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Kimberly Powell

Are You Taking Advantage? Free Online Genealogical Education, Part 1

By January 22, 2013

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For those of you who commented last week that genealogical institutes and other education opportunities aren't physically or financially possible for everyone -- this blog post is for you! From online webinars and video tutorials, to full-blown University courses with a certificate of completion, there are a wide variety of free online resources for continuing your genealogical education. In some cases this may mean a foray into related fields, from writing and history, to genetics and cognitive science. But that's what makes this so fun, isn't it?

Starting off with genealogy-specific education, don't miss the almost 600 free online courses offered online through the FamilySearch Learning Center, most in video format, or video with slides. There are a few audio-only courses as well, however -- great for downloading to your mobile device for learning on the go. There are courses for every level, from beginner to advanced, and in countries around the world, from Alemania (really Germany in the Spanish language...I had to look this one up!) to the United Kingdom. So yes, there are also tutorials in a variety of languages as well. New courses just added this month represent the typical variety, from "BCG Certification: Measuring Yourself Against Standards" and "Little Used But Important Sources: Swedish/Finnish Tax, Catechism, & Danish Communion Records" to "Using Online Czech Records: Prague City Archives" and "Rubik's Cube Genealogy: A New Twist on Old Data." Among the classes are also a lot of great tutorials on reading various types of handwriting and script, such as this interactive German Script Tutorial.

Free online genealogy webinars offered by a variety of genealogical organizations and companies are another great source for improving your genealogical skills and knowledge. The Legacy Family Tree webinar series, for example, brings in well-known genealogical speakers on a variety of interesting topics. The live webinars are free for anyone to attend, and many can also be viewed for free for a short period following the live event. Some webinars are also available online indefinitely (scroll down the page past the "Future Webinars" to see the "Archived Webinars." If you have missed one that is no longer available online for free, they can also be purchased on CD.

The Friends of the National Archives: Southeast Region have a free webinar series with several focused on genealogical research. Coming up in February is a interesting one with Angela Walton-Raji on "Exploring the Records of the Freedman's Bureau," and in March with Laura Prescott talking about "loc.gov: Using Our Nation's Library Online." DearMyrtle has been offering free online webinars for years, and also makes some of her prior archived webinars available for free. RootsMagic offers regular, free webinars geared to users of their various software products. A number of genealogical societies and associations also open their live webinars free to the public, with recordings of past webinars available only to members. Examples include the Illinois State Genealogical Society Webinars, the Utah Genealogical Association Virtual Chapter, and the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree Extension Series. Over 150 free archived Ancestry.com Webinars can be downloaded for free as podcasts on iTunes. The GeneaWebinar calendar includes many, but not all, of these webinar offerings via an easy-to-use Google Calendar format.

Don't miss Free Online Genealogical Education, Part II, which covers a variety of free online self-study courses, as well as free University-based courses, some of which offer a certificate of completion.

January 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm
(1) Cindy Coffell says:

I appreciated your comments last week. I scratch my head sometimes when I hear someone say they’ve researched their family back to the days of Christ and earlier but they and I are on different roads and I sure don’t want them criticizing my work. We all live in glass houses, don’t we?!

I take advantage of many of Legacy’s free webinars and others when I find them. Most recently I watched the FamilySearch Rubik’s Cube Genealogy lesson. At first I didn’t think much about it but since then followed up on suggestions for timelines and maps and am amazed at the difference it makes! I’m anxious to look into your other online education references.

I am also subscribed to several genealogy based blogs and am pleased for the most part with the content.

Thank you for your insights.

January 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm
(2) ~Kimberly says:

I agree. Just because someone has researched their family “back to the days of Christ” doesn’t make them a better genealogist either. What we all need to get over is worrying about comparing ourselves to each other, and instead concentrate on improving our own personal research skills and knowledge. We each bring our own experiences, knowledge, and talents to the table and have a lot to learn from each other and about ourselves. My point in all of this is that continuing genealogical education is important and beneficial for all of us — from the beginner to the most experienced.

January 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm
(3) Angie says:

I have taken in a lot of free webinars by a variety of bloggers and groups, and find them all very helpful. I didn’t catch if you posted this site


January 29, 2013 at 10:21 pm
(4) Andra says:

Of course!! Nothing is free. When I followed the prompt for additional information, the free wants my credit card info for a “FREE” trial. When you say free and then you are not, that is deceptive

February 2, 2013 at 11:30 am
(5) Ruth says:





February 4, 2013 at 8:53 pm
(6) G.M. says:

It is great for so much data out there for us to buy,bring in as video,link up to, and do electronically on our computers. I’m retired and don’t have alot of skill with my computer. I depend on articles in print to track my Family. I can’t download at much speed. Let alone join a web course. I feel out of the loop at many levels tracking my Family.

March 7, 2014 at 10:11 am
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