1. Black Friday Sale

    We’re having a Black Friday Sale!

    From Friday 25th November to Monday 28th November inclusive use code FRIDAY15 to get 15% of ANY of our courses!* That’s right, ALL of our courses are included in the sale.

    Don’t know where to start?  Here’s our list of courses coming in January:

    Advanced Military Research – 20th Century Conflict (325)

    This course examines in detail records available for Twentieth Century conflict, the two world wars, the Boer War, the Korean War and other conflicts, including records for men who undertook National Service or were in the Home Guard.

    Discovering more about your Agricultural Labouring Ancestors (242)

    This online course helps to set ag labs in a broader context and suggests sources that will reveal more about the lives of those rural ancestors and the farms on which they worked. The focus is on British farming from 1700-1950.

    Introduction to One-Name Studies (901)

    A one-name study is an exciting journey into your surname’s past. This introduction to one-name studies, written in association with the Guild of One-Name Studies, includes the history of surnames, what a one-name study is, and how to get started.

    So You Think You Know FamilySearch – A Guided Tour (206)

    Discover what you don’t know about English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh resources on the FamilySearch website. This course guides you through the website, offering tips about searching data, browsing formerly inaccessible records and using help.

    Tracing Living Relatives (255)

    This course guides you through the main sources for locating people, how and where to access relevant records, how to prove straightforward family connections, outlines how to present your findings and gives advice on how best to approach potential beneficiaries.

    Apprenticeship Records (281)

    Apprenticeship, both as a private arrangement and under the Poor Laws, generated records which can provide invaluable information for tracing family history. This course will guide you through apprenticeship records and explain how to find them.

    Building on a Solid Foundation – Genealogy methods and techniques (204)

    This genealogy methods and techniques course will build confidence in your family tree, with a walk through technique, research notes and useful research tools, such as research logs, timelines, source analysis and building a weight of evidence.

    Introduction to Medieval Genealogy (501)

    This course provides an overview of medieval genealogy, concentrating on the most accessible sources, giving contextual background to medieval society and the nature of medieval records; how they were put together, and their limitations.

    Researching Online for Advanced Genealogists (480)

    This course examines the main types of online resources which are useful in carrying out research in English and Welsh family history and aims to improve your search skills, so that you can be more confident with your search results.

    17th Century Sources (382)

    For genealogists the 17th century presents new challenges. This course will provide students with an understanding of the problems likely to be encountered in this period, record interpretation, analysis and planning and how to find documents.

    Employment Records (380)

    Many documents indicate occupations in which our ancestors were employed. This course examines what is likely to be found in official and unofficial sources and how information can be used to provide further insights into the lives of our ancestors.

    Want to know more about how Pharos Tutors courses work? Read our handy guide.

    * Only one discount code per transaction. Offer applies from Friday 25th November to Monday 28th November inclusive only (UK time zones). Offer only applies to course dates on the website with places available during the period of the sale.

  2. Pharos Courses this Autumn

    The nights are drawing in, the weather is getting cooler (well, at least in here in the UK). What better time to be thinking about taking an online course and working on your family history or local history project.

    Autumn woods

    We have some great courses coming up to help you:

    17th Century Sources (382)
    Nonconformity – Its Records and History 1600 – 1950 (280)
    Your Military Ancestors (224)
    Manorial Records for Family and Local Historians (401)
    Advanced One-Name Studies (902)
    In Sickness and in Death – researching the ill-health and death of your ancestors (240)
    Victorian and Edwardian Education and Childhood 1820 to 1920 (251)
    Mapping Strategies for Family Historians (343)

     

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH *

    Victorian and Edwardian Education and Childhood 1820 to 1920 (251)

    School time

    Tutor: Linda Newey
    Start date: 7th November 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks

    School records can be a great way to find out more about the community in which your ancestors lived. Some of the records you might find for educational establishments are: School Board minutes, log books, accounts, punishment books, admission registers, lists of pupils, photographs, timetables and staff appointments.

    Here are some examples of the riches you can find in school log books, taken from the log books for the Infant School, Girls School and Boys School in Sawston, Cambridgeshire:

    07 Apr 1887 “Sidney Barker went home on Wednesday morning because he was afraid to pass the master’s dog, thereby losing his attendance.

    27 Jul 1888 “… Holiday given on account of the annual pea picking.

    07 Apr 1891 “The Infant School work could be done much better if the lessons were relieved by a (?) hour or 20 minutes recreation, both morning & afternoon, in a playground. Parents naturally object to 3 hours brain work, without any interval for young children. …

    06 Sep 1893 “Sent Alfred Chapman, Hubert Osborne and Harry Holden home at 2 o’clock to be washed. The parents of the two former boys sent impertinent messages and refused to send the children back again.

    05 Sep 1904 “… Edward Patterson and Cyril Cowling have been successful in gaining County Council Scholarships (Minor) and will proceed to the County School.

