1. Courses Coming in April

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    We have some very popular courses coming up for you in April:

    Progressing Your Irish Research Online

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    Start date: 5th April 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * Booking now for November 2021

    Organizing Your Genealogy

    Tutor: Barbara Baker
    Start date: 5th April 2021
    Course length: 3 weeks

    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 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.

    Old Handwriting for Family Historians

    Tutor: Susan Moore 
    Start date: 12th April 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH *

    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.

    The course most suitable for those who already have some understanding and practice with old handwriting in their own family history research, and some familiarity with parish registers, wills and inventories, as many of the documents examined will be from the 16th and 17th centuries. No prior knowledge of Latin is required, although the final lesson introduces the kind of Latin found in 16th century parish registers.

    Nonconformity – Its Records and History 1600 – 1950

    Tutor: Alec Tritton
    Start date: 15th April 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * Booking now for October 2021

    Recording the Poor – From Parish to Workhouse and beyond

    Tutor: Simon Fowler
    Start date: 19th April 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * Booking now for August 2021

    Discovering more about your Agricultural Labouring Ancestors

    Tutor: Janet Few
    Start date: 26th April 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * New date coming soon

    17th Century Sources

    Tutor: Stuart Raymond
    Start date: 28th April 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    One of our Intermediate Certificate courses, students completing this course will gain 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. 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”. Sources for 17th century research are found in many formats, from original documents to print to microform to digital. This course presents 21st century techniques for finding ancestors in Stuart England and Wales and teaches record interpretation, analysis and planning.

  2. Agreement with the Society for One-Place Studies

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    One Place Studies

    We are delighted to announce that we have come to an arrangement with the Society of One Place Studies for our course, First Steps to a One-Place Study.

    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.

    Janet FewJanet Few’s course, starting in August, 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.

    The Society for One-Place Studies is the leading organisation for anyone researching in this area and Pharos Tutors prides itself in engaging tutors and forming partnerships with those who are the experts in their field. The Society’s mission is to advance the education of the public in one-place studies, to encourage and assist those interested in this field of research, and to promote the preservation and publication of material relating to one-place studies, maximising its accessibility to the public.

    We are now able to offer any student of the course, who is not already a member of the Society, free membership for one year when the course starts. We also offer any current members of the Society a discount on the purchase of the course.

     

  3. Courses Coming in March

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    We have some great courses coming up for you in March:

    Practicalities of a One Name Study

    Tutor: Julie Goucher 
    Start date: 9th March 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks (4 teaching weeks and a reading / practice week)

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH * 

    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.

    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

    Scottish Research Online

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    Start date: 1st March 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    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.

    Wills and Administrations; the riches of probate records

    Tutor: Linda Newey
    Start date: 1st March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * Booking now for September 2021

    Advanced Methods and Reports

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    Start date: 1st March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    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: 2nd March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    What do you do when the nominal census records that you have used so much are no longer there, when you cannot obtain names, ages, birthplaces and the household address of a family? And how do you supplement the deficiencies of parish registers?

    Your attention should turn to a variety of lists which at least reveal where someone lived at a particular time. Though this seems scant information, such facts can be vitally important especially in those years when children were not born and christened.

    Over four lessons you will learn about the introduction of newspapers, the earliest efforts at census taking, and what other records are considered to be useful census substitutes. Census substitutes are often quite local in scope and purpose. Many will be explained and advice will be given on how to search for local lists. You will come away with an understanding of how to make the most of census substitutes, some new online search skills, and an ability to assess and access these sources.

    Church and Community, Selected records 1540 – 1800

    Tutor: Emma Jolly
    Start date: 3rd March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    Ickleton Parish ChurchThis course 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.

    You’ve found your ancestor in the parish registers, but was that parish rural or urban, a town or borough? How did that affect your ancestors’ lives and how will it affect your research? We look at the records of towns, such as burgess rolls, and the difficulties and pitfalls in tracing our early ancestors who migrated from rural areas / parishes to towns.

    You will learn about the many records of the diocese and its court, including visitation records, marriage licences and probate records. Also in this category are the records of disputes heard in the church or ecclesiastical courts, often know as bawdy courts due to the nature of cases they heard.

    Finally, we look at the records of boroughs in detail, including guilds, freemen, voting rights and merchant guilds.

    Are You Sitting Comfortably? Writing and Telling Your Family History

    Tutor: Janet Few
    Start date: 15th March 2021
    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.

