Course Descriptions

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Victorian Crime and Punishment - Courts, police and prisons (308)

Court records can provide a fascinating glimpse into the criminal lives our ancestors but crime is not the only topic covered in this course. There are records of juries, witnesses, licences for gamekeepers and pedlars plus records from the High Courts & Chancery where families squabble over inheritances and property. We also examine records of the new police force and the management of prisons.

This course presents the background and the records, includes illustrations and case studies, and sets forth the best research methods, online and in archives. If your family tree lacks privileged ancestors it may have other well-documented ancestors - those who made their way into records of crime and punishment.

Tutor: Dave Annal
  • * The 19th Century Legal System
  • * Local Court Records
  • * The High Court and Civil Litigation
  • * From Parish Constable to Police Constable
  • * Prisons and Punishment

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

STUDENTS SAID: "I learned a tremendous amount about crime and punishment but also was given many ideas for taking that further."

"I enjoyed all of it, particularly history of the police and the punishment lessons. When it came to the case study assignment it enabled pulling together all skills learned to the present and good practice at further investigation work."

Relevant Countries: England and Wales

Course Length: 5 weeks
Start Date: 22 Feb 2023
Unassessed Cost: £58.00 Course Full
Assessed Cost: £76.00 Course Full
Start Date: 11 Sep 2023
Unassessed Cost: £58.00

Assessed Cost: £76.00

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Scottish Research Online (102)

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. It compares and contrasts many of the key websites available for Scottish research, drilling down to key features within each to help improve a user’s knowledge of what is contained within the presented records, and equally important, what is not. It explores the key resources for vital records such as births, marriages and deaths, as recorded by the state from 1855 onwards, and the usefulness of the decennial censuses from 1841-1911 in connecting family members and branches together.

Prior to civil registration there are the records created by the Church of Scotland as the state church, with the course exploring access to its ‘Old Parish Registers’ (‘OPRs’) on ScotlandsPeople and through FamilySearch’s various finding aids. In the final lesson, wills and inventories generated by Scotland’s ‘confirmation’ process are explored, with some of the many differences flagged up between the records of Scotland and the rest of the UK, thanks to the distinctly different legal system north of the border.

Most importantly this course will inspire you to actively pursue your interest in Scottish genealogy and take it to the next level.

Tutor: Chris Paton
  • * 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

Note: it is recommended but not required that students in this course sign up for the basic search option, 30 units/seven days, at ScotlandsPeople (cost is £7.50 for 30 credits)

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chats See How the Courses Work.

STUDENTS SAID: 'I particularly liked the fact that the course didn't just focus on the well-known BMD resources available, but on a much wider range of websites, including many which give extremely useful background information on the geography and history of the localities where our ancestors lived.'

'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.'

Relevant Countries: Scotland

Course Length: 5 Weeks
Start Date: 27 Feb 2023
Cost: £58.00

Start Date: 03 Jul 2023
Cost: £58.00

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Wills and Administrations; the riches of probate records (205)

Wills are an often overlooked source of information for family history research. However, they can be the richest of documents, confirming family relationships, providing insight into social status and sometimes revealing multiple generations of one family. This course will take you step by step through the various probate documents available, such as wills, administrations and death duty registers, and explain the differences in the probate systems before and after 1858.

You will learn how to search for wills and administrations, including practical examples, how to extract the most genealogically useful information and how to apply your findings to other family history research.

Tutor: Linda Newey
  • * Introduction to Wills and Administrations
  • * Wills and Administrations before 1858
  • * Wills and Administrations after 1858
  • * Other Probate Documents and Making the most of Wills

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

STUDENTS SAID: "A very enlightening and enjoyable course. I had not realised just how much information could be gleaned from a probate record"

"Excellent course and extremely thorough. It's opened up a whole new avenue of primary records I didn't know existed."

"It was really useful creating our own research aid, compiling what we had learned about how to locate wills. I also enjoyed the second assignment, working from real probate documents and piecing a tree together. I was very familiar with the content of wills and yet really didn't know how to track them down, so it was very valuable information. When I had questions or was looking for more detail, Linda was quick to respond and always helpful, and she suggested further reading. I really enjoyed having her as a tutor."

Relevant Countries: England, Wales

Course Length: 4 Weeks
Start Date: 27 Feb 2023
Unassessed Cost: £52.00 Course Full
Assessed Cost: £70.00 Course Full
Start Date: 04 Sep 2023
Unassessed Cost: £52.00

Assessed Cost: £70.00

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Advanced Methods and Reports (482)

This course provides advanced techniques and tools to ensure you have the best possible evidence for your pedigrees and trees, and will be of use to amateur 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 to a professional standard.

SET BOOK:
There is a set book which accompanies this course: Helen Osborn, Genealogy: Essential Research Methods (Hale, 2012).
Students are asked to purchase a copy of this book before the course starts, available from all good bookshops.

Tutor: Karen Cummings
    * Evidence and Proof
  • * Overcoming Problems in Genealogy
  • * Laying out Your Tree
  • * Writing up Your Research

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

STUDENTS SAID: "I thought that the course brought together really well all the differing parts of tackling problems, creating trees and writing a report. The writing of the reports was the part I was least familiar with and where I learnt the most."

"It was both informative and comprehensive in its content. I found the tutor both helpful and approachable. It was a great start to understanding more about report writing and to looking at documents with a fine toothcomb."

ADVANCED PROGRAMME:
This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Advanced programme but can also be taken individually as a standalone course and you may chose whether or not to be assessed.  If you are interested in enrolling on our Advanced programme please do not buy the course individually here but see this link for entrance requirements and contact details.

Relevant Countries: England, Wales and General

Course Length: 4 weeks
Start Date: 27 Feb 2023
Unassessed Cost: £70.00

Assessed Cost: £88.00

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Mapping Strategies for Family Historians (343)

Maps have the potential to transform the entire process of family history research. This four-week course will introduce you to three novel, practical mapping methods to support sound critical thinking and allow your genealogy research to flourish.

Students will develop the knowledge and technical skills required to use maps for decision making and contextual awareness in evidence-based family history, and as a means of guiding research planning. Applicable to a broad range of eras and places, the three mapping methods either use the bigger picture of an individual’s behaviour over time to generate research leads, or use a single ancestral address to gain detailed insights into the experiences of an individual or family.

This course assumes a basic knowledge of ‘core’ UK records (civil registration, census, parish registers or equivalents) and uses map examples from the 16th to 20th centuries. Suitable for established novices and upwards, the course content will focus primarily on UK-based research, but all methods are internationally applicable and participants are welcome to explore research problems beyond the UK too.

On completion of the course, students will be able to:
* Implement the Outlier Method, Ancestral Walks and Concentric Survey approaches digitally and on paper and understand their suitability for particular situations
* Employ mapping techniques to hone, direct and develop their genealogy research
* Generate specific searches within primary and secondary historical sources using mapping insights derived from an ancestor’s locality
* Critique the provenance and bias of historical maps
* Use a range of archival catalogues and collections to locate maps for use in their personal research.

Students will have the opportunity to work on their own family history for some of the exercises in the course.

Maps can be the gateway to valuable and fascinating insights about how our ancestors lived and why they made certain decisions. This course will give participants the confidence to bring maps to the heart of their research process to pursue those ancestral narratives further – and hopefully have tremendous fun along the way!

Tutor: Sophie Kay
  • * Introduction to maps and how to use them
  • * Ancestral Walks
  • * Concentric Surveys
  • * The Outlier Method and how to integrate maps into your family history workflow

Each lesson includes exercises and activities and a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

Relevant Countries: UK

Course Length: 4 weeks
Start Date: 27 Feb 2023
Cost: £52
Course Full
Start Date: 11 Sep 2023
Cost: £52

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Understanding Title Deeds (503)

Title Deeds, documenting the ownership of land and property, are to be found in almost all record repositories, whether they be from a solicitor’s collection, a large family estate collection, individual documents from a variety of sources, or part of the National Archives. They can be a real bonus for family and local historians as they can include information that is not found anywhere else, though they can be thought of as difficult to interpret. This course aims to introduce the records in a practical way, to enable researchers to find them, to understand the different types of deeds, and, crucially, to be able to interpret them.