    Our course, Victorian and Edwardian Childhood and Education 1820s to 1920s, builds upon education records to consider childhood as a whole. The course explores childhood and education throughout the Victorian and Edwardian eras in England and Wales. It starts by considering the definition of childhood and the various social status influences on the childhood experience, such as wealth, gender and the differences between urban and rural living. You will learn about the influence of philanthropic and charitable organisations, that brought about social change by Acts of Parliament, laws and legislation, all of which ultimately led to improvements in the childhood experience and the provision of education for all. 
By the end of this course, you will know how to locate a wide range of records related not only to education, but many other organisations associated with childhood, and be able to apply this to your own family history research.


    17th Century Sources (382)

    Tutor: Stuart Raymond  
    Start date: 26th October 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks

    For genealogists the 17th century presents new challenges. These are not discouraging – if anything, challenges add interest and enthusiasm to research. Historically it is a fascinating period, and genealogically some familiar records continue to be used so the research is not with entirely new material.

    This course will provide students with a broad understanding of the problems encountered when researching in 17th century records. They will be able to locate indexes and finding aids, document copies and transcripts, and original records. In addition, they will appreciate the research value and practical application of the information found. The course gives significant emphasis to local and regional differences within records as well as to historical context.


    Nonconformity – Its Records and History 1600 – 1950 (280)

    Tutor: Alec Tritton
    Start date: 27th October 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED 
    but booking now for April 2023 *


    Your Military Ancestors (224)

    Tutor: Simon Fowler 
    Start date: 31dt October 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED but booking now for June 2023 *


    Manorial Records for Family and Local Historians (401)

    Tutor: Caroline Adams
    Start date: 31st October 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks
    * Under NEW Instruction *

    Student feedback

    The manorial system was a framework for people’s lives in England and Wales for hundreds of years, enduring well into the 19th century in some areas, and not finally abolished until the 20th century. Manorial records can be used to locate people within a community and to set them in their social and economic context. This course examines the place of the manor in the legal and social system, the records created by the manor, and changes that occurred through the centuries.

    You will read court rolls, look at court books and learn about property transactions, surveys, maps, accounts and even people’s wills that may not be recorded elsewhere. You will be taught to search for and locate manorial records with confidence and understand how to use them to solve genealogical problems.

    Lesson Headings:
    History and development of the manorial system
    * People and their roles
    * Records of the Manor Courts
    * Farming the estate – Surveys, Maps and Rentals
    * Demise of the manorial system


    Advanced One-Name Studies (902)

    Tutor: Julie Goucher
    Start date: 1st November 2022
    Course length: 6 weeks (5 lessons)

    This course is the third of three courses regarding One-Name Studies and builds on the initial learning from the Introduction to One-Name Studies (901) course and the Practicalities of a One-Name Study (903) course. Take one-name study skills to new levels. Whatever drew you into the investigation of a surname you are now deeply immersed in gathering and analysing data. You have mastered the practical aspects of managing your project and are eager to turn your discoveries into something of lasting value.

    Lesson Headings:
    * The One-Name Study theory and practice
    * Interdisciplinary studies – Acquiring the right skill set
    * Surname case studies – Learning from others
    * Synthesis – More than family history
    * Spread the Word – Get Published


    In Sickness and in Death – researching the ill-health and death of your ancestors (240)

    Tutor: Janet Few
    Start date: 7th November 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks
    * BOOKING FAST *

    One thing that all but our most recent ancestors have in common is that they are dead. The health problems and deaths of our ancestors are an integral part of our family’s history. This five week course will help you to set your ancestors’ lives in context by looking at the illnesses, disabilities and diseases that brought about their deaths or had an effect on their well-being. We shall discover a variety of records that might provide information about ill-health or causes of death for specific ancestors, or about prevalent threats to health in the past. The causes, symptoms and treatment of various illnesses will be investigated and significant medical developments of the last 400 years will be explored.

    This is a very popular course so book soon to avoid disappointment.


    Mapping Strategies for Family Historians (343)

    Tutor: Sophie Kay
    Start date: 7th November 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED for November 2022 and February 2023 *
    Keep an eye on the website for new dates or email us to be added to the waiting list.

    That’s all for this month, happy studying!

  3. Pharos courses coming in August and September

    Those of you who receive the Pharos Newsletter will know that we have had a new tutor join us this month. Richard Holt is joining us to tutor out Apprenticeship Records course. This course, part of our Intermediate Certificate programme, starts in September and there are only a handful of places remaining. We have some other great courses coming up in August and September too:

    Researching in Archives for Advanced Genealogists
    Progressing Your Irish Research Online
    First Steps to a One-Place Study
    Wills and Administrations; the riches of probate records
    Organizing Your Genealogy
    Building on a Solid Foundation – Genealogy methods and techniques
    Apprenticeship Records
    Old Handwriting for Family Historians
    Practicalities of a One Name Study


    Researching in Archives for Advanced Genealogists

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH *

    Tutor: Simon Fowler
    Start date: 12th September 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks

    Library card catalogue

    This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Advanced Certificate programme but can also be taken in isolation by anyone wanting to learn more about how to get the most out of archives.

    With such a small proportion of records available online, the serious researcher must make use of all repositories available to them. In order to have the greatest chance of success the researcher should understand how records are kept and how they are most effectively accessed.