    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. The best of the class may even be published on this blog!

  4. Becoming a Professional Genealogist

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    Are you thinking of becoming a professional genealogist but don’t know where to start?

    We often receive questions from students who want to know what their next steps should be.

    They ask questions like:

    “Do I need a qualification to work as a professional genealogist?”
    “Do I need to become accredited?”
    “Are your courses accredited?”
    “Where do I start?” “Am I ready?”

    We have a great course that covers all of this:
    Professional Genealogist – Become one, become a better one

    The question of qualifications

    In the UK you don’t actually need any qualifications to set yourself up as a professional genealogist. You may think that’s a good thing, but isn’t it also a little scary? What would you look for in a professional genealogist?

    There are some great professional genealogists out there who have no genealogy-related qualifications, but they tend to be established in the field and have lots and lots of years of professionally varied experience.

    There are also a lot of “wannabie” professional genealogists starting out right now. How are you going to distinguish yourself from the rest? How are you going to demonstrate that you are working at the highest possible standards and are by far the better choice, compared to Mr X down the road? One of the best ways to do this is by following a formal training programme that is recognised by the industry.

    Our Advanced Certificate in Family History Skills and Strategies is a great example of a programme recognised by AGRA, the professional body for England and Wales.

    Aim for accreditation

    Working at the highest standards is all about providing the best quality of service to your clients. How do they know that the beautifully laid out family tree and 50 page report you have produced is not, in fact, riddled with errors? Organisations such as the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) (with equivalents ASGRA in Scotland and AGI in Ireland) only grant full membership after assessment of examples of your professional work.

    Here are some of our top tips as you think about starting up:

    Be honest with yourself

    You have been working on your own family tree for years and have lots of experience but it is important to be honest with yourself about how much you know. We guarantee you don’t know everything yet.

    Be ethical

    Your clients will value honesty even if you can’t take every kind of job on right now. Don’t pretend to be an expert in things you are clearly not. Start small with the more common records and build up your knowledge.

    Be patient

    So, you’ve had some nice shiny business cards printed and your website has gone live. Surely now the queue of paying customers will begin to form? The harsh reality is no, it does take time and it takes longer than you think it might. Be patient and don’t give up!

    Next Steps

    If you are interested in becoming a professional genealogist and want to know more, take our Professional Genealogist – Become one, become a better one course. This four week online course covers everything from starting up in business, answering client enquiries and report writing, working out your rates and marketing.

    If you are looking for more detail on methodology and reporting try our Advanced Methods & Reports course (this is part of the Advanced Programme but can also be taken in isolation).

    If you are interested in taking a certificate programme in genealogy that is recognised by AGRA, see our Certificate Courses pages.

  5. Courses Coming in February

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    We have some great courses coming up for you in February and early March:

    So You Think You Know FamilySearch – A Guided Tour

    Tutor: Barbara H. Baker
    Start date: 1st February 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH *

    Discover what you don’t know about English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh resources at the FamilySearch website with the help of an experienced guide. Barbara Baker worked in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City for more than 30 years and is an expert in FamilySearch resources.

    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. All this information is free to anyone with the knowledge and navigating skills to find it.

    The lesson headings are:

    Week 1: Introduction to FamilySearch and FamilySearch.org
    Week 2: Exploring British and Irish data and resources at FamiySearch.org
    Week 3: The British and Irish collection at the Family History Library
    Week 4: The FamilySearch Family Tree and What’s New

    Introduction to One-Name Studies

    Tutor: Julie Goucher
    Start date: 2nd February 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    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.

    You will learn about the history and study of surnames; which surnames are suitable for a study, what a one-name study consists of, and how to get started. We cover how to collect and analyse data from the core records. You learn about all the practical aspects of running a one name study; collecting data, how to publicise your study, data protection, publish results and make sure your study is preserved for others in the future.

    Victorian Crime and Punishment – Courts, police and prisons

    Tutor: Antony Marr
    Start date: 23rd February 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * Booking now for June 2021

    Scottish Research Online

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    Start date: 1st March 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    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.

    Wills and Administrations; the riches of probate records

    Tutor: Linda Newey
    Start date: 1st March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * Booking now for September 2021

    Advanced Methods and Reports

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    Start date: 1st March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    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.