Title Deeds give come in a variety of shapes and sizes, are found in a variety of archives, and range from the relatively straightforward grant of land from one person to another, to the deeds that arise from complicated family trusts. As with so many apparently impenetrable records, there are short cuts and clues and hints to eliciting the information from them. And what information can be found! Family history information can include details of marriages, relationships and the social circle of friends amongst whom people moved. Local history and house history information can include detailed descriptions of land, with names of tenants, acreages, land use, and neighbouring plots of land and houses. The course will concentrate on the practical aspects of locating and understanding deeds rather than on legal history as it relates to transfers of land.

At the end of the course the student will have a knowledge of the type of records to expect, how to find them, and how to interpret to extract all relevant information.

SET READING:
There is a set book for this course, which students are asked to purchase before the course starts: Nat Alcock, Tracing History through Title Deeds: A Guide for Family and Local Historians, Pen & Sword, 2017
Reference will be made to page numbers throughout the course, so students may find that paper rather than digital copies will be preferable.

Tutor: Susan Moore
  • * Introduction to Deeds
  • * Simple deeds
  • * More deeds – entails and marriage settlements
  • * Mortgages and some more obscure deeds

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

ADVANCED PROGRAMME:
This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Advanced programme but can also be taken individually as a standalone course and you may chose whether or not to be assessed. If you are interested in enrolling on our Advanced programme please do not buy the course individually here but see this link for entrance requirements and contact details.

Relevant Countries: England, Wales

Course Length: 4 weeks
Start Date: 01 Mar 2023
Unassessed Cost: £70.00

Assessed Cost: £88.00

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Before the Modern Census - Name-rich sources from 1690 to 1837 (381)

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.

Tutor: Else Churchill
  • * Different world, different sources
  • * The first enumerations, 1801 - 1831
  • * Landowners, Traders and Freemen
  • * Census substitutes and name-rich lists

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week.

See How the Courses Work.

STUDENTS SAID: "Well organised and so very interesting, so much new information for me."

"A very interesting course positively loaded with information... A very knowledgable and helpful tutor."

Relevant Countries: England & Wales

Course Length: 4 weeks
Start Date: 07 Mar 2023
Unassessed Cost: £52.00 Course Full
Assessed Cost: £70.00 Course Full
Start Date: 25 Jul 2023
Unassessed Cost: £52.00

Assessed Cost: £70.00

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Practicalities of a One Name Study (903)

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 media 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 (901) and will have begun to collect data, or be at the stage where they are considering the options and would like further guidance.

Tutor: Julie Goucher
  • * Understanding and making the best use of spreadsheets in your study
  • * Genealogical Software, what to consider
  • * (Reading week)
  • * Online Trees and other software
  • * The next steps: Preservation and Sharing

The course is delivered over five weeks, but contains 4 lessons, with a week's break for practice purposes taking place between weeks two and three. There is a minimum one-hour chat each week, including the practice week.

See How the Courses Work.

STUDENTS SAID: "Julie Goucher is an inspirational tutor and she provided a wealth of helpful information for this course. I thoroughly enjoyed her obvious passion and enthusiasm for Genealogy/One Name Studies and her generosity in sharing her vast store of knowledge. This course was exactly what I needed to understand how a ONS works and what options there are to take into consideration when embarking on a study."

SET BOOKS:
There are three set books for this course:

Seven Pillars, Guild of One-Names Studies
Surname Research, Julie Goucher
Andrew Todd, Family History Nuts and Bolts: Problem Solving through Family Reconstitution Techniques , Allen & Todd, Lancashire, 3rd edition, 2015

The first two of these will be supplied in pdf format at the start of the course. Students are asked to obtain a copy of the Andrew Todd book before the course starts, available from various online bookshops including Amazon and Family History Books Online.

Relevant Countries: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales

Course Length: 5 weeks (4 lessons)
Start Date: 07 Mar 2023
Cost: £54.00

Start Date: 05 Sep 2023
Cost: £54.00

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Are You Sitting Comfortably? Writing and Telling Your Family History (216)

Writing your family history is the logical step after genealogical research and often 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, 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 look at adding 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 can frame your story. Finally, in week five, you will discover how to add photos and other illustrations as well as learn about options for publishing.

This course is about acquiring skills that will help you to present your family history in a coherent and interesting way. Please do not expect to complete a full family history by the end of five weeks. Note that, if you are hoping to put some of the ideas into practice within the time-frame of the course, this may significantly increase the study time that you will need to set aside.

The course is relevant to anyone who has researched a British or Irish family. Examples are taken from English history and records but the techniques can also be applied to families from elsewhere.

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

Tutor: Janet Few
  • * Making Decisions
  • * Finding Context Part 1
  • * Finding Context Part 2
  • * Social History
  • * Illustrating and Publishing

Each lesson includes exercise and activities and a minimum of 1 one hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

STUDENTS SAID: "Our tutor was highly knowledgeable about many different ways to bring context and life to any material we might write about our ancestors. I gained a wealth of ideas to pursue. Just wish I had done this earlier."

"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."

Relevant Countries: General

Course Length: 5 weeks
Start Date: 13 Mar 2023
Unassessed Cost: £58.00

Assessed Cost: £76.00

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Progressing Your Irish Research Online (260)

There 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.

Tutor: Chris Paton
  • * 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

Each lesson includes exercises and activities and a minimum of 1 one-hour chat per week. See How the Courses Work.

A short video introduction to the course by tutor Chris Paton is available HERE

STUDENTS SAID: "Fantastic tutor. First class lesson materials. Top-notch quality learning programme"

"It was beneficial from the standpoints of both improving general knowledge of Irish history, and illuminating the numerous and often unique potential sources of genealogical/family history information against that background."

Relevant Countries: Ireland

Course Length: 5 weeks
Start Date: 03 Apr 2023
Cost: £58.00

Start Date: 21 Aug 2023
Cost: £58.00

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Organizing Your Genealogy (202)

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.

Tutor: Barbara H. Baker
  • * Record Keeping Fundamentals
  • * Setting Up Your System on Computer
  • * Sources, Sources, Sources!

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

STUDENTS SAID: "This course more than fulfilled my expectations. It is true that genealogists tend to follow their own personal system. The three lessons on the course (one each week) ensures that class members are given excellent examples of different systems, together with contributions, advice and ideas all mooted on the forum and chat room sessions from all concerned. Record keeping; using computers and various programmes; useful websites; dealing with sources and citations - which from a personal point of view turned out to be the most important aspect of all."

Relevant Countries: General

Course Length: 4 Weeks (3 lessons)
Start Date: 03 Apr 2023
Cost: £41.00

Start Date: 04 Sep 2023
Cost: £41.00

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

Nothing in the Church of England register? This genealogical challenge is the most likely impetus for an interest in the records of non-conformist chapels. When census takers asked about attendance at church in 1851 they discovered that less that half the population were sitting in Church of England pews. If you examine the numbers you will see that a large percentage of those worshipping elsewhere were nonconformists.

This course looks at the records and history of nonconformity. It covers its origins, the early history and records during the period of persecution. The major denominations in the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Methodist and Congregational, are discussed and their records and finding aids are explained.

Social context is an important part of the story and you will learn about the people who were nonconformists, how they governed their churches, and how their faith affected their lives. Records covered in the course include vital records, seating plans, meetings, newspapers, missions and accounts. In addition you will learn about finding nonconformists within the registers of the Established Church.

