Genealogy Basics

Learn to trace your family history and make it come alive. This course provides hands-on examples that help you dig deeper into your family's past using several subscription-based websites that you will be able to access during the course.
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6 Weeks / 24 Course Hrs
Starting  August 18, 2021
Offered in partnership with your preferred school

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Learning method

Course code: gen

Tracing your family's history is a fascinating journey. Genealogy Basics will help you understand the genealogy research process and how to interpret the information you find. This course guides you through the search process for family names using several subscription-based websites, which you can access while enrolled in this class.

You will learn through hands-on examples that help you dig deeper into your family's past. You will develop a strategy to accomplish your objectives, evaluate the results, and share that information with others. You will discover where to look, who to contact, and how to make your family history come alive!

What you will learn

  • Learn to identify the techniques of gathering family information and explore interview styles
  • Develop research timelines and learn to locate records
  • Explore and analyze vital records and learn how to request copies for your research
  • Discover resources available for researching military records
  • Learn the research value of maps, deeds, and grants in genealogy
  • Learn to use Will and Probate records as well as newspapers, city directories and periodicals

How you will benefit

  • Go through the fascinating journey of looking at your family history
  • Solve some mysteries and fill in some gaps in your family tree
  • Discover the best software program and find out how you can easily put all you have learned together for your benefit and the benefit of other family members

How the course is taught

  • Instructor-led or self-paced online course
  • 6 Weeks or 3 Months access
  • 24 course hours

In the 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. You will be provided 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.

In this lesson, 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.

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.

This is perhaps the most important of all the lessons. 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.

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.

In this lesson, 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 website to find published information, saving you hours or days of research time.

In this lesson, you'll explore writing styles, unusual resources, and the value of email. 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.

In this lesson, 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.

In this lesson, 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 website for Land Grants and Homesteading Patents.

This lesson explains how your ancestors immigrated. You will learn about America's immigration patterns and discover how to use naturalization and passport documents to find the information you need. Your class has an account already set up on the Ellis Island website for you to use. The assignment will walk you through a real example and eventually show you the actual ships manifest.

In this lesson, 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.

In the last lesson, you'll explore more genealogy tools, sources, and software. This lesson will show you 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.

Carrie Ehrfurth is a historic preservation specialist and works to place buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in art history, a graduate certificate in historic preservation, and a master's degree in business administration. Ehrfurth also researches family genealogy and takes great joy in weaving together historic information to create a complete picture of one's past.

Bob Moyer (deceased) was a college instructor, graphic designer, technical writer, and author of this course. Bob held degrees in education, business, and Civil Engineering. He had more than 12 years of experience as an instructor and developed genealogy courses for several colleges. His passion for research and family history resulted in several genealogy-related books and speaking engagements.

Requirements:

Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or newer.
  • Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.

Other:

  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Prerequisites:

There are no prerequisites to take this course.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

Instructor-Led: A new session of each course begins each month. Please refer to the session start dates for scheduling.
Self-Paced: You can start this course at any time your schedule permits.

Instructor-Led: Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the 6 week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Self-Paced: You have 3 month access to the course. After enrolling, you can learn and complete the course at your own pace, within the allotted access period.

Instructor-Led: The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes two weeks after each lesson is released, so you're encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
Self-Paced: There is no time limit to complete each lesson, other than completing all lessons within the allotted access period.

Instructor-Led: 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 plus 10 days (24 days total) to complete the final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Self-Paced: Because this course is self-paced, no extensions will be granted after the start of your enrollment.