Online Class: Genealogy 101

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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. 

Course Requirements

The course is open to everyone. No art experience required.There are no required books.  All material will be given online and through netlinks. You'll need a high school reading level though.

Course Topics

Lesson 1 – Introduction


  • Definition of genealogy
  • Why are people interested in genealogy?
  • Basics of information sources – online vs. actual records


Lesson 2 – Getting Started


  • Creating a plan for conducting research
  • Figuring out what information you are looking for


Lesson 3 – Where to Begin


  • Making the most of what you already know
  • Tapping family members for information
  • Interviewing family members and others


Lesson 4 – Types of Records – Part 1


  • Vital Records
  • Church records
  • Family records
  • Census records


Lesson 5 – Types of Records – Part 2


  • Immigration
  • Military
  • Land
  • Newspaper
  • Cemetery
  • Wills and Estates


Lesson 6 – Online Sources


  • List and description of the most helpful online resources


Lesson 7 – Learning from Others


  • The value of online discussion forums and lists


Lesson 8 – Documenting Your Findings


  • Picture Taking
  • Voice recordings
  • Written notes


Lesson 9 – Avoiding Common Mistakes


  • A list of the most common mistakes made by those conducting genealogical research and how to avoid them


Lesson 10 – Dealing with Dead Ends


  • How to break through roadblocks
  • When can a professional help?
  • Spotting scams


Lesson 11 – Special Situations


  • Adoption
  • African-American
  • Jewish
  • Native Americans


Lesson 12 – Keeping it all Organized


  • Filing Systems
  • Software
  • Preserving records


Lesson 13 – Family Histories


  • Writing a family history
  • Publishing a family history

Course Materials

All the course material required to complete this course is included.

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a practice assignment and lesson review quiz that will directly apply what you have learned.
Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

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.
  • Know how to write and publish your family history, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
Lesson 1 Assignment: Why Genealogy20
Lesson 1: Introduction8
Lesson 2 Assignment: Planning it Out20
Lesson 2 : Getting Started10
Lesson 3 Assignment: Charting it Out20
Lesson 3 : Sorting it all Out9
Lesson 4 Assignment: Photographs galore20
Lesson 4 :Looking for Clues8
Lesson 5 Assignment: Record Sources20
Lesson 5 : Official Records: Part 19
Lesson 6 Assignment: Search Practice20
Lesson 6 : Official Records, Part 27
Lesson 7 Assignment: Land Records Search20
Lesson 7 : Official Records, Part 310
Lesson 8 Assignment: Joining Lists20
Lesson 8 : Learning from Others10
Lesson 9 Assignment: Making Mistakes20
Lesson 9 : Avoiding Common Mistakes10
Lesson 10 Assignment: Problems Encountered20
Lesson 10 : Dealing with Dead-ends8
Lesson 11 Assignment: Handling Special Situations20
Lesson 11 : Handling Special Situations9
Lesson 12 Assignment: Organization20
Lesson 12 : Keeping it All Organized10
Discovery at Family Gatherings30
Lesson 13 Assignment: Making a Plan20
Lesson 13: Family Histories7
The Final Exam51
Total Points:456

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