Tutor: Alec Tritton
  • * Origins and Early Restrictions 1600 - 1700
  • * Nonconformity Becomes Established 1700 - 1850
  • * Consolidation 1750 - 1900
  • * Social and Mission 1850 - 1950

Each lesson includes exercises and activities, and minimum of 1 chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

STUDENTS SAID: "[I enjoyed] learning that there were more Nonconformist organisations/churches than I was aware of and all the different records that may be available to learn more about their lives. I have a totally different view of nonconformists and how they have shaped our society."

Relevant Countries: England and Wales

Course Length: 4 weeks
Start Date: 13 Apr 2023
Unassessed Cost: £52.00

Assessed Cost: £70.00

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Recording the Poor - From Parish to Workhouse and beyond (203)

"The poor are always with us" was a common lament of the charitably minded Victorians. When we think about our pauper ancestors we conjure up pictures of forbidding workhouses and Oliver Twist asking for more. But the position was rather more complicated as you will discover when you join this course. During the four weeks it runs we will examine the causes of poverty, how the poor were looked after, and the records that were created as a result.

Careful records about the poor and the money which was spent on them are invaluable to family historians not only for what they reveal about those receiving assistance but about the local people who paid the rates and made the system work. The course explains how poor relief evolved, functioned and the records that were created as a result. You will learn how to use the records, how they can solve genealogical problems and the fascinating, if often tragic, insights they offer into the lives of your ancestors. An increasing amount of material is online, but not anything by any means.

The course is for anyone searching poor law records for the first time or wanting to build on existing knowledge.

Tutor: Simon Fowler
  • * Who were the Poor: background and basic resources online and offline
  • * The Old Poor Law
  • * The New Poor Law after 1834 and the Workhouse
  • * Self help and Philanthropy

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

Relevant Countries: England, Wales

Course Length: 4 Weeks
Start Date: 17 Apr 2023
Unassessed Cost: £52.00

Assessed Cost: £70.00

Start Date: 24 Jul 2023
Unassessed Cost: £52.00

Assessed Cost: £70.00

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Church and Community, Selected records 1540 - 1800 (485)

Enhance your family history experience by considering the places our ancestors lived in the context of the wider community. This 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.

SET BOOK:
There is a set book which accompanies this course: Angus Winchester, Discovering Parish Boundaries (Shire, 2000). Students are asked to purchase of this before the course starts.
This is readily available from various online bookshops.

Tutor: Emma Jolly
  • * Introduction to Communities in the Past
  • * Details of Parish Life
  • * The Diocese and Church Court
  • * City and Borough

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

STUDENTS SAID: "The detail and guidance in the course was exceptional and very useful. It may me think about source material and the various records that were created."

"It was interesting learning about the different levels of administration and ecclesiastical set up, and doing the assignment helped with the understanding of different courts and finding records"

ADVANCED PROGRAMME:
This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Advanced programme but can also be taken individually as a standalone course and you may chose whether or not to be assessed. If you are interested in enrolling on our Advanced programme please do not buy the course individually here but see this link for entrance requirements and contact details.

Relevant Countries: England and Wales

Course Length: 4 Weeks
Start Date: 17 Apr 2023
Unassessed Cost: £70.00

Assessed Cost: £88.00

Enquire about this course



Getting Started with Local History (254)

This course provides the knowledge and skills required to enable students to get started on a local history project.

Local history is the study of a place through time. It considers people and place together so that we study human stories within their physical contexts. Local history helps you better understand localities that are important to you, the lives of individuals who lived within them and the regional, national and global tapestries which these places are a piece of.

The close geographical attention of local history enables us to look at all manner of themes over hundreds if not thousands of years. For this reason, there is a vast range of source material for the local historian to use and almost endless stories for us to tell.

Whilst some choose to focus on local history research as a separate project, local history is embedded within many other types of historical research. For example, you cannot study the history of a community without considering the place in which that community resides, and a One-Place Study is also a form of local history research. Even if you are primarily a family historian and you have expanded your search of the census to others in the same street or village, you are already carrying out local history research.

This course has been developed with the British Association for Local History (BALH), the national body for local history. It is aimed at any local historian looking for inspiration and advice though it will especially appeal to those of you who have recently started or would like to start researching local history. It will introduce you to local history as a subject and discusses key skills and sources to help you with your research. The focus will be on modern British history from c.1780 to the present day. Two-and-a-half centuries of phenomenal social change and the period most familiar to the family historian. We will review important topics within the context of local history and the sources with which you can carry out your independent research. At the end of this course you will be able to confidently embark on your local history research from the Industrial Revolution to the present day.

At the end of this course students will be able to:
* Explain key themes and sources for local history research in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
* Understand important skills and methods for local history.
* Create a research plan for a local history project.
* Use a variety of sources to progress your local history research.

Students will be given the opportunity to work on a local history project of their choosing during the course.

Tutor: Joe Saunders
  • * Introduction to Local History
  • * Local history in the Victorian era c.1780-1900
  • * Modern Local History c.1900-Present
  • * Local History skills and methods

Each lesson includes exercises and activities and a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

Relevant Countries: England, Wales, Scotland

Course Length: 4 weeks
Start Date: 17 Apr 2023
Cost: £52

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Researching Ancestors in Continental Europe (750)

Have you found ancestors that originated in Continental Europe? This course introduces you to the broad context of Europe, offers advice for tracking European ancestors, expands your knowledge and assists in problem solving. 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.

During the course we will explore the similarities and differences across Europe and encourage the consideration of some practical factors when conducting your research. There are a great many resources that can be used to assist your research. This course is about creating a solid foundation to research in continental Europe.

We will look at defining Europe and what countries are in Europe (it is not always as obvious as you might think!) We look further at the European Empires and the impact on migration to and from the continent. We look too at the borderlines and unifications. 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, e.g. work opportunities, emigration schemes, persecution, internment and following military service, 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. Sometimes, it is following those links that actually helps with your research. The course also includes sections on the impact of war and displacement and Europeans beyond Continental Europe.

Each lesson has exercises and case study examples, discussion and at least a one-hour chat. 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.

Tutor: Julie Goucher
  • * Unfolding the history and context of Europe
  • * Causation and reasons for migration
  • * Impact of war and displacement
  • * Europeans beyond Continental Europe
  • * Moving forward with European research

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

Learning Objectives
At the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Recognise the broad and complex history of Europe
  • Summarise the resources available across Europe and how to obtain access to them, and the questions to ask
  • Analyse the social and personal factors to be considered and how those factors potentially impact on their research
  • Evaluate the impact of War, Displacement, border changes and how they significantly impact the lives of our ancestors

  • This is an enlightening course, enabling you to research your European Ancestors - Your people, in their place and in their time.

    Relevant Countries: Suitable for anyone with Continental Europe ancestors

    Course Length: 5 weeks
    Start Date: 18 Apr 2023
    Cost: £58.00

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    Family Feuds – how to find and interpret Chancery court records (504)

    Chancery court records are some of the most underused, and yet useful, records that any family or local historian can use. They often contain details of several generations of a family, and will always distinguish between different people of the same name. They can recite long since lost property deeds, marriage settlements and wills. Accounts, lists of lands and values, and inventories of personal goods are often included as evidence. Reading a Chancery case will allow you to see people from the past as so much more than just names and dates. Perhaps most interestingly they let you into the secret lives, thoughts, passions, and feuds between family members.

    The course will cover records from earliest times to the early 20th century, with an emphasis on the 177th and 18th centuries. Whilst some medieval cases are written in Latin, these will not be considered in detail here and a knowledge of Latin is not required for this course.

    At the end of the course the student will have a knowledge of the type of records to expect, including the basic pleadings and also the peripheral records which often contain much additional information, what sort of information the records contain that can be useful to a family or local historian, where to find them and how to interpret them. The documents are all handwritten, but usually in a fairly clear hand, but students may want to improve their palaeography skills with our Old Handwriting for Family Historians course.

