Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Free BYU web courses in family history...

There are so many great resources and articles currently available on how to begin family history research for the first time. I will soon add a short post giving my own insights on that topic, particularly as it pertains to starting your family history research in an internet-driven world. For today, however, I just wanted to share a great resource for the genealogist just getting started.

Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, offers free personal enrichment courses on its website. There are several courses on family history research. There are courses from Introduction to Family History Research and Writing Family History to learning the basics about Family, Vital or Military Records. In addition, they have a large section of family history courses that focus on research in particular regions or ethnic areas. This section currently includes learning about researching various types of French, German and Scandinavian records, as well as a class on Huguenot Research. I highly recommend going through some of the introductory family history courses if you are just starting out. The current personal enrichment course list can be reached here.

You can always find countless articles all over the internet about various family history research techniques and tips. However, before overwhelming yourself with pages and pages of Google results to sift through, I would suggest a simpler approach in the beginning:

1) - Take the BYU Introduction to Family History Research course online.

2) - Go through the courses on Family, Vital and Military Records, so you can understand these basic record types and how to use them in your research.

3) - Finally, go to your local library or online bookstore and search for a book on using land records in genealogy research.

If you understand the basics about family, vital, military and land records, you'll be well on your way to being able to track down your ancestors without having to re-invent the wheel. Remember, we are not just collecting names for our family tree; we are attempting to put the pieces of someone's life puzzle together. To get a more complete picture, we need to use various types of records. Understanding these basics is a great way to really get going in your genealogical work!

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