Online Class: Genealogy 101

In this course, we will present tips and strategies for beginning the process of constructing your family tree, study basic genealogy terms and tools, as well as describe the various records and sources available for finding information.

no certificate
- OR -
with CEU Certificate*
Start Right Now!
$90.00 (with CEU Certificate)
Taking multiple courses? Save with our platinum program.
  • 13
  • 28
    Exams &
  • 4,201
    have taken this course
  • 9
    average time
  • 0.9

Course Description

Genealogy is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the United States. According to some experts, nearly 75% of Americans are interested in discovering their family history. There are many reasons for this: some people are interested in learning more about their heritage, others want to preserve their family's history for future generations, while still others become involved as a means of spending time with older relatives. Whatever the reason, based on the number of books, web sites, and software programs devoted to this topic, there is widespread interest that continues to grow.

While taking on the task of researching your family tree can appear – and in many cases actually be – a daunting task, it is far from impossible. Thanks to the increasing availability of information online, many people can easily conduct a great deal of their research from the comforts of their own home. In this course, we will present tips and strategies for beginning the process of constructing your family tree. In addition to describing the various records and sources available for finding information, we will help you to understand some basic genealogy terms and tools. We will also discuss the steps that you can take to permanently preserve your family's records and history.

What is Genealogy?

Simply put, genealogy is the study of family history. Make no mistake however, genealogy is anything but simple.  

When one undertakes the task of researching their family history, they will delve into the personal histories of their ancestors, and learn about the way in which these people lived. They will look at the connections that exist between individuals in an effort to understand the relationships that were formed over the course of time. As various documents and records are analyzed for clues, there will be lessons in economics, geography, law, politics, and religion.  

When we think of genealogy, it is usually in the context of researching our family trees. It may surprise you to learn that for many, genealogy is a scholarly pursuit, with genealogists specializing in areas of research such as military, immigration, and legal records. There are others whose expertise is in the area of DNA and its application to genealogical research.  

Why Are People Interested in Genealogy?

By some accounts, genealogy is the second most popular hobby in the United States with approximately 70 percent of Americans expressing some interest in constructing their family tree. Their reasons are varied; some people simply want to know more about the people who came before them, others may be trying to decipher some obscure clues left behind in a box of old letters or photographs, while others may be hoping to find a connection to a famous historical figure. Some people begin their research with the hope of providing their children and future generations with a written family history. Whatever the reason, it seems as though once people delve into genealogical research, they find it difficult to stop.  

What Are We Looking For?

Obviously, the more information we can uncover during our research, the better. At its basic level, however, researching a family tree should yield the following information for each person:
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Parents' names
  • Date and location of marriage
  • Names and birthdates of children
  • Date and place of death 
With these basic facts in hand, it is possible to do more extensive research which will help you to learn more about your ancestors and what their lives may have been like. 

Where Do We Find It?

Before the miracle we call the Internet was available, most genealogical research was painstakingly conducted in libraries, city halls, cemeteries, and other places that may have contained records that held the clues to one's past. And while the resources that are available on the Internet will make your research infinitely easier, it will not completely replace the need to visit some - or all - of the locations mentioned above. This is because, while great progress has been made with respect to making this information available online, there are still countless records that exist only in their original, paper form. As we progress through this course, we will provide tips and information for locating the information you are seeking.  

If you are fortunate to have some elderly relatives still living, you may be able to tap into them for information. We will cover interview techniques in a later lesson.  

A Word of Caution

Before we go any further, you should know that researching your family's history will probably not be an easy task. Depending on a number of factors, including how far back you wish to go, how much information you have to start with and the countries from which your ancestors originate, you may find yourself often frustrated and wanting to give up. The key thing to remember is that this type of research cannot be conducted overnight.  In fact, it may take you years to fully complete your research. Don't despair; if you are like the majority of people who take on this type of project, you will quickly find yourself engrossed in the task at hand and will work through the many roadblocks you are sure to encounter. 

Ready? Let's get started. 

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video  
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.4 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(3,767 votes)

Lesson 1: Introduction to Genealogy

Simply put, genealogy is the study of family history. Make no mistake however, genealogy is anything but simple. Additional lesson topics: Starting your family History 28 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video A
  • Lesson 1 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Lesson discussions: Why Genealogy?; Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment: Why Genealogy
  • Assessment: Lesson 1: Introduction

Lesson 2: Getting Started

Chances are, you didn't wake up this morning and think, "Gee, I think I'll take an online genealogy course today." Additional lesson topics: National Archives; IRB Certification 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video A
  • Lesson 2 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Lesson discussions: New or Seasoned?
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment: Planning it Out
  • Assessment: Lesson 2 : Getting Started

Lesson 3: Sorting It All Out

Feeling overwhelmed yet? If you are, don't despair, because in this lesson, we will show you how to begin to get a handle on the information you have gathered so far and begin to get it organized. Additional lesson topics: Pedigree Chart Video 29 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video A
  • Lesson 3 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment: Charting it Out
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 : Sorting it all Out

Lesson 4: Looking for Clues

Contrary to what you may believe, it is not always necessary to conduct an extensive search for information about your family's past. Additional lesson topics: Overlooked Clues in Genealogical Research 28 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video A
  • Lesson 4 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment: Photographs galore
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 :Looking for Clues

Lesson 5: Official Records (Part 1)