    SET READING:
    There is a set book for this course, which students are asked to purchase before the course starts: Susan T Moore, Tracing your Ancestors through the Equity Courts: A Guide for Family and Local Historians, Pen & Sword, 2017
    Reference will be made to page numbers throughout the course, so students may find that paper rather than digital copies will be preferable.

    Tutor: Susan Moore
    • * Introduction to Chancery records
    • * Chancery Bills and Answers
    • * Peripheral Documents – before 1800
    • * Peripheral Documents – after 1800

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

    ADVANCED PROGRAMME:
    This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Advanced programme but can also be taken individually as a standalone course and you may chose whether or not to be assessed. If you are interested in enrolling on our Advanced programme please do not buy the course individually here but see this link for entrance requirements and contact details.

    Relevant Countries: England, Wales

    Course Length: 4 weeks
    Start Date: 26 Apr 2023
    Unassessed Cost: £70.00

    Assessed Cost: £88.00

    Enquire about this course



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

    It is all too easy to jump straight into family history research without a thought for methods and techniques. In fact, the commercial websites encourage you to do so. However, how do you know that what you are building is robust and accurate? This course builds upon your knowledge of sources with a walk through good technique, recording of your research notes and some useful research tools, such as research logs, timelines, source analysis, places in context and building a weight of evidence, to help you to be confident in your family tree.

    You will learn how to analyse your research so far, identifying gaps and appropriate next steps, and develop your research plan. Along the way techniques are demonstrated with examples and problem solving will be showcased using a variety of case studies.

    During this course you will have the opportunity to build on an example from your own family history research.

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    • * Five golden rules of genealogy
    • * Write it right: notes, sources and gaps
    • * Inside sources and search techniques
    • * Research tools and problem solving

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities and a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "The course is fundamental to an understanding of genealogy research and I was very pleased to have been here at a time when it was introduced. The content was very useful - crucial even. I enjoy the chat sessions a lot - it is so helpful to go over the lesson with the tutor and other students on board... The notes were detailed and clear (as you would expect!) and some parts are definitely for printing and keeping handy. A thoroughly enjoyable and valuable course, delivered with great knowledge and understanding - and humour."

    "The course allowed you to reflect on your practice and apply new strategies to the work you had already done on your family tree. This allowed you to recognise how you could carry out research more professionally and effectively."

    "I've enjoyed it all, it's reinforced so many things I knew and were probably at the back of my mind. It's been really helpful seeing new ways to think about researching things. I've even used some of the things in my normal job which I wasn't expecting..."

    Relevant Countries: Examples based on England and Wales records

    Course Length: 4 weeks
    Start Date: 01 May 2023
    Unassessed Cost: £52.00

    Assessed Cost: £70.00

    Start Date: 11 Sep 2023
    Unassessed Cost: £52.00

    Assessed Cost: £70.00

    Enquire about this course



    Scotland 1750-1850 - Beyond the Old Parish Registers (302)

    This 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.

    This course discusses sources that fill the gap when the OPRs are uninformative or missing, such as the kirk session and presbytery courts records generated by the Kirk (Church of Scotland), as well as the records of dissenting and seceding Presbyterian congregations. From the forerunners of Scotland’s modern towns and cities are the administrative records of the burghs, and the trades incorporations and merchant guilds, as well as other professions, which can enhance our understanding of our ancestors’ lives. And in the final two lessons the course turns up a notch and tackles two areas where the Scottish records, as generated through the feudal system, are truly unique, namely the various registers of land records known as sasines, and the separate legal processes in Scotland for the inheritance of both moveable and heritable estate.

    Whilst some of the records discussed in the course are available online, many are available only in the archives, or in private hands, and a strong focus of this course will be in how to successfully employ the relevant catalogues and finding aids to locate such treasures.

    Whilst not compulsory, it is strongly recommended that you complete the Pharos course Scottish Research Online before studying Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers, as it will be assumed that you are already familiar with the more basic resources available online for Scottish ancestral research.

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    • * 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

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    A short video introduction to the course by tutor Chris Paton is available HERE

    STUDENTS SAID: "Great subject-matter and excellent tutor/written materials. It could not have been better."

    "Very clear explanations of terminology and legal processes. Really helpful exercises and comprehensive list of useful catalogues and other references. Chat sessions very helpful and engaging"

    Relevant Countries: Scotland

    Course Length: 5 Weeks
    Start Date: 08 May 2023
    Cost: £58.00

    Start Date: 16 Oct 2023
    Cost: £58.00

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

    This course explores the development of education, and with it the main influences affecting childhood during the Victorian and Edwardian eras in England and Wales; a period spanning one hundred years of considerable social change.

    As we plough our way back through the records, how often do we stop to consider what life was really like for our forebears in their younger years? Childhood is often overlooked as a fleeting moment in a person's lifetime; and yet circumstances as a child dictated life as an adult. In this course we will consider how our ancestors' childhoods were nothing like our experiences today, and how the very definition of childhood has changed, including attitudes to work and play and in turn, access to education.

    During this course you will learn the various influences on the childhood experience such as class, gender and urban and rural living, and how this impacted on opportunities in life as an adult. You will also learn about philanthropic and charitable organisations that influenced Victorian and Edwardian Acts of Parliament, laws and legislation that brought about social change. A wide range of organisations and records particularly associated with childhood are considered, as well as the establishment of numerous societies who continue to influence lives as much today, as they did back then.

    How often have you seen the word 'Scholar' in a census return? What did this actually mean? Did every child have access to education? And if they did, were they able to progress to secondary school, higher education or university? The improvements made in the childhood experience, ultimately enabled better opportunities to attend school, and eventually gave rise to free education for all. This course considers education for those from all backgrounds and age groups; from the development of early years education, including elementary and secondary education, to specialised educational establishments and university.

    On completion of this course, you will have skills to identify a wide range of sources and records of education and childhood, that will greatly enhance your own family history research.

    Tutor: Linda Newey
    • *What is Childhood?
    • *The Influence of Status on Childhood
    • *The ‘3 Rs’ - Early years in Education
    • *The Pathway to Higher Education

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week.

    See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "I enjoyed learning about the different types of schools and how the experiences of rich and poor children differed especially in terms of working children. This course has given me an insight into numerous generations of my ancestors. Thank you Linda!"

    "... enough references to keep me busy for months. Thank you very much Linda for all your hard work in pulling this together. Lots of ideas that would never have occurred to me without your prompting."

    Relevant Countries: England, Wales

    Course Length: 4 weeks
    Start Date: 08 May 2023
    Cost: £52.00

    Enquire about this course



    Elusive Ancestors - Migration within the British Isles (315)

    As family historians, we all encounter elusive family members. They appear as if from nowhere or they disappear without trace, leaving no death or burial record. Then there are those who vanish from view for decades, only to re-emerge later. Often the problem is created because an individual has changed their location. This course suggests strategies that you can use to try to track down ancestors who moved within the British Isles.

    We will start by investigating the reasons why people of the past changed their location, touching on some of the theories of migration, and look at many of the occupations which often led to a move. In the second part of the course students will consider the benefits of studying the extended family and others in the neighbourhood when trying to track down an elusive ancestor. In addition, each lesson will have a focus on tracking down a different type of record.

    Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to investigate their own elusive ancestors, drawing up a timeline and research plan.

    By the end of the course students will be able to:

    * understand why people of the past changed their location.
    * use strategies to investigate an elusive ancestor.
    * use alternative sources when ancestors are missing from the standard vital records.
    * know about the significance of occupation when trying to locate an elusive ancestor.
    * understand the importance of exploring the geographical context, the extended family and the neighbours when trying to locate elusive ancestors.
    * draw up and follow a research plan.