    The lesson headings are:

    Week 1: Evidence and Proof
    Week 2: Overcoming Problems in Genealogy
    Week 3: Laying out Your Tree
    Week 4: Writing up Your Research

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

    Tutor: Else Churchill
    Start date: 2nd March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    What do you do when the nominal census records that you have used so much are no longer there, when you cannot obtain names, ages, birthplaces and the household address of a family? And how do you supplement the deficiencies of parish registers?

    Your attention should turn to a variety of lists which at least reveal where someone lived at a particular time. Though this seems scant information, such facts can be vitally important especially in those years when children were not born and christened.

    Over four lessons you will learn about the introduction of newspapers, the earliest efforts at census taking, and what other records are considered to be useful census substitutes. Census substitutes are often quite local in scope and purpose. Many will be explained and advice will be given on how to search for local lists. You will come away with an understanding of how to make the most of census substitutes, some new online search skills, and an ability to assess and access these sources.

  6. Courses Coming in January

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    December is a quieter month for us at Pharos, as we allow time for students and tutors to take a break. However, we have lot to talk about for January, some last minute Christmas gift ideas perhaps?

    Coming up in January:

    Introduction to Medieval Genealogy

    Tutor: Gillian Waters
    Start date: 5th January 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks (4 teaching weeks and a reading week)

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH *

    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.

    The lesson headings are:

    Week 1: Starting out on Medieval Research – identifying families to track
    Week 2: Planning the move to Medieval Records – getting to grips with medieval pedigrees
    Week 3: Records of the Landed Classes- the structure of medieval society and the meanings of terminology
    Week 4: Reading week- a chance to do some background research
    Week 5: Medieval Church records, Military records and Taxation

    Advanced Military Research – 20th Century Conflict

    Tutor: Simon Fowler
    Start date: 4th January 2021
    Course length: 3 weeks

    This course follows on from our Your Military Ancestors course with a focus on the 20th Century (you do not need need to have taken the Your Military Ancestors course first).

    It covers the two world wars, the Boer War, the Korean War and other post-war conflicts, including for men who undertook National Service.

    As well as considering the records themselves, the course looks at their context, the purposes for which they were created and how different records relate to each other. We also consider non-military records at The National Archives and elsewhere that can help researchers. Although few records survive for civilians or those who served in the auxiliary services, such as the Merchant Navy and Home Guard, we will consider the records which are available.

    Apprenticeship Records

    Tutor: Stuart Raymond
    Start date: 6th January 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED *

    Researching Online for Advanced Genealogists

    Tutor: Peter Christian
    Start date: 6th January 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    The internet is now an essential research environment for family history: many indexes to genealogical records are now available only online, and the internet provides access to a wealth of information and contacts for family historians. This course examines the main types of internet resource 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.

    Employment Records

    Tutor: Alec Tritton
    Start date: 7th January 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    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. 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:
    Week 1: The Professions
    Week 2: Merchant Seamen and Coastguard
    Week 3: Government employees
    Week 4: Town folk
    Week 5: Country folk

    Migration in the British Isles

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    Start date: 18th January 2021
    Course length: 3 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED *

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

    Tutor: Janet Few
    Start date: 26th January 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    Family 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.

  7. Scheduling the Intermediate Certificate in Genealogy

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    If you are looking for a programme of online family history courses covering a wide range of genealogical sources then look no further than our Family History Skills and Strategies (FHSS) Intermediate Certificate programme. More information, including entrance criteria, can be found here.

    The Intermediate Certificate consists of ten courses, and you have three years to complete all ten:

    17th Century Sources (382)
    Apprenticeship Records (281)
    Before the Modern Census – Name-rich sources from 1690 to 1837 (381)
    Employment Records (380)
    Migration in the British Isles (314)
    Nonconformity – Its Records and History 1600 – 1950 (280)
    Recording the Poor – From Parish to Workhouse and beyond (203)
    Victorian Crime and Punishment- Courts, police and prisons (308)
    Wills and Administrations; the riches of probate records (205)
    Your Military Ancestors (224)

    We often get messages from students asking for help scheduling the Intermediate Certificate courses. In this blog post we give some top tips on how to make the best of your time without overloading yourself too much in one go. So, how do you know where to start?

    Man under stress because of too much problems. Abstract image with a wooden puppet

    Course Numbers

    First up there are the course numbers. These are a guide to the difficulty of the courses. 300 series courses are generally more difficult than 200 series courses or based within an earlier time period. We suggest you plan to take at least one or two 200 series courses first.

