Introduction to Medieval Genealogy (501)


Tutor: Gillian Waters


Don't stop tracing your family once you have exhausted the parish registers. It is possible to trace lines back beyond the 1500s, and this course outlines some of the ways that you can break into medieval genealogy. It will help you create the foundations for researching medieval records, describe the nature of medieval records, on-line locations and finding guides that can improve your chances of finding direct or probable relations. It will also help you understand the geographical and political landscapes of medieval England, including general histories and the key events which generated records.

Topics covered include using medieval pedigrees, heralds visitations and how to prove (or disprove) the genealogies given by using inquisitions post mortem, feet of fines, chancery and other government records as well as taxation, church and military records. It is possible to find a foothold into medieval genealogy using many Tudor and Stuart records; you will be shown ways in which you can push the boundaries further back. Many medieval records were written in medieval Latin and medieval French, but do not panic! In this introductory overview of medieval genealogy we will concentrate on the most accessible sources, gaining contextual background to understand medieval society and the nature of medieval records; how they were put together, and their limitations. Whilst this course is intended to be an introduction to medieval genealogy, it will depend on the family history research you have already completed in the 16th and 17th centuries, so if you are beginning your genealogical journey perhaps this course is one for the future.

Lesson Headings:
  • Starting out on Medieval Research- identifying families to track
  • Planning the move to Medieval Records-getting to grips with medieval pedigrees
  • Records of the Landed Classes- the structure of medieval society and the meanings of terminology
  • Reading week- a chance to do some background research
  • Medieval Church records, Military records and Taxation

Each lesson contains exercises and activities and a minimum of one hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

STUDENTS SAID "Some of the examples in the lessons were very interesting. It was most helpful to have to sketch out a research plan."

"A lot of information and MANY useful links and sources given."

Relevant Countries: England

Course Length: Equivalent to 5 weeks
Start Date: 09 Jan 2017
Cost: £62.00

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