    Tutor: Janet Few
    • * Exploring Migration and Migrants
    • * Exploring the Occupation
    • * Exploring the Extended Family
    • * Exploring the Neighbourhood

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    Relevant Countries: British Isles

    Course Length: 4 weeks
    Start Date: 15 May 2023
    Cost: £52.00

    Enquire about this course



    Your Military Ancestors (224)

    Just about everyone with British or Irish roots can find a soldier or sailor on their family tree. As a result, military records are some of the most used by genealogists. In addition, there are many sources which can provide background to flesh out your ancestor's forces service.

    This course guides students through sources at The National Archives, at local archives and military museums, and an increasing number of online resources. In particular we will consider the service records for both officers and other ranks that can provide vital genealogical facts and a wealth of helpful detail that can take your research back into the 18th century and help reveal the life of your military ancestors.

    The lessons cover what records exist, how to combine records to best effect, and what you can expect to discover about your military ancestors.

    Tutor: Simon Fowler
    • * British Army pre-1914
    • * Royal Navy pre-1914
    • * The two World Wars
    • * Online resources

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "Course content good and well explained."

    Relevant Countries: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, Canada

    Course Length: 4 Weeks
    Start Date: 05 Jun 2023
    Unassessed Cost: £52.00

    Assessed Cost: £70.00

    Start Date: 06 Nov 2023
    Unassessed Cost: £52.00

    Assessed Cost: £70.00

    Enquire about this course



    Apprenticeship Records (281)

    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.

    Tutor: Richard Holt
    • * What was an Apprentice?
    • * Reading & Interpreting Apprenticeship Indentures
    • * Documents dependant on Apprenticeship Indentures
    • * Pauper Apprentices

    Each lesson includes exercise and activities and a minimum of 1 one hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "Excellent lesson notes with relevant links and sources. The Exercises, Assessments and the Chat sessions were challenging, and reinforced the knowledge and skills acquired from the lessons themselves very effectively."

    "I was interested in finding out about the history of apprenticeship records and it was great to apply all that was learnt to the case study in the second assignment. "

    Relevant Countries: England & Wales

    Course Length: 4 weeks
    Start Date: 05 Jun 2023
    Unassessed Cost: £52.00

    Assessed Cost: £70.00

    Enquire about this course



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

    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 has 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.

    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.

    Tutor: Barbara H. Baker
    • * Introduction to FamilySearch and FamilySearch.org
    • * Exploring British and Irish data and resources at FamiySearch.org
    • * The British and Irish collection at the Family History Library
    • * The FamilySearch Family Tree and What's New

    See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "Excellent course content which was clear and understandable. I learnt lots of new things and felt well supported."

    "I feel confident that I know how to find what is available on Family Search, and how to search for it... The lessons are clear, easy to understand and to follow and will be invaluable as reference material to refer back to... Thank you for the Lessons, the chats and all your suggestions. I would recommend the course to anyone."

    Relevant Countries: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland

    Course Length: 4 weeks
    Start Date: 05 Jun 2023
    Cost: £52.00

    Enquire about this course



    Researching Your Welsh Ancestors (119)

    Wales is unique and Welsh research is different. 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.
    The course therefore 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. For example, you will learn how linguistic, social and cultural factors shaped the day-to-day life of your ancestors and how they coloured the historical documents you will be consulting. You will also have the chance to study how Welsh nonconformity could affect your own research as well as where to locate and how to get the most out of specific Welsh sources and Welsh repositories. There is now a good range of sources for Welsh research on the Web and this course includes lots of advice on finding and using online information and data.

    Tutor: Eilir Daniels
    • * 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

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID:

    "I had hoped for some time that Pharos would run a Welsh Ancestors course and I have not been disappointed. The course was absolutely magical in its content and far exceeded my expectations. I hadn't realised before, how complicated the Welsh history and culture was. It has certainly opened my eyes, has made me want to know more and made me realise why I may be experiencing some difficulties with my own Welsh research. Thank you Pharos and Eilir."

    "[What did you enjoy most?] Absolutely everything! I have learnt so much in just 5 weeks and I have used the information taught to find more details about my ancestors. I am so happy I have found Pharos Tutors!"

    Relevant Countries: Wales

    Course Length: 5 weeks
    Start Date: 05 Jun 2023
    Cost: £58.00

    Enquire about this course



    Employment Records (380)

    Find out about the working life of your ancestors. 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.

    Many documents uncovered during our research indicate an occupation, perhaps several in which our ancestor was employed. Many will have followed their father's trade or occupation, and their children will have followed them. Others will have broken away, perhaps from the land and headed for the town to learn new skills and enter a different trade. Those more fortunate, at least financially or by birth may have been destined for one of the professions.

    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.

    Tutor: Alec Tritton
    • * The Professions
    • * Merchant Seamen and Coastguard
    • * Government employees
    • * Town folk
    • * Country folk

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

    STUDENTS SAID: "This was a wide-ranging and very interesting and challenging course with a huge amount of information given. There is much to re-investigate for the future. The tutor gave some excellent advice in his assessment which I will follow in future work."

    Relevant Countries: England and Wales

    Course Length: 5 weeks
    Start Date: 15 Jun 2023
    Unassessed Cost: £58.00

    Assessed Cost: £76.00

    Enquire about this course



    Demystifying DNA for Family Historians (250)

    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 introduction to DNA testing 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 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 you have tested already). 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.

    There are five lessons, one per week, covering the following topics:

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    • * Introduction to DNA Testing and 'Ethnicity' Estimates
    • * Y-DNA testing and Surname Projects
    • * Autosomal DNA testing
    • * mtDNA and X-DNA
    • * Taking things further with autosomal DNA

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "Karen is an excellent tutor, explaining everything clearly. The course notes are full of information with links to websites, books etc that will be useful in the future."

    "Karen 'demystified' the science-speak and with the clear notes and charts, I now feel I have a good understanding of the area."

    "As a complete novice who has not done a test I feel that this course gave me a good understanding of the types of DNA, how they are inherited and how the results can be used. I really enjoyed it."

    Relevant Countries: All

    Course Length: 5 weeks
    Start Date: 19 Jun 2023
    Cost: £58.00

    Enquire about this course



    Unlocking Heraldry for Family Historians (341)

    Have you often wondered whether your family is entitled to bear a coat of arms? Have you seen coats of arms displayed on buildings or on hatchments in churches and wondered as to the story behind them? This course will help you unlock the language of heraldry, a fascinating branch of family history research.

    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. In innumerable cases of historical research, heraldry has provided the key to resolution.

    The 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.

    You will learn that having a coat of arms in the family can unlock a host of genealogical information and sources that you may not have previously considered.

    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

    Tutor: Richard Baker
    • * Heraldry in Practice
    • * Heraldic Language
    • * Marshalling and Differencing
    • * Identification

    See How the Courses Work.

    Relevant Countries:

    Course Length: 4 weeks
    Start Date: 03 Jul 2023
    Cost: £52.00

    Enquire about this course



    Introduction to One-Name Studies (901)

    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 and biographical data about everybody who shares that 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 anyone with an interest in a particular surname.

    You will learn about the history and study of surnames, which surnames are suitable for a study (and which ones really are not), 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. You will also learn how the Guild of One-Name Studies guides and supports its members.

    Non Guild members signing up for the course will get FREE Guild Membership for the remainder of the financial year.

    Tutor: Julie Goucher
    • * 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

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "Julie Goucher is a fabulous tutor - full of info and tips!"

    "Gave me a good insight into what is required to carry out a ONS."

    SET BOOKS:
    There are three set books for this course:
    - Seven Pillars, Guild of One-Names Studies
    - Surname Research, Julie Goucher
    - Andrew Todd, Family History Nuts and Bolts: Problem Solving through Family Reconstitution Techniques , Allen & Todd, Lancashire, 3rd edition, 2015

    The first two of these will be supplied in pdf format at the start of the course. Students are asked to obtain a copy of the Andrew Todd book before the course starts, available from various online bookshops including Amazon and familyhistorybooksonline.co.uk.