    Course Frequency

    Secondly we suggest that, if you can, you avoid taking more than one course at a time. We have had feedback from previous students complaining that the courses booked up too quickly and that they struggled to fit all ten into the time available. In the last few months we have doubled up on how often nine of the ten courses run. All but Apprenticeship Records now run twice a year (and Apprenticeship Records takes a higher number of students than it used to).

    Fast track

    Now that we have increased the frequency of our courses it is possible to complete the Intermediate Certificate programme in 18 months without having to take any courses simultaneously. This is not for the faint hearted, there is a short gap between some of the courses doing it this way. The best way to show you how this works is to show you how we have scheduled these. Both schedules begin with the Wills & Probate course. If you start with Wills and Probate in September, you can follow the path below:

    Sep.    Wills and Administrations; the riches of probate records (205)
    Oct.    Nonconformity – Its Records and History 1600 – 1950 (280)
    Jan.    Apprenticeship Records (281)
    Feb.    Victorian Crime and Punishment- Courts, police and prisons (308)
    Mar.    Recording the Poor – From Parish to Workhouse and beyond (203)
    Jun.    Your Military Ancestors (224)
    Jul.     Before the Modern Census – Name-rich sources from 1690 to 1837 (381)
    Sep.    Migration in the British Isles (314)
    Oct.    17th Century Sources (382)
    Jan.    Employment Records (380)

    The alternative route is:

    Mar.   Wills and Administrations; the riches of probate records (205)
    Apr.    Nonconformity – Its Records and History 1600 – 1950 (280)
    Jun.    Victorian Crime and Punishment- Courts, police and prisons (308)
    Aug.   Recording the Poor – From Parish to Workhouse and beyond (203)
    Nov.   Your Military Ancestors (224)
    Jan.   Apprenticeship Records (281)
    Mar.   Before the Modern Census – Name-rich sources from 1690 to 1837 (381)
    Apr.   17th Century Sources (382)
    Jun.   Employment Records (380)
    Sep.   Migration in the British Isles (314)

    This is how courses were scheduled for 2020 and 2021, future order subject to change depending on tutor availability.

    We hope this helps!

  8. Courses Coming in November

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    Pharos Courses Coming Soon

    Coming up in November:

    Scotland 1750-1850 – Beyond the Old Parish Registers

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    Start date: 2nd November 2020
    Course length: 5 weeks

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH *

    This is the second course on Scottish research. If you have not taken Scottish Research Online you may want to check out its description first. This Beyond the Old Parish Registers course is an intermediate level course in Scottish family history for those who are going back beyond 1850. You should 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. Using these records involves several different locations, and you will learn how to check online finding aids and discover the most effective way to obtain records that may be available both online and offline. Lessons will cover:

    • Kirk Sessions records and parish poor
    • Burgh records and town poor
    • Occupations, taxation and early lists
    • Land transfer and the value of sasines
    • Land, inheritance and estates

     

    Advanced One-Name Studies

    Tutor: Julie Goucher
    Start date: 3rd November 2020
    Course length: 6 weeks

    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.

    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 course and the Practicalities of a One-Name Study course. We strongly advise you to take at least the Introduction to One-Name Studies course before taking this course, even if your one-name study has been running for some time.

    The course includes sections on the theory of one-name studies, a review of current published work on surnames, introduces more complex interdisciplinary analysis, and shows you how to bring your historical skills up to scratch. There is an emphasis on analysing data and synthesis or ‘adding value’ to your results, as well as working towards the publication of your findings.

     

     

  9. Courses coming in October

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    We have a bumper number of courses starting in October:

    The National Archives Website and Catalogue – Finding People

    Tutor: Guy Grannum
    Start date: 23rd October 2020
    Course length: 3 weeks

    COURSE OF THE MONTH

    The National Archives’ website and catalogues describe more than 20 million documents, and can lead you to information about individual ancestors.

    UK Government records, held at The National Archives (TNA), are a leading resource for genealogists. These are the historical records of a nation through more than a thousand years. They include documents about all parts of the British Isles and all parts of the world where the government had its agents, colonial officials or military forces. Even if you cannot visit TNA in person, there is much to be gained from using TNA online. The lessons cover how to find the most genealogically valuable records and how to search for individuals. You learn what to do next, once you find an interesting listing, and how to discover useful background details about the records. The key to achieving this is navigation skill and you are shown how to navigate around the website. The emphasis is on remote access, how anyone, living anywhere, can make the most of The National Archives website and catalogues.