    In this course you will learn about the record-keeping framework in England and Wales and be introduced to the cataloguing process and the way archives are arranged and described. You will learn where to find national, local and specialist collections, recognise which repository or archives is the most likely custodian, and how to plan your research day in the archives to make the best use of your time. You will also be introduced to conservation and access issues for fragile documents and get practice finding the documents you are looking for.

    Note: Whilst this course prepares you for your next visit to archives the course itself can be taken completely online.

    Progressing Your Irish Research Online

    Tutor: Chris Paton 
    Start date: 19th August 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks

    Irish flagThere is a common belief that if you have Irish ancestors then you should give up hope of finding out about them, because ‘nothing survived the fire’, referring to the destruction of Ireland’s Public Record Office during the Civil War in 1922. The overall aim of this course is to point out that this is a nonsense, and that the glass is half full and not empty. Whilst there are certainly challenges to be overcome, a great deal can still be accomplished with the many resources now rapidly finding their way online.

    This course will describe the many state created records and church records that can be used to research your Irish ancestry. It will provide a context to understand why they were created, and by whom and point out exactly where to find them online, and how to use them effectively.

     

    Lesson Headings:
    Understanding Ireland’s boundaries, key repositories and platforms
    * The vital records of Church and State
    * Documenting the people: Irish censuses and substitutes
    * Valuation records and inheritance
    * The Decade of Centenaries

    First Steps to a One-Place Study

    Tutor: Janet Few
    Start date: 24th August 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks

    One-place studies are a fascinating blend of local and family history. They are frequently undertaken by family historians wanting to create a context for their ancestors. Through a one-place study, you can investigate the friends, neighbours and associates with whom your family may have interacted and you can begin to understand the community in which they lived.

    This course is designed for those who are just starting on their one-place journey and for more experienced one-placers who would like guidance or inspiration, or who are seeking a more organised approach to their study. It will also be suitable for those who may not want to undertake a full-blown one-place study but who wish to investigate an ancestral area in more detail.

    Lesson Headings:
    * Choosing and Discovering your Place and its People
    * Data Collection 1 – Using more Common Sources (oral testimony, diaries and memoirs; photographs; vital records of birth, marriage and death; gravestones, newspapers, directories and gazetteers, censuses)
    * Data Collection 2 – Further Sources (tax lists, records of land ownership, records of education and occupation, records relating to the movement of people, records of local government)
    * Connecting and Analysing your Data
    * Putting your Findings in Context and Publicising your Study


    Partnership offer:
    Students on our First Steps to a One-Place Study course, who are not already members, may claim free membership of the Society for One-Place Studies for their first year (details in the lesson notes). Existing members of the Society can claim a discount on the Pharos One Place Studies course (see member benefits section of their website).

    Wills and Administrations; the riches of probate records

    Tutor: Linda Newey
    Start date: 5th September 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED but booking now for February 2023 *

    Organizing Your Genealogy

    Tutor: Barbara Baker
    Start date: 5th September 2022
    Course length: 3 weeks

    Getting Organised

    As you research your family history, you collect information, charts, copies of records, notes, lists of sources searched, etc. Whether you are just starting your research or whether you have been at it a while, it is important to be organized and have a record keeping system. It should be easy to file and store information when you get it, and to find it long afterward. Good organization and record keeping will help you assess what you have, what you have learned, and what you need to learn. This three-week course is designed to help you get organized, stay organized and be ready for research online and on location by developing good record-keeping habits.

     

    Lesson Headings:
    Record Keeping Fundamentals
    * Setting Up Your System on Computer
    * Sources, Sources, Sources!

    Building on a Solid Foundation – Genealogy methods and techniques

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    Start date: 12th September 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED but booking now for January 2023 *

    Apprenticeship Records

    Tutor: Richard Holt
    Start date: 13th September 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * LAST FEW PLACES *

    Apprenticeship-Indenture

    Apprenticeship generated a range of records, most of which provide invaluable information for tracing family history.

    The practice of apprenticing young men to learn a trade is first recorded in twelfth and thirteenth century London. It gradually spread to many other towns and cities, and became subject to regulation. The Statute of Artificers 1563 required all tradesmen to serve an apprenticeship of at least seven years before they could trade.

    Provision for apprenticeship was also made under the Poor Laws. Parish overseers could bind children as young as six or seven to serve as apprentices until they were adults. Such bindings were supposed to ensure that children were taken care of at little cost to the parish.

    This course will familiarise you with apprenticeship records, and will explain how to find them. It will also give you a basic understanding of what being an apprentice meant in the period covered.

    Lesson Headings:
    What was an Apprentice?
    * Reading & Interpreting Apprenticeship Indentures
    * Documents dependant on Apprenticeship Indentures
    * Pauper Apprentices

    This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Intermediate Certificate programme but can also be taken in isolation by anyone wanting to learn more about these fascinating records.

    Old Handwriting for Family Historians

    Tutor: Susan Moore 
    Start date: 12th September 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks

    Does reading old documents have you pulling out your hair? Old handwriting, or palaeography, often presents challenges for local and family historians. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a document that you are sure is relevant, but which you cannot read.

