1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

     

     

  4. 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. 

     

     

  5. 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.

  6. Courses coming in August

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    Looking for a course to study over the Summer? Coming up in August we have:

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

    Tutor: Janet Few
    Start date: 12th August 2020
    Course length: 5 weeks

    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.

    Scottish Research Online

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    Start date: 31st August 2020
    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.

  7. Courses coming in July

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    We have some great courses coming up in July:

     

    Employment Records

    Tutor: Alec Tritton
    Start date: 2nd July 2020
    Course length: 5 weeks

    COURSE FULL but booking now for January 2021

    Scotland 1750-1850 – Beyond the Old Parish Registers

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    Start date: 6th July 2020
    Course length: 5 weeks

    An intermediate level course in Scottish family history for those who are going back beyond 1850, this 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.

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

    Tutor: Else Churchill
    Start date: 28th July 2020
    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.