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Genealogy Basics

Tracing your family’s history is a fascinating journey. Genealogy Basics will help you understand the genealogy research process and the way we interpret the information we find. This course guides you through the search process for family names using several subscription-based Web sites, 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!

6 Weeks / 24 Course Hrs
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Starting April 17 | May 15

Genealogy Basics


Details + Objectives

Course Code: gen

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 the course is taught
  • Instructor-led course
  • 6 weeks in duration
  • Courses begin each month
  • 2 lessons released each week
  • 24 course hours
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


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Week 1

In your first lesson you will look at what is missing in your family tree. You will 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. Then you will organize your findings using research timelines, and determine which records will be the most helpful. You will learn to use different Internet search techniques.

Week 2

In this lesson you will explore and analyze vital records such as birth, death, and marriage. You will learn how to request copies for your research and what to look for in those records. Then 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. 

Week 3

In this lesson you ill discover some reasons why you may not be able to find and elusive ancestor. You will also learn how to analyze old handwriting. Then you will learn how computers search, both on and off the Internet. You will also learn how to use the LDS Library Web to find published information.

Week 4

In this lesson you will explore writing styles, unusual resources, and the value of e-mail. You will discover how to search past archives for messages that might help fill in missing branches on your family tree. Then you will learn what resources are available for researching military records and where to find them. 

Week 5

This lesson will show you how 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. Then you will learn about immigration patterns to America and discover how to use naturalization and passport documents.  

Week 6

Finally you will learn about some of the exciting things that can come from researching newspapers, city directories, periodicals, and wills. You will discover a great way to find cousins and perhaps fill in some middle names or reveal new locations by sharing your work with others. You will look at many more genealogy tools, sources and software. 

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Instructors & Support

Carrie Ehrfurth

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

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.




There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements: 

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

Software Requirements: 

  • PC: Windows XP or later.
  • 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 Flash Player. Click here to download the Flash Player.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
Instructional Materials

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


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When can I get started?

A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits.

How does it work?

Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.

How long do I have to complete each lesson?

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.

What if I need an extension?

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.

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