    This course takes a practical approach to reading and transcribing old handwriting, starting with the records of the 19th century and moving backwards in time. Students will be given the opportunity to examine handwriting styles and develop an understanding of how handwriting developed over the centuries. The course will then focus on Secretary Hand, a commonly used form during the Tudor and Stuart period. Historians will come across Secretary Hand in many types of documents such as parish registers, wills and inventories. The course aims to equip students with their own set of steps to being able to read, and successfully transcribe, the handwriting in old documents, enabling them to read documents which at first sight might appear to be written using a different alphabet.

    This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Advanced Certificate programme but can also be taken in isolation.


    Practicalities of a One Name Study

    Tutor: Julie Goucher
    Start date: 27th September 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks

    Practicalities of a One Name Study

    The course is designed to enable students to explore the practical steps of maintaining and developing their one-name study through a variety of media and to give some context to the various considerations they will need to explore.

     

    Topics covered:
    Understanding and making the best use of spreadsheets in your study
    * Genealogical Software, what to consider
    * Online Trees and other software
    * The next steps: Preservation and Sharing

     

    That’s all for this month, happy studying!

  4. Free Genealogy – some ideas to get you started

    Free genealogyA lot of family history research costs money, there’s no escaping it: document copies, website subscriptions, travel costs and so on.

    However, there are some free resources to get you started. Here are some of our tips, including some free family tree charts.

     

    Download free charts to help you plan
    Free Websites
    Genealogy Books
    Find Full Text Books for Family History Online
    Make use of Interlibrary Loans 

    Download Free Charts to help your Research

    When you take a Pharos genealogy course, you find yourself armed with plenty of information to expand your family tree. Charts summarise your research in a visual way. They help you identify problems and plan future steps and they are fun to fill out – use charts to get your kids or grandchildren involved in family history.

    Pedigree Chart

    The Pedigree Chart is a great way to summarise your family history research so far, focusing on your ancestors. Start by filling it in with yourself or your chosen ancestor on the left and then add the details of the parents, grandparents, etc. in the spaces to the right. This is your research road map, or skeleton.
    Download here

    Family Group Sheet

    A Family Group Sheet is useful when you start work on a new family. It is also great to act as a prompt when talking to living relatives and wanting to make sure you have not missed any detail.  This chart looks at a single couple and their children.
    Download here

    Free Websites

    When you are stuck it is handy to have some places to look for help. Here are some great general resources:

    Cyndi’s List
    GenUKI
    FamilySearch wiki

    Books Our Tutors Recommend

    There are so many books about sources, methods, strategy, history and geography and it is impossible to recommend just one book. Here are some of our favourites:

    England and Wales

    • Amanda Bevan, Tracing Your Ancestors in the National Archives, The Website and Beyond, (7th ed. The National Archives, 2006)
    • C R Cheney, (ed.) Handbook of Dates for Students of English History (Cambridge University Press, 1995).
    • T. Fitzhugh and S. Lumas, Dictionary of Genealogy.  (A. & C. Black, 1998)
    • Jeremy Gibson and Stuart Raymond, Probate Jurisdictions – Where to look for wills. , (Family History Partnership, 6th ed, 2016)
    • Mark D. Herber, Ancestral Trails (The History Press Ltd; 2nd Rev Ed edition, 2004)
    • David Hey (ed), The Oxford Companion to Family and Local History (OUP, 2008)
    • C. Humphery-Smith, Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers (3rd ed., Phillimore, 2003)
    • Helen Osborn, Genealogy: Essential Research Methods. (Hale, 2012)
    • Colin D. Rogers, The Family Tree Detective (Manchester University Press, 3rd ed. 1997)
    • John and Sheila Rowlands (eds), Welsh Family History: A Guide to Research (FFHS and Genealogical Publishing Company, 2nd edition, 1999)
    • W.E. Tate, The Parish Chest (Phillimore, 1983)
    • Andrew Todd, Family History Nuts and Bolts Problem Solving through Family Reconstitution Techniques (Allen and Todd, 2015)

    Scotland

    • Bruce Durie, Scottish Genealogy, (The History Press, 3rd ed., 2017)
    • National Archives staff, Tracing Your Ancestors in the National Archives of Scotland (Mercat Publishing, 2005)
    • Michael Lynch, Oxford Companion to Scottish History (Oxford, 2001)
    • Chris Paton, Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry through Church and States Records: A Guide for Family Historians (Pen & Sword, 2019)
    • Chris Paton, Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians (Pen & Sword, 2020)
    • The Parishes, Registers and Registrars of Scotland. Scottish Association of Family History Societies. (SAFHS, 1993, rep. many times)

    Ireland

    • John Grenham, Grenham’s Irish Surnames (Eneclann CD)
    • John Grenham, Tracing Your Irish Ancestors (Genealogical Publishing Company, 3rd edition, 2005)
    • George Handran (ed), Handran’s Townlands in Poor Law Unions  (Archive CD book at Eneclann)
    • Richard Killeen, Short History of Ireland (Gill and Macmillan, 1994)
    • Brian Mitchell, The New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland (Genealogical Publishing Company, 2002, reprinted 2008)
    • Chris Paton, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians (Pen & Sword, 2nd ed., 2019)

    Back to top of page

    Find Full Text Books for Family History Online

    Part of the richness of family history research is the variety. It can take you into any part of a library looking up information on almost anything. Similarly you may want to search full-text books online on a wide range of subjects in addition to history and genealogy.

