Learn where to look, who to contact, and how to use research tools to begin an exciting and fascinating exploration of your roots.
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!
- This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.
- 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. 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 Material Requirements:
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.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.
1. Where Do I Begin?
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.
2. What Do You Want to Learn?
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.
3. 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.
4. Census Records
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.
5. 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.
6. How Computers Search
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 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.
8. Military Records
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.
9. Land Records
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 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 website for you to use. The assignment will walk you through a real example and eventually show you the actual ships manifest.
11. Newspapers, Directories, Periodicals, and Wills
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.
12. Genealogy Tools, Sources, and Software Reviews
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. The assignments for Genealogy Basics use easy-to follow-examples that walk you through real-time searching on many superb websites.