     

    Are You Sitting Comfortably? Writing and Telling Your Family History

    Tutor: Janet Few
    Start date: 5th October 2020
    Course length: 5 weeks
    Assessed and non-assessed options available

    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.

    Practicalities of a One Name Study

    Tutor: Julie Goucher
    Start date: 6th October 2020
    Course length: 5 weeks

    This new course for 2020 sits between the existing two 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.

    Victorian Families – Your Ancestors in the Census

    Tutor: Malcolm Sadler
    Start date: 7th October 2020
    Course length: 5 weeks

    Victorian ancestors – we all have them but what do we really know about them? Facts from civil registration and the census tell us something, but say little about how they lived. But, interpreting the social and local detail half hidden in these vital documents, bring their lives back to us! This course takes you beyond the facts and explains what census records reveal. The census is a window on the Victorian family and this course helps you take a closer look at life – in fashionable streets, back alleys and the countryside, in large houses, town houses, cottages and tenements. It looks too at food, work, fun, life and death. You will learn to interpret what you have found, get to know your ancestors better, and realize the genealogical value of a close acquaintance with past lives.

    Manorial Records for Family and Local Historians

    Tutor: Sue Adams
    Start date: 12th October 2020
    Course length: 5 weeks
    Assessed and non-assessed options available

    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. 

    17th Century Sources

    Tutor: Stuart Raymond
    Start date: 14th October 2020
    Course length: 4 weeks
    Assessed and non-assessed options available

    Students completing this course will gain 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. 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”. Sources for 17th century research are found in many formats, from original documents to print to microform to digital. This course presents 21st century techniques for finding ancestors in Stuart England and Wales and teaches record interpretation, analysis and planning. 

    Demystifying DNA for Family Historians

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    Start date: 19th October 2020
    Course length: 5 weeks

    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. 

     

     

  10. Courses coming in September

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    Will you be raring to get back to study in September? We have plenty of courses coming up next month to whet your appetite:

    First Steps to a One-Place Study

    Tutor: Janet Few
    Start date: 2nd September 2020
    Course length: 5 weeks

    This is a BRAND NEW COURSE on One-Place Studies.

    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. There is some focus on British sources but the techniques described should be applicable to studies world-wide.

    Organizing Your Genealogy

    Tutor: Barbara Baker
    Start date: 7th September 2020
    Course length: 3 weeks

    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.

    Old Handwriting for Family Historians

    Tutor: Susan Moore
    Start date: 10th September 2020
    Course length: 4 weeks

    Old handwriting, or palaeography, often presents difficulties for family historians. This course takes a practical approach to reading and transcribing old handwriting, focusing on Secretary Hand, a commonly used form during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Family historians will come across Secretary Hand in many types of documents such as parish registers and wills and inventories. The course aims to equip students with their own set of steps to successful transcription, as well as provide insights into the development of Secretary Hand.

    The course is an advanced course working with documents from the 17th century and is most suitable for all those who already have some understanding and practice with old handwriting in their own family history research.

    SET BOOKS:
    There is a set book which accompanies this course. Students are asked to purchase A Secretary Hand ABC Book by Alf Ison before the course starts. 

    Professional Genealogist – Become one, become a better one

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    Start date: 14th September 2020
    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, and includes guidance on what AGRA requires of its members and the application process.

    The course begins by considering how professional research differs from personal research with a focus on standards for research, analysis and reporting. We move onto education options, membership of professional bodies and handling client enquiries. Equally important are the business skills that contribute to success. Topics in this segment of the course include advice on managing your office, UK regulations for the self-employed and costs and pricing. Another section of the course presents advice about the ways professional genealogists can stay current with new developments, with advice on the advantages of diversifying into writing and lecturing. We conclude with a practical guide to marketing your business and yourself.

    Researching in Archives for Advanced Genealogists

    Tutor: Simon Fowler 
    Start date: 29th September 2020
    Course length: 4 weeks

    Moving from online records to researching in archives can be a daunting prospect. However, with such a small proportion of records available online, the serious researcher must make use of all repositories available to him. 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 cataloging process and the way archives are arranged and described. You will learn where to find national, local and specialist collections, and 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 be introduced to conservation and access issues for fragile documents and get practice finding the documents you are looking for.