    There are some websites for historians and family historians that either include full-text books or lead you to them. These are a few suggestions.

    England

    Scotland

    Ireland

    For those who want to wander off into other topics and search more widely for online books, try these resources:

     

    Make use of Interlibrary Loans

    Interlibrary loans are available at most public and university libraries throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand and countless other countries. This is an inexpensive way to access books needed for research that are not available locally.

    You can borrow from other libraries outside your library system if the item you want cannot be found its catalogue. All libraries ask that you check the catalogue of your own system before placing an interlibrary loan request.

    Certain items may be restricted and unavailable via interlibrary loan:

    • Old books in poor condition
    • Books less than 12 months old
    • Books that cost less than a stated amount
    • Audio or video tapes, CDs
    • Any other book that a library considers must not be loaned

    Your library may have limits on how many interloan books can be in process at one time. The lending library determines the period of the loan. There may be a fee charged by your home library and by the lending library, and charges for a late return are likely to be higher than the usual rate. Expect to wait for a while, particularly if the book must come a considerable distance.

    Check the website of your own library system for local information or ask at your library.

    Back to top of page

    There are many, many more. If you have your own recommendations please leave a comment below.

  5. Pharos Courses in July 2022

    We have a bumper selection of courses coming up next month, including our brand new course on heraldry, Scottish and European research and a focus on research in the 20th century.

    Unlocking Heraldry for Family Historians

    Tutor: Richard Baker
    Start date: 11th July 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH*

    Dr Richard Baker Pharos TutorThis brand new course on heraldry comes from renowned heraldry expert, Dr Richard Baker. Heraldry was originally a means of personal identification in a world that was largely illiterate, by means of easily recognisable designs which we know as coats of arms. The hereditary character of coats of arms means that the subject is inextricably linked to genealogy and family history.

    This course begins with an introduction to heraldry and the terminology. We will look at different types of coats of arms, and examine how they are being used for personal, civic and corporate identity. We will examine the components of an achievement of arms and the language of heraldry and you will learn to blazon simple coats of arms.

    In the second half of the course, we will move onto ways in which coats of arms are combined in families, how to begin to identify an unknown coat of arms and where to dig for more genealogical information.

    By the end of this course students should be able to:

    * Describe a coat of arms in the language of heraldry or draw a coat of arms from a description
    * Understand the different methods of marshalling arms
    * Identify marks of difference on a coat of arms and be aware of their meaning
    * Implement strategies to identify the bearer of a coat of arms

    Scottish Research Online

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    Start date: 4th July 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks

    Chris PatonScotland was one of the first countries to digitise its major family history records collections for accessibility online, and continues to this day to use such resources to promote a worldwide interest in family history for those with Caledonian connections.

    In the first of our two courses on Scottish research, Chris Paton will lead you through the major websites and record types that you will encounter in your research, and how to analyse the results.

    Lesson Headings:

    * Understanding Scotlands People, FindmyPast, Family Search, Ancestry, and FreeCen
    * Essential Maps and Gazetteers
    * Civil Registration and Census Research
    * Searching in Church of Scotland Registers
    * Scottish Wills and Inventories
    * Take It From Here

    A previous student said: “Excellent tuition from Chris Paton; very good course materials; well-paced; excellent value for money. I very much liked the opportunity to work at my own pace.

    Discovering Your British Family and Local Community in the early 20th Century

    Tutor: Janet Few
    Start date: 11th July 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks

    1921 censusFamily historians often neglect the twentieth century as being not really history but there is plenty to be discovered about individuals and the communities in which they lived between 1900 and 1945. Twentieth century research brings with it the difficulties of larger and more mobile populations as well as records that are closed to view. This course sets out to provide advice for finding out about our more recent ancestors and the places in which they lived.

    The course is all about examining more recent family members in the context of their community and their time. It is ideal for anyone aiming to tell their story in more detail. The course is not just about individuals but also about the communities in which they lived, so local historians and those conducting one-place studies should also find inspiration from these five weeks of study. This year has seen the addition of the 1921 census to the researchers’ toolkit and the course includes a new section about how you can get the most out of the 1921 census.

    Researching Ancestors in Continental Europe (750)

    Tutor: Julie Goucher
    Start date: 12th July 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks

    Map of Europe

    Europe is a complex Continent, spanning more than 50 modern Countries. Europe has seen a huge amount of change, forced religious changes, border changes, war, mass displacement and much more. This course is about creating a solid foundation to research in continental Europe.

    The course explores the standard resources across Europe, key websites, reading material and much more, providing the building blocks for robust and solid foundation research in Europe. We will consider the reasons for migration in the context of historical events. We will also look the culture that the migrants brought with them from their native land, keeping those links alive and also look at the impact of war and displacement and Europeans beyond Continental Europe.