    Relevant Countries: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales

    Course Length: 5 weeks
    Start Date: 04 Jul 2023
    Cost: £58.00

    Enquire about this course



    Discovering more about your Agricultural Labouring Ancestors (242)

    This course might have been called "Finding your Agricultural Labouring Ancestors" but few genealogists have any difficulty discovering ag labs on their family tree. They jump out from census returns, certificates and parish registers with unfailing regularity. Agricultural labourers are not all the same. The labourer on sheep farm in Northumberland led a very different life from someone who worked on an arable farm in Lincolnshire, or a fruit farm in Kent. This 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.

    Students will work towards compiling a case study of a chosen agricultural labouring ancestors during the course.

    Aim
    To enable students to find out more about their agricultural labouring ancestors, to set them in a broader context and to use a range of sources to find out more about their lives.

    Learning Outcomes
    By the end of the course students will be able to:
    - understand some of the key developments in the history of British agriculture over the past three hundred years.
    - use a variety of sources that might help to identify and find out more about, the farm upon which your ancestors worked.
    - access sources that will help you to better understand your agricultural labouring ancestors and the land that they worked.
    - describe your ancestors' daily and seasonal life.
    - understand your ancestors' working and living conditions.
    - describe some of the hazards that faced those working on the land.
    - compile a case study for an agricultural labouring ancestor.

    Tutor: Janet Few
    • * Your Farming Ancestors and British Agriculture in Context
    • * Finding the Farms
    • * Discovering about the Farms and their Workers
    • * Working the Land
    • * Farming Hazards

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "Janet is a brilliant tutor, really helpful and supportive. I had always neglected my ag labs and rural ancestors as it is hard to find any records for them and there didn't seem much of a story to tell - how wrong I was. Janet revealed sources I hadn't thought of but also showed why the local and social context is so important to understanding what their lives were like. Loved the approach that each week you are working towards a case study of an individual. There is lots more to explore once you have been given this foundation and I can't wait to apply what I've learnt to other families and ancestors. Really recommend this course."

    Relevant Countries: England, Wales

    Course Length: 5 weeks
    Start Date: 17 Jul 2023
    Cost: £58.00

    Enquire about this course



    First Steps to a One-Place Study (241)

    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, associates and neighbours 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.

    AIM: To enable you to begin to undertake a one-place study, by suggesting methods, sources and techniques that will enhance your understanding of a community and the people within it.

    This course complements the Pharos Discovering Your British Family and Local Community in the early 20th Century course. There are some minor overlaps in the records and techniques discussed.

    Tutor: Janet Few
    • * 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

    Each lesson includes exercise and activities and a minimum of 1 one hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    Relevant Countries:

    Course Length: 5 weeks
    Start Date: 24 Jul 2023
    Cost: £58.00

    Enquire about this course



    Victorian Families - Your Ancestors in the Census (208)

    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.

    Tutor: Malcolm Sadler
    • * A closer look at the census - finding your family
    • * Investigating the neighbourhood - putting your family on the map
    • * Inside the Victorian house - family life in the 19th century
    • * The Victorian Environment - from slums to palaces
    • * Knowing them better and taking it further

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID:

    "Excellent informative course content with lots of links to further reading and websites. The exercises were really enjoyable and great way to apply knowledge to improve family history research and combine with social and local history. The chat was also light but informative."

    "I enjoyed all the course, but in particular maps & surveys and how my Victorian ancestors lived and died."

    "I learnt so much more about the Censuses than I knew before and how they can be used to discover explore other facts and sources. It has left me with lots of leads to follow up and explore."

    Relevant Countries: England, Wales

    Course Length: 5 weeks
    Start Date: 02 Oct 2023
    Cost: £58.00

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    Discovering Your British Family and Local Community in the early 20th Century (210)

    Family historians often neglect the twentieth century as being 'not really history' but there is plenty to be discovered: The first half of the twentieth century was a time of great change and our family members who lived through that era witnessed five monarchs coming to the throne, two world wars, the Depression, the General Strike and the influenza epidemic. They experienced revolutions in transport, in communications, in fashion and in healthcare, as well as the arrival of electricity and indoor sanitation in their homes. The world began to alter for women, as they gained the right to vote and their educational and working opportunities expanded.

    These more recent ancestors were often known to us personally and we may have the benefit of hearing their stories in our own childhoods. Sometimes, this means that we don’t research their stories in the same way as those of our earlier ancestors. Tutor, Janet Few, invites you to spend time focussing on your early twentieth century ancestors. Join her in a quest to preserve the memory of parents, grandparents or great grandparents and set their lives alongside the contemporary social, local and national history that will have had such an impact upon them.

    The course Discovering Your British Ancestors and their Communities in the Early Twentieth Century is all about examining more recent family members in the context of their community and their time, suggesting sources and research methods that will help you. 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. The 1921 census is a recent addition to the researchers’ toolkit and the course includes a new section about how you can get the most out of this resource.

    Tutor: Janet Few
    • * Understanding the early 20th century
    • * Sources for Family History Research 1
    • * Sources for Family History Research 2
    • * The Community, Building a Local Picture
    • * The Bigger Picture, 20th century themes

    Each lesson includes exercise and activities and a minimum of 1 one hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "I found Janet's course so easy to follow and certainly made me think at lot more in depth about my ancestors and their community. Thoroughly enjoyed the course, thank you."

    Relevant Countries: England, Wales

    Course Length: 5 weeks
    Start Date: 09 Oct 2023
    Cost: £58.00

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    Advanced One-Name Studies (902)

    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.

    Increasingly accepted by the academic world, one-name studies are growing up. Collecting and studying the origins of surnames using genealogy techniques is no longer only undertaken by family historians with personal problems to solve. All one-namers with a substantial collection of data are potentially in a position to shed new light on old historical problems. A one-name study provides the glue that melds together disciplines as diverse as population studies, place-names, etymology, as well as genealogy and local history. During the course, whilst the focus is mainly aimed at those researching surnames whose origins are in the British Isles, there is also limited emphasis on surnames whose origins are in other parts of the world.

    In this course, you will be shown how, with an interdisciplinary approach, your research and analysis has the potential to shed new light on the past and contribute to historical knowledge.

    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.

    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. 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.

    Students will normally have a registered One-Name Study with the Guild of One-Name Studies and should be familiar with the Guild's seven pillars of wisdom. If you are not already a Guild member, please contact us for advice before paying for the course. Students should note that this course is not about how to do advanced genealogy research.

    At the end of the course, those students who successfully complete a 2 - 3,000 word written article about one-name studies will be awarded the Guild Certificate of Attainment. The best articles will be submitted for publication in the Journal of One Name Studies.

    Tutor: Julie Goucher
    • * 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

    Each lesson includes exercise and activities and a minimum of 1 one hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "I absolutely loved this course and hope it becomes a Guild rite of passage. The support notes and the links were all great."

    SET BOOKS:
    There are two set books for this course:
    - Debbie Kennett, The Surnames Handbook, A Guide to family name research in the 21st century, The History Press, 2012
    - Colin D Rogers, The Surname Detective. Investigating surname distribution in England, 1086 - present day, Manchester University Press, 1995

    Students are asked to obtain a copies of these before the course starts, available from various online bookshops.

    Relevant Countries: General

    Course Length: 6 weeks (5 teaching weeks)
    Start Date: 17 Oct 2023
    Unassessed Cost: £58.00

    Assessed Cost: £76.00

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    17th Century Sources (382)

    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.

    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.

