A new session of each course starts monthly. If enrolling in a series of two or
more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two
All courses run for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end. Two lessons
are released each week for the six-week duration of the course. You do not have
to be present when lessons are released. You will have access to all lessons until
the course ends. However, the interactive discussion area that accompanies each
lesson will automatically close two weeks after the lesson is released. As such,
we strongly recommend that you complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The final exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the final
exam has been released, you will have two weeks to complete all of your course work,
including the final exam.
Lesson 01 - Where Do I Begin?
In our first lesson, you'll learn how to gather family information and organize your collection of materials. You will discover which sources provide the best information and explore standard collection methods and interview techniques. Your instructor will provide you with a PDF toolkit that includes all the forms you'll need to get started. Each lesson ends with a small crossword puzzle to help you remember important genealogy terms.
Lesson 02 - What Do You Want to Learn?
Today you'll answer the question, What’s missing in my family tree? You'll organize your findings using research timelines, then determine which records will be the most helpful. You will also use different Internet search techniques including an online search of the Social Security Death Index.
Lesson 03 - Vital Records (Birth, Death and Marriage)
In this lesson, you'll explore and analyze vital records such as Birth, Death, and Marriage. You will also learn how to request copies for your research and what to look for in those records. This lesson uses several easy-to-follow examples for finding vital records in databases on the Internet.
Lesson 04 - Census Records
This is perhaps the most important of all our lessons. Today, you will learn the value of census records and discover that spelling really doesn't count! You will learn which census records are available, where to find them, and how to analyze them. This lesson uses three hands-on examples you can try for searching the complete 1880 US Census and the 1881 Census for Canada and Great Britain, without leaving your house or renting microfilm.
Lesson 05 - Why Can't I Find My Ancestors?
In this lesson, you'll hear some of the reasons why you may not be able to find an elusive ancestor. Contrary to what you may think, they're not in a witness protection program! You'll explore the Soundex system and learn its value in solving some mysteries. You'll also learn how to analyze old handwriting.
Lesson 06 - How Computers Search
Today, you'll learn how computers search, both on and off the Internet. Local and distant searches—when done properly—can answer many of your questions. You’ll also learn how to use the LDS Library Web site to find published information, saving you hours or days of research time.
Lesson 07 - Potpourri
In this lesson, you'll explore writing styles, unusual resources, and the value of e-mail. You'll discover the value of mailing lists and learn how to subscribe, unsubscribe, and post messages. You’ll also learn how to search past archives for messages that might help fill in missing branches on your family tree.
Lesson 08 - Military Records
Today you'll learn what resources are available for researching military records and where to find them. The example in this lesson walks you through a search of the US Civil War database and explains how valuable pension records can be in learning more about your ancestors.
Lesson 09 - Land Records
Today, you’ll learn to research maps, deeds, and grants for genealogy. You will investigate abstracting deeds and do a search of the Bureau of Land Management Web site for Land Grants and Homesteading Patents.
Lesson 10 - Immigration
This lesson explains how our ancestors immigrated. You will learn the immigration patterns to America and discover how to use naturalization and passport documents. Your class has an account already set up at the Ellis Island Web site for you to use. The assignment will walk you through a real example and eventually show you the actual ships manifest.
Lesson 11 - Newspapers, Directories, Periodicals, and Wills
Today, you’ll learn about some of the exciting things that can come from researching newspapers, city directories, periodicals, and wills. You’ll also learn a great way to find collateral lines (cousins), and perhaps fill in some middle names or reveal new locations by sharing your work with others.
Lesson 12 - Genealogy Tools, Sources, and Software Reviews
In our last lesson, we'll explore more genealogy tools, sources, and software. Your instructor has narrowed down the best genealogy software programs and will review each one. By using a software program, you can discover how easy it is to put it all together. The assignments for Genealogy Basics use easy-to follow-examples that walk you through real-time searching on many superb Web sites.