    Each student will receive a set of European Country information sheets with core material for genealogical research meaning that students complete the course with the knowledge and core information to research further.

    Before the Modern Census – Name-rich sources from 1690 to 1837

    Tutor: Else Churchill
    Start date: 26th July 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    FULLU BOOKED

    That’s all for this month, happy studying!

     

     

  6. Pharos Courses Coming in June 2022

    We have lots and lots of great courses coming up for you to choose from in the next month.

    Still to come, in May:

    Introduction to One-Name Studies

    Tutor: Julie Goucher
    Start date: 31st May 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks

    A one-name study is an exciting new journey into your surname’s past. It involves the collection of all the occurrences of a surname. This course is an introduction to one-name studies, written with the guidance of the Guild of One-Name Studies and is suitable for all genealogists who have woken up to the knowledge that they have an interesting and unusual surname.

    Lesson Headings:
    * About One-Name Studies
    * Surnames and their History
    * Core Records you will need and Information gathering
    * Analysing and making sense of your data
    * Practical aspects of running your own One-Name Study

    and, coming in June:

    Your Military Ancestors

    Tutor: Simon Fowler 
    Start date: 6th June 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    COURSE FULL
    but booking now for October 2022

    Victorian Crime and Punishment – Courts, police and prisons

    Tutor: Dave Annal
    Start date: 6th June 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks
    FULLY BOOKED

    So You Think You Know FamilySearch – A Guided Tour

    Tutor: Barbara Baker
    Start date: 6th June 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks

    Since its beginning in 1998, FamilySearch.org has been a leading family history website on the Internet. The website provides access to many of the records, indexes and resources available at the Family History Library, which has one of the largest collections of published, microfilmed and digitized British and Irish records in the world. In recent years technological advances have made it possible for you to search and browse formerly inaccessible records, check geography and boundaries and obtain research advice anywhere, anytime. This course guides you through the highways and byways of FamilySearch.org, offers tips about searching data and using the helps, and brings you to the point where you can say that you really know the FamilySearch website.

    Researching Your Welsh Ancestors

    Tutor: Eilir Daniels  
    Start date: 6th June 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks

    Wales is unique and Welsh research is different. The course is aimed at those who have some basic knowledge of family history research in England and deals with those particular aspects of family history research in Wales which are different to that of England. Despite the fact that, by and large, Wales used the same legal and bureaucratic framework as England, the country’s social, linguistic, cultural and religious fabric mean that a different kind of approach is necessary. The context of research is vitally important and there are difficulties, even for those who have a good level of knowledge and experience with family history research.

     

    Lesson Headings:
    * Key differences between Welsh & English research
    * The Welsh language, place names and surnames
    * Nonconformity in Wales
    * Occupations, migration and emigration
    * Sources and records specific to Wales

    Demystifying DNA for Family Historians

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    Start date: 13th June 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks

    DNA testing

    DNA testing is becoming an increasingly popular tool in genealogical research and has the potential to solve mysteries and brick walls, where other records do not survive. The more its popularity rises and the number tested increases, the greater the chance of success. However, with so many tests available and so many companies to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start.

    This course starts at the beginning, providing you with the tools to understand and demystify DNA testing for use in your own research. You will be guided through what to consider before testing, the different types of DNA, who can test and which test is the most appropriate in different circumstances. You will learn about how DNA is passed down the generations and why this is important, what haplogroups are, and how much you really can rely on ethnicity estimates.

    You will work with examples of real data and have the opportunity to work through techniques with your own results (if appropriate). At the end of the course you will have a toolbox of techniques to interpret your DNA matches with increased confidence.

    The course is suitable both for absolute beginners and those who have taken a test and are beginning to decipher their results.

    Students said:
    “Karen ‘demystified’ the science-speak and with the clear notes and charts, I now feel I have a good understanding of the area.”
    “It has been a fascinating insight into a large, complex and growing area of genealogical research”

    Employment Records

    Tutor: Alec Tritton
    Start date: 16th June 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks LAST FEW PLACES

    Records of employment can do two things; reveal important facts for furthering the genealogical information about a family and provide vivid details of the way your ancestors lived. Records of employment will vary from the scant to the copious; much depends on the occupation. This 5 week course examines what is likely to be found in official and unofficial sources and where and how the information can be used as further insights into the lives and times of our ancestors.

    Lesson Headings:
    * The Professions
    * Merchant Seamen and Coastguard
    * Government employees
    * Town folk
    * Country folk

    That’s all for this month, happy studying!

     

     

  7. Special Offer from Family Tree Magazine

    Family Tree magazine is offering readers a free digital issue of the magazine through to the end of the month, when you sign up to their newsletter.

    This is part of a new drive to promote the hobby and get more people researching their family history.

    Simply sign up to the email at: www.family-tree.co.uk/account/register

    Once you sign up you will immediately receive access to the full April 2022 issue, as a digital ‘page-turner’ edition.