    Tutor: Stuart A. Raymond
    • * Records of Birth, Marriage and Death: Registers, transcripts, visitations and more
    • * Locating People Using 17th Century Lists
    • * Church and Civil Court Records: including crime, disputes, land and probate
    • * The Civil War and Commonwealth: Problems and possibilities for research

    Each lesson includes exercise and activities and a minimum of 1 one hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "It taught me so much, opened up lots of new avenues. Really made me realise I have a lot to learn but it’s all possible"

    "I enjoyed exploring the old documents referred to in the course and following up on the links that were referenced, particularly those related to the Civil War. This course highlighted a wealth of new sources to me that can be used for research."

    Relevant Countries: England & Wales

    Course Length: 4 weeks
    Start Date: 25 Oct 2023
    Unassessed Cost: £52.00

    Assessed Cost: £70.00

    Enquire about this course



    Professional Genealogist - Become one, become a better one (941)

    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 steps and 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.

    Students should note that this course does not give guidance on advanced methods of research or records, and will assume you already have extensive research experience.

    Whilst focused on the requirements in England and Wales, many overseas students have taken this course as the general principles apply wherever in the world you are located.

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    • * Professional genealogy and business basics
    • * Professional standards, education and Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
    • * Dealing with clients and writing reports
    • * Marketing and websites

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID:

    "Every lesson has been so informative about starting a genealogy business. You've given us all the tools that we need with lots of food for thought, web links to look at and things to find out about. Thank you so much."

    "Before starting this course I had no idea there was so much to it to start up a business! I feel that this course has opened my eyes, given me plenty to think about and given me a basis to start my preparations. I found looking at examples of client reports very useful and enlightening!"

    "Very comprehensive and full of useful and essential advice. I was thinking about moving my genealogy from hobby to business and I now have the tools I need to do this. THANK YOU."

    AGRA members should note that there is a discount for this course. Please see the members' area of the AGRA website.

    Relevant Countries: England and Wales, principles apply worldwide

    Course Length: 4 weeks
    Start Date: 06 Nov 2023
    Cost: £52.00

    Enquire about this course



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

    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.

    The course has five lessons.

    Tutor: Janet Few
    • * Records for finding causes of death and instances of ill-health
    • * Epidemics and Infectious Diseases
    • * Treatments and Cures
    • * Effects of Industrialisation and Working Conditions on Health
    • * Deaths by Other Means

    Each lesson includes exercise and activities and a minimum of 1 one hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "All the lessons were very informative using excellent resources and I learnt so many new things. I enjoyed the course exercises which were thought-provoking and inspired me to look at the lives and deaths of my ancestors in a different way. The chat sessions were also inclusive, interesting and fun."

    Relevant Countries: England

    Course Length: 5 weeks
    Start Date: 13 Nov 2023
    Cost: £58.00

    Enquire about this course



    The National Archives Website and Catalogue - Finding People (207)

    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.

    Tutor:
    • * An introduction to TNA's online resources
    • * Using TNA's new Catalogue Discovery
    • * Widening your search: TNA's other useful catalogues

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "I enjoyed the group participation particularly. The course material was excellent." "It opened up new avenues of investigation within the website which I had not realised were there."

    Relevant Countries: British Isles

    THIS COURSE IS CURRENTLY UNDERGOING REVIEW AND UPDATE

    Course Length: 3 Weeks
    Start Date:   2023
    Cost: £41.00
    Start Date Available Soon
    Enquire about this course



    Old Handwriting for Family Historians (417)

    Palaeography, or old handwriting, 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.

    The course is 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.

    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. This is available from various online bookshops including Family History Federation and Berkshire FHS .

    Tutor: Susan Moore
    • * Introduction to Handwriting & Transcription
    • * An introduction to Secretary Hand
    • * Transcribing Wills and Inventories
    • * Parish records, deeds and abbreviations

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "I am delighted that I am more confident with tackling old handwriting now. Susan has taught me a good solid base to work from and improve my palaeography skills."

    "The documents used for practice were varied and lots of useful tips were given. The internet links will be very useful for future practice"

    ADVANCED PROGRAMME:
    This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Advanced programme but can also be taken individually as a standalone course and you may chose whether or not to be assessed. If you are interested in enrolling on our Advanced programme please do not buy the course individually here but see this link for entrance requirements and contact details.

    Relevant Countries: General

    Course Length: 4 weeks
    Start Date:   2023
    Cost: £70.00
    Start Date Available Soon
    Enquire about this course



    Migration within the British Isles (314)

    How often do we hit a stumbling block in our family history research when an ancestor “appears” in a parish and we have no clue where they came from? There can be many reasons for a “missing” baptism record. For example, we may not have studied the records as thoroughly as we thought, records may be missing, we may have missed alternative sources of information. Another possibility is that your ancestor came from elsewhere.

    The good news is that seemingly unsolvable research problems may be resolved by studying causes and patterns of migration, both local and national, around the location where your genealogical trail stops.

    Alternatively, perhaps you already know that you ancestor migrated from A to B and you are interested in learning about the likely motivation for that move.

    This course introduces you to migration history and considers the study of migration patterns within the British Isles. We then move onto more local considerations - what are the factors influencing whether or not someone may have moved to or away from a particular place? – developing the knowledge to build up a profile of the place in which your ancestor(s) appeared. We build on this knowledge throughout the course, collecting more information, using your own example or a chosen place, and helping you build research plans and search strategies. The methodology and techniques you will learn here can also be applied to your family history as a whole.

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    • * Introduction to migration studies: the history of migration in the British Isles, migration studies and factors influencing migration such as economics and transport
    • * Regional influences: community, weather, famine, conflict and economic depression
    • * Focusing on individuals: records and a research plan

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities and a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID:

    "This has been an amazing course, it has opened up so many avenues of research that I hadn't contemplated before."

    "Many thanks for a most interesting and absorbing course. I've not only learned a lot about migration and population but also strategies for tackling further research, a lot of which can be applied to any aspect of genealogical research."

    Relevant Countries: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland

    THIS COURSE IS CURRENTLY UNDERGOING REVIEW AND UPDATE

    Course Length: 3 weeks
    Start Date:   2023
    Cost: £41.00
    Start Date Available Soon
    Enquire about this course



    Manorial Records for Family and Local Historians (401)

    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 get to understand the complexities as well as the background historical context, and how local customs can differ from place to place. 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. Manorial court records offer genealogists and local historians more than just a glimpse of local justice being dispensed. You will be taught to search for and locate manorial records with confidence and understand how to use them to solve genealogical problems. Many records are in Latin and although this course does not teach Latin, it does provide strategies for getting to grips with the records with key words and phrases.

    SET BOOK:
    The set book for this course, N J Hone, The Manor & Manorial Records (1906), is available for free online at sites such as Archive.org .

    Tutor: Caroline Adams
    • * 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

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities and a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "Manorial Records are an extremely interesting record set and I now understand that you don't have to have wealthy ancestors to find your ancestors in these records and for them to prove hugely beneficial for genealogical research."

    "This course really stimulated my interest in manorial records and has already opened up some new areas of research for me."

    ADVANCED PROGRAMME:
    This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Advanced programme but can also be taken individually as a standalone course and you may chose whether or not to be assessed.  If you are interested in enrolling on our Advanced programme please do not buy the course individually here but see this link for entrance requirements and contact details.

    Relevant Countries: England and Wales

    Course Length: 5 weeks
    Start Date:   2023
    Unassessed Cost: £73.00 Start Date Available Soon
    Assessed Cost: £91.00 Start Date Available Soon
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    Researching in Archives for Advanced Genealogists (481)

    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 cataloguing 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.

    Note: Access to archives is not necessary to be able to take this course, it can be taken completely online.

