses
FamilySearch.org is the website run by the Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints, and is one of the largest repositories of free genealogy records in the world. It also has some free online classes that are well worth your time. If you are a beginning genealogist, you may want to consider taking their entire spectrum of Beginning Genealogy courses.
Each course is an online mini-video of around five to six minutes in length, and will teach you the basics of using different types of records in your genealogy research, ways to stay organized, best methods for interviewing living family members, and how to record sources. There are 21 courses in the beginner’s category in all, and you can easily go through them in just part of a day. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll learn and how much your research skills will improve after you take these courses.
3. University of Toronto, St. Michael’s College: National Institute for Genealogical Studies
The university offers a catalog of online genealogical courses for both amateur family historians as well as professional genealogists. You can look through their online catalog and decide which courses are the ones that interest you the most, or that are best for your level of research. Most courses last between six and eight weeks, with online interaction with professors and students, as well as homework assignments. Some of the courses can even be used toward college credit, or toward your certification as a professional genealogist with the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Registration fees vary for each course, but are generally quite reasonable, especially for college level coursework.
Seriously consider looking into any of these online genealogy courses. You naturally want to improve your research skills so you can make excellent breakthroughs in your research. These courses will give you the skills you need to achieve these goals and more. They are all a worthwhile investment of your time and money as they will make you a better genealogist.