    Editor Helen Tovey said: “We want everyone to sample our wonderful magazine and this seemed like a great way to get people involved and for them to find out more about family history. We’re so proud of our monthly mag, it’s been going since 1984 and is packed with information and inspiration, and we also love putting together our weekly newsletter. Family history is all about sharing and so we’d thought we’d give something back!”

    Highlights of the April issue include:

    • Determining the origin of surnames
    • How your ancestors’ birth dates can hold the key to the past
    • How to use kirk session records
    • The lives and working conditions of tailors, dressmakers & seamstresses
  8. Courses Coming in May 2022

    Our courses starting in May will appeal to a wide variety of interests: Scottish research, title deeds and Chancery records, one-name studies and the road to professional genealogy.

    Scotland 1750-1850 – Beyond the Old Parish Registers

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    Start date: 9th May 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks 

    This is an intermediate course in Scottish family history and assumes students have some experience with research in the Old Parish Registers (OPRs) of the Church of Scotland and in using major websites for Scottish research.

    The course discusses sources that fill the gap when the OPRs are uninformative or missing; for example, records of parish and town administration, occupations, land transfer and taxation.

     

    Deeds and Disputes

    Tutor: Susan Moore
    Start date: 9th May 2022
    Course length: 6 weeks (5 lessons with a reading week)

    Title deeds and the records of the equity courts, such as Chancery, are often neglected sources for family history, because they are considered “too hard”. In this course they are brought to life by Susan Moore, the recognised expert on Chancery records and a published author on the subject.

    As this course is part of our Advanced programme good palaeographical skills for the periods covered are assumed. A knowledge of Latin, while helpful for some title deeds, is not essential.

    Professional Genealogist – Become one, become a better one

    Tutor: Karen Cummings 
    Start date: 16th May 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks

    Do you have ambition to become a professional genealogist? Have you already started taking on clients but are looking for guidance or want to check you have thought of everything? Whether you are already researching for clients or planning to do so, this 4 week professional genealogist course guides you through the professional skills that form the foundation for success.

    This course was developed in association with the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), the professional body for genealogists in England and Wales.

    Introduction to One-Name Studies

    Tutor: Julie Goucher
    Start date: 31st May 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks

    A one-name study is an exciting new journey into your surname’s past. It involves the collection of all the occurrences of a surname. This course is an introduction to one-name studies, written with the guidance of the Guild of One-Name Studies and is suitable for all genealogists who have woken up to the knowledge that they have an interesting and unusual surname.

    Lesson Headings:
    * About One-Name Studies
    * Surnames and their History
    * Core Records you will need and Information gathering
    * Analysing and making sense of your data
    * Practical aspects of running your own One-Name Study

    That’s all for this month, happy studying!

  9. Courses Coming in April 2022

    Here are our courses that start in April,  including a course in Irish research to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, getting organised with your genealogy and taking a look at community history.

    Progressing Your Irish Research Online

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    Start date: 4th April 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks 

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH*

    Happy St Patrick s Day

    Many believe that researching Irish ancestry is a non-starter because “all the records” were destroyed during the Civil War in 1922. This course demonstrates that this is simply not the case and will describe the many state created records and church records that can be used to research your Irish ancestry. It will provide a context to understand why they were created, and by whom and point out exactly where to find them online, and how to use them effectively.

    Lesson Headings:
    * Understanding Ireland’s boundaries, key repositories and platforms
    * The vital records of Church and State
    * Documenting the people: Irish censuses and substitutes
    * Valuation records and inheritance
    * The Decade of Centenaries

    Organizing Your Genealogy

    Tutor: Barbara Baker
    Start date: 4th April 2022
    Course length: 3 weeks

    Post-it notesThis is a hugely popular course on getting organized with your genealogy research. As you begin your family history journey you can quickly become overwhelmed with information, charts, copies of records, notes, lists of sources searched, etc. You may have been researching for years and stop and think “I really need to get more organized here”.

    Whether you are just starting your research or whether you have been at it a while, it is important to be organized and have a record keeping system. It should be easy to file and store information when you get it, and to find it long afterward. Good organisation and record keeping will help you assess what you have, what you have learned, and what you need to learn. This three-week course is designed to help you get organised, stay organised and be ready for research online and on location by developing good record-keeping habits.

    Nonconformity – Its Records and History 1600 – 1950

    Tutor: Alec Tritton 
    Start date: 7th April 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    COURSE FULL but booking now for October 2022

    Recording the Poor – From Parish to Workhouse and beyond

    Tutor: Simon Fowler
    Start date: 18th April 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    COURSE FULL
    but booking now for August 2022

    Church and Community, Selected records 1540 – 1800

    Tutor: Emma Jolly
    Start date: 25th April 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks

    Ickleton parish church

    This is one of the courses in our Advanced Certificate programme, but can also be taken in isolation.

    This course considers the places our ancestors lived in the context of the wider community. It gives you the tools to understand the nature, jurisdictions and administrations under which different types of community existed in the past, and seeks to bring genealogy and local history closer together.

    Lesson Headings:
    * Introduction to Communities in the Past
    * Details of Parish Life
    * The Diocese and Church Court
    * City and Borough

    17th Century Sources

    Tutor: Stuart Raymond
    Start date: 27th April 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks

    This is one of the courses in our Intermediate Certificate programme, but can also be taken in isolation.