    Tutor: Simon Fowler
    • * Archives History and Principles
    • * What the Family and Local Historian needs to know about Cataloguing
    • * Beyond the County Record Office
    • * Using Archives

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

    ADVANCED PROGRAMME:
    This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Advanced programme but can also be taken individually as a standalone course and you may chose whether or not to be assessed.  If you are interested in enrolling on our Advanced programme please do not buy the course individually here but see this link for entrance requirements and contact details.

    Relevant Countries: England, Wales

    Course Length: 4 weeks
    Start Date:   2023
    Unassessed Cost: £70.00 Start Date Available Soon
    Assessed Cost: £88.00 Start Date Available Soon
    Enquire about this course



    Using Printed Sources in Family History (253)

    The study of genealogy most often involves research using a variety of original historical documents, whether online copies or transcriptions, or copies or original documents in archives. You will often hear it said: “make sure you look at the originals!” We are so used to working in this way that it is easy to overlook the value and additional context that can be gained from printed sources.

    You may think that your ancestors weren’t grand enough to be mentioned in a newspaper, let alone a directory or local history book. But stories from the lives of millions of our forebears have been captured in this way particularly in newspapers and magazines. There may be no other ways to discover them.

    This course looks at how to use printed material in your genealogical research. We will discuss biographical dictionaries, trade and street directories, record society transcripts and calendars.

    There will be a special focus on studying newspapers and magazines, the most important printed resources by far. They are an amazing resource for family history, but too little used by researchers. We will in particular be looking at the major collections available online.

    This course will provide background about the records how and why they were created as well as suggesting the best research methods to use online and in archives. There will be plenty of opportunities for students to explore the records for themselves.

    There are three lessons, one per week, covering the following topics:

    Tutor: Simon Fowler
    • * Using libraries and finding books
    • * Getting the best from newspapers
    • * Other published sources

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: What did you enjoy most about the course? "Finding out new ways of searching and new sources of information to help me develop my ancestors' stories."

    Relevant Countries: England and Wales

    Course Length: 3 weeks
    Start Date:   2024
    Cost: £41.00
    Start Date Available Soon
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    Researching Online for Advanced Genealogists (480)

    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.

    You will discover the different types of internet resource useful for family history and appreciate their distinctive functions, their benefits and limitations. You will be introduced to a range of techniques for locating information both within genealogy sites and across the web. You will learn why it is so important to understand the differences between online indexes and the original records. Finally you will get to know the main resources for publishing and sharing pedigrees and your family history with others.

    SET BOOK:
    There is a set book which accompanies this course: Peter Christian, The Genealogists' Internet, (5th ed., 2012). Students are asked to purchase this book before the course starts. This is available from various online bookshops including http://www.spub.co.uk/tgi5/index.php

    Tutor: Else Churchill
    • * Resource Discovery
    • * Genealogical Records Online
    • * Online Pedigrees & Genealogical Contacts
    • * Reference Resources for Family History

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

    STUDENTS SAID: "The course was comprehensive and interesting. There was much to learn and plenty to explore for the future too."

    "I learnt so much about how to formulate an EFFICIENT online search for genealogical sources. I'm guilty of sticking to my favourite sites, but this course taught me better methods of manipulating the databases within those sites, as well as introducing me to new ones."

    ADVANCED PROGRAMME:
    This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Advanced programme but can also be taken individually as a standalone course and you may chose whether or not to be assessed. If you are interested in enrolling on our Advanced programme please do not buy the course individually here but see this link for entrance requirements and contact details.

    Relevant Countries: England and Wales

    Course Length: 4 weeks
    Start Date:   2024
    Unassessed Cost: £70.00 Start Date Available Soon
    Assessed Cost: £88.00 Start Date Available Soon
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    Introduction to Medieval Genealogy (501)

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

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

    SET READING:
    The set reading for this course is a website, rather that a set book: Medieval Genealogy

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

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

    STUDENTS SAID: "Excellent information, a huge amount of links and very helpful responses and support by the tutor. Lots to still absorb, but I've learned loads and have already applied some of this learning in my research."

    "It was BRILLIANT - I had not expected it to be so fascinating at all. The lesson notes were excellent and the TASKS set all designed to reinforce our learning."

    ADVANCED PROGRAMME:
    This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Advanced programme but can also be taken individually as a standalone course and you may chose whether or not to be assessed.  If you are interested in enrolling on our Advanced programme please do not buy the course individually here but see this link for entrance requirements and contact details.

    Relevant Countries: England

    Course Length: 5 weeks (4 lessons)
    Start Date:   2024
    Unassessed Cost: £71.00 Start Date Available Soon
    Assessed Cost: £89.00 Start Date Available Soon
    Enquire about this course



    Tracing Living Relatives (255)

    This course has been designed for those wishing to trace living relatives, and is suitable for: solicitors, executors and legal staff carrying out probate research and who need to trace beneficiaries of a deceased’s estate; professional genealogists who are searching for descendants; as well as those who are researching their own family trees and who wish to trace family members, perhaps in connection with DNA testing.

    The course will:
    * guide you through the main sources for locating people;
    * show you how and where to access relevant records;
    * show you, via case studies, how to prove straightforward family connections;
    * outline how to present your findings; and
    * give you some advice on how best to approach potential beneficiaries and living relatives.

    Most resources described in this course cover England and Wales only. Reference will be made to sources in the rest of the UK along with some links and guides relating to research in other parts of the UK and beyond.

    Whilst this course will help you find living relatives and includes advice on how to contact them, it will not cover how to administer the estate of a deceased individual, how to distribute the assets of an estate, or the duties and responsibilities of an executor. In other words, this course does not specifically look at how to become and work as an ‘Heir Hunter’, although issues touched upon relating to probate research are covered.

    Although some basic understanding of family history research may help, as would experience of searching online sources, it is not essential as the lessons will outline and explain the relevant resources and procedures. Please be aware that some of the databases and online sources presented here may require registration and/or subscription, and ordering documents will incur charges.

    Tutor: Eilir Daniels
    • The Different Forms of Living Relatives Research & Getting Started
    • Life Events and Historical Sources
    • Modern and Online Sources
    • Proving Connections & How to Research Forward in Time
    • Practicalities, Pitfalls and Making Contact

    Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    Relevant Countries: England & Wales (some mention of other parts of the UK)

    Course Length: 5 weeks
    Start Date:   2024
    Cost: £58
    Start Date Available Soon
    Enquire about this course



    Advanced Military Research - 20th Century Conflict (325)

    This three-week course builds upon the material of Your Military Ancestors (224), looking at the records available for Twentieth Century conflict in more detail. We include the two world wars, the Boer War, the Korean War and other conflicts including records for men who undertook National Service.

    Some of the sources we consider may already be familiar to you, but many of them won't be. We look at all the records available to research the men and women who served in the two world wars. Many of the records are online for the First World War but this is not the case for the Second World War. We will look at interpreting records and discuss records that have recently been put online or which are being digitised at present.

    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.

    This course is for students who want to know more and in depth about their Twentieth Century military ancestors. It is not necessary to have taken the Your Military Ancestors course to enrol on this course. If you have, you will find there is some revision in Lesson One, but we then move on to the detail.

    This course is particularly suitable for those engaged in projects such as researching war memorials.

    PLEASE NOTE: This course was originally titled Further Research Skills in the Records of the Two World Wars. We have renamed the course for clarity but it is the same course.

    Tutor: Simon Fowler
    • * Basic records and service organisation
    • * Campaign records
    • * Home front, pensioners and prisoners

    Each lesson includes exercise and activities and a minimum of 1 one hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

    STUDENTS SAID: "The exercises were very thought provoking and a good way of using all the knowledge on the course. I thought this may be a "dry" topic however it was not all and I really enjoyed it all. Thank you"

    Relevant Countries: GB, Australia, Canada, New Zealand

    Course Length: 3 weeks
    Start Date:   2025
    Cost: £41.00
    Start Date Available Soon
    Enquire about this course




     

     


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