Official records-those records kept by local municipalities, churches, and other entities, represent the most accurate source of information. 29 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video A
  • Lesson 5 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment: Record Sources
  • Assessment: Lesson 5 : Official Records: Part 1

Lesson 6: Official Records (Part 2)

In this lesson, we continue looking at some of the most common sources of information that can help you piece together your family tree. Additional lesson topics: Immigration Records 27 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video A
  • Lesson 6 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment: Search Practice
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 : Official Records, Part 2

Lesson 7: Official Records (Part 3)

As you may have guessed based on the amount of time we have devoted to this topic, there is a wealth of information available in official records. Additional lesson topics: Land Records Video 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video A
  • Lesson 7 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment: Land Records Search
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 : Official Records, Part 3

Lesson 8: Learning from Others

As you can probably imagine, the Internet has made networking with genealogists from around the world nearly effortless. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video A
  • Lesson 8 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Assignment: Joining Lists
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 : Learning from Others

Lesson 9: Avoiding Common Mistakes

Let's face it, if you're new to all of this, you are bound to make a few mistakes along the road to filling out your family tree. And if you do, don't worry - most of them are fixable. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video A
  • Lesson 9 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment: Making Mistakes
  • Assessment: Lesson 9 : Avoiding Common Mistakes

Lesson 10: Dealing With Dead Ends

Even with all the resources available, chances are that you are going to hit at least one roadblock in your quest to fill in your family tree. Additional lesson topics: Overcoming Brick Walls 28 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video A
  • Lesson 10 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Lesson discussions: Road Blocks
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Assignment: Problems Encountered
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 : Dealing with Dead-ends

Lesson 11: Handling Special Situations

Up to this point, we've been proceeding with the "one size fits all" approach -- meaning that there is nothing atypical about your family tree. But, we all know that the world - and its inhabitants - are far from "one size fits all." Additional lesson topics: Adoption 29 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video A
  • Lesson 11 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment: Handling Special Situations
  • Assessment: Lesson 11 : Handling Special Situations

Lesson 12: Keeping It All Organized

In the last 11 lessons, we've covered a great deal of ground, and have given you plenty of direction for researching your family tree. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video A
  • Lesson 12 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Assignment: Organization
  • Assessment: Lesson 12 : Keeping it All Organized

Lesson 13: Family Histories

For many genealogists, the ultimate goal is writing a family history. As daunting as that task may sound, there are ways to turn that goal into a reality. In this lesson, we will discuss how to write and publish your family history. 108 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video A
  • Lesson 13 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Lesson discussions: Let us know what you think of this course; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: Lesson 13 Assignment: Making a Plan
  • Complete Assignment: Discovery at Family Gatherings
  • Assessment: Lesson 13: Family Histories
  • Assessment: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe how to begin the process of researching your genealogy.
  • Describe where to look for clues.
  • Describe where and how to find official records kept by local municipalities, churches, and other entities.
  • Describe using technology to connect with other people that have information you need.
  • Describe how to avoid common mistakes.
  • Summarize how to write and publish your family history.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Genealogy 101
Course Number: 7550451
Lessons Rating: 4.4 / 5 Stars (3,767 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 0.9 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $90.00 U.S. dollars

Choose Your Subscription Plan

Course Only
One Course
No Certificate / No CEUs
for 6 months
Billed once
This course only
Includes certificate X
Includes CEUs X
Self-paced Yes
Instructor support Yes
Time to complete 6 months
No. of courses 1 course
Certificate Course
One Course
Certificate & CEUs
for 6 months
Billed once
This course only
Includes certificate Yes
Includes CEUs Yes
Self-paced Yes
Instructor support Yes
Time to complete 6 months
No. of courses 1 course
Platinum Yearly
Certificates & CEUs
per year
Billed once
Includes all 500+ courses
Includes certificate Yes
Includes CEUs Yes
Self-paced Yes
Instructor support Yes
Time to complete 12 Months
No. of courses 500+
Platinum 2 Years
Certificates & CEUs
for 2 years
You save $79.00!
Billed once
Includes all 500+ courses
Includes certificate Yes
Includes CEUs Yes
Self-paced Yes
Instructor support Yes
Time to complete 24 Months
No. of courses 500+

Student Testimonials

  • "The instructor was outstanding. The speed with which he graded the lessons and quizzes was far better than I had expected. With each lesson submitted he inserted comments and remarks which were presonalized to my lesson and were greatly appreciated." -- Frank B.
  • "Net links will prove very helpful in my family history search. Instructor's feedback was very useful and encouraging." -- Michelle B.
  • "This course Genealogy I recommend to anybody. It gives so much information...The instructor is one of the Best, he is very helpful, he has lot of knowledge." -- Sophie S.
  • "I found the instructor very prompt with his feedback and very accessible. I thought the material presented in each topic was well oganized and it gave me a good appreciation how things went together. I also enjoyed a number of the links to other web page topics. They were interesting and in one case I actually found out new information about an ancestor." -- Robert B.
  • "I found all the material to be helpful...the links, etc., and also the comments from the professor were motivational :)I thought the professor was very helpful and his comments made me more determined and motivated." -- Christi N.
  • "It was all very useful. I have been genealogy for some time, but this course presented things in a way I hadn't thought about before. As a result, I was able to overcome some roadblocks and add a few more generations to my family tree." -- Sue B.
  • "I found the course was very organized." -- Sheryl B.

Related Courses