    For genealogists the 17th century presents new challenges. These are not discouraging – if anything, challenges add interest and enthusiasm to research. Historically it is a fascinating period, and genealogically some familiar records continue to be used so the research is not with entirely new material. Themes within the course include: the structure of a gentry dominated society, the records created by 17th century civil and ecclesiastical government, and the problems created by the “Commonwealth Gap”.

    That’s all for this month, happy studying!

  10. Courses coming in February and March 2022

    There are lots of courses starting in February and March, including Scottish records, writing up your family history and getting practical with your one name study.

    Scottish Research Online

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    Start date: 28th February 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks 

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH*

    Scotland was one of the first countries to digitise its major family history records collections for accessibility online, and continues to this day to use such resources to promote a worldwide interest in family history for those with Caledonian connections. This course describes the major sites and record types that you will encounter in your research, and how to analyse the results. Most importantly it will inspire you to actively pursue your interest in Scottish genealogy and take it to the next level.

    Lesson Headings:
    Understanding Scotlands People, FindmyPast, Family Search, Ancestry, and FreeCen
    * Essential Maps and Gazetteers
    * Civil Registration and Census Research
    * Searching in Church of Scotland Registers
    * Scottish Wills and Inventories
    * Take It From Here

    Wills and Administrations; the riches of probate records

    Tutor: Linda Newey
    Start date: 21st February 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    COURSE FULL but booking now for September 2022

    Victorian Crime and Punishment – Courts, police and prisons

    Tutor: Dave Annal
    Start date: 23rd February 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks
    COURSE FULL but booking now for June 2022

    Advanced Methods and Reports

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    Start date: 28th February 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    ONE PLACE REMAINING

    This course provides students with the techniques and tools to ensure the best possible evidence for their pedigrees and trees, and is suitable for hobby and professional genealogists alike.

    We look at problems of identity and interpretation, standards for evaluation and analysis, and how to build a case for proof. We will consider the display of charts and genealogy research reports, showing the conventions and standards that are used and that enable written research to be of a high scholarly standard. Students will also practise writing short research reports.

    Before the Modern Census – Name-rich sources from 1690 to 1837

    Tutor: Else Churchill
    Start date: 1st March 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    COURSE FULL but booking now for July 2022

    Local History – Uncovering the Places and Communities connected to your Ancestors

    Tutor: Joe Saunders 
    Start date: 7th March 2022
    Course length: 4 weeks
    COURSE FULL. New date coming soon.

    Are You Sitting Comfortably? Writing and Telling Your Family History

    Tutor: Janet Few
    Start date: 14th March 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks

    Writing your family history is the logical step after genealogical research, and sometimes while research is still in progress. To avoid gathering dust, a family story must be written to appeal to a broad spectrum of relatives and readers, to answer questions of relationships and to stimulate the sharing of knowledge. The history of a family blends a range of information: the ancestors and their stories, the places they knew, and the context of contemporary conditions and event. A good story, based on sound research, is a focal point of a family re-union, and it makes a great gift.

    This five-week course begins with advice on making decisions about what to write about, and what to include, and how to make some order out of the potential chaos of information. It goes on to discover the historical context and how to add interest into your story with background about what was happening nationally and locally and how this might have affected your ancestors. It looks at how knowledge about occupations can bring an ancestor to life, and how and why social history helps you to make sense of it all and frame your story. Finally in week five, you will discover how to add photos and other illustrations as well as options for publishing.This course is about acquiring skills that will help you to present your family history in a coherent and interesting way.

    The course is relevant to anyone who has researched a British or Irish family, with examples taken from English history and records but the techniques can be applied to families from elsewhere as well.

    If you wish to receive feedback and assessment on your writing, there is the option to submit a piece of writing of up to 3,000 words for marking. You will have two months after the course finishes, before this needs to be sent to the tutor.

    STUDENTS SAID: “The course has provided me with everything I could possibly need (and more) to sort out my main goals of prioritising family history, research, recording and writing up the stories during the coming year and beyond. I now know the way ahead and am very much looking forward to putting my plans into action.”

    Practicalities of a One Name Study

    Tutor: Julie Goucher
    Start date: 15th March 2022
    Course length: 5 weeks (4 lessons)

    This course sits between the two other one-name and surname study courses: Introduction to One-Name Studies (901) and Advanced One-Name Studies (902) and focusses on the practical elements of running a study.

    The course is designed to enable students to explore the practical steps of maintaining and developing their one-name study through a variety of mediums and to give some context to the various considerations they will need to explore.

    It is expected that students for this course will already have a one-name study or surname study registered, or will have identified a surname to register and begin working upon. They will be familiar with the material covered by Introduction to One-Name Studies and will have begun to collect data, or be at the stage where they are considering the options and would like further guidance.

    Lesson Headings:
    Understanding and making the best use of spreadsheets in your study
    * Genealogical Software, what to consider
    * Online Trees and other software
    * The next steps: Preservation and Sharing

    That’s all for this month, happy studying!