Genealogy is such an absorbing pastime that most of us don't get organized until we’re buried in information, legends, vital statistics, phantom relatives, and all of the vast hodgepodge of documents we find.
In "The Organized Genealogist," one of our "Everything Olde is New Again!" series of genealogy courses, you'll learn how to navigate through the obstacles most of us run into sooner or later. In this course, you'll unravel the maze of forms and fundamentals to help you organize your research.
Get and keep your genealogy research under control whether you are just starting this adventure, or a seasoned family historian.
When two pieces of information disagree, you'll have a way to determine which is more likely to be correct? You'll know where you found your ancestry information and have a better idea of it's accuracy.
Get organized and stay organized with:
Spend your time researching and discovering, not retracing
Avoid wracking your memory. You'll have your research all written down, and nicely organized. You'll be able to find those sites you didn't think you'll ever need again.
You'll have access to examples of the types of inaccuracies you might come across, even in official documents. But YOU won't get discouraged by these because you'll know how to manage that information. More importantly, you'll learn techniques for analyzing conflicting information, or how to uncover previously elusive information (or ancestors.)
Content and Overview
I designed this course because I learned, personally, what a mess all these documents and artifacts could become.
You'll, also, get a full 53-page textbook with links to every site we visit, downloads and assignments for practice and discussion.
And you will learn enough to be able to determine whether or not you really are related to Kevin Bacon. Isn't everyone?
What my classroom students say about my genealogy courses ~
Exceeded my expectations. Micki was a wonderful instructor who came to class with years of research experience which she shared with us. I found her to be very encouraging and very helpful and was generous with help even when class wasn’t in session. ~ Allenda Elam
Learned useful ways to approach brick walls. ~ William Sadler
Wonderful Class. I’d like to take it again. ~ Nancy Copple
The course was great. ~ Anonymous
I am very pleased with the guidance course materials and helpfulness of the instructor. ~ Glen Crain
Really appreciate your research, printed and DVD package. ~ Bonnie Sadler
A welcome and brief summary of what you will learn in this course.
"The Organized Genealogist" is your text for this course. It contains the links to all the websites we visit during the lecture along with other notes and comments, some not mentioned in the lecture.
As with any specialized field, genealogy has its own language. It includes both niche-related terminology and historical terminology. This lesson covers the general terminology, abbreviations and a touch of Latin which influenced most of the western European languages for the last 2,000 years.
Occupations and diseases are just two of the things that were known by different names in past generations. This lesson will show you were to find out what those names mean in language we can understand today.
This lesson explains what is meant by a 1st, 2nd, etc. cousin and what is meant by "removed" as in once or twice removed.
You'll learn about a number of forms that will help you record and track the research you've done and that you still need to do. I'll show you where to download free copies you can use for your research, which also takes you to a number of valuable genealogy resource sites, full of links to other resources and tools.
Pedigree and Fan Charts, Research Process Form, Records Inventory Form, Research Planner, Research Record, and Correspondence Log Illustrated
Census, Immigration, and Military Forms Illustrated
This assignment will help you use the information you learned in Section 2 to become familiar with these forms and their functions, and to prepare for Section 3, where you will start your Family Tree Plan and plan your approach.
Use basic documenting standards to make everything clear at a glance. Set your goals with a formula to stay organized.
Not all evidence is equal. Here you'll learn how to rate your evidence as primary, secondary, and best evidence, and determine whether it is proof of any fact.
Lesson 12 will help you get started in your searches by describing some of the most common sources for evidence and clues about your ancestors along with some links to important resource sites.
Lesson 13 picks up where Lesson 12 leaves off, covering more common search sites and basic sources for facts, along with many more links to indexes and source information to verify facts.
Lesson 14 is your assignment for section 3. Please download the lyrics and pedigree chart, and post your comments in the discussion area. I'm sure you'll have a few.
Genealogy uses numbering systems to identify each ancestral member. You'll learn why these are used at all, and how to use three of these systems.
There are several ways to file your ancestral artifacts and genealogy documents. You'll learn about each and will choose one to use to get started. You can change filing systems, so it's good to know a variety of ways to organize your family history treasures and evidence.
After completing this assignment you'll be ready to manage your clan, your clan's documents and your clan's artifacts like a pro.
By citing genealogy sources consistently you will keep your research organized and even cross-referenced to other ancestors. But how do you write a citation for everything, like an autograph book, or a letter? It's easier than you think!
Here is where you can find additional resources that were added since this course was published. I've set this to be downloadable, so you don't have to write out these URLs or other titles.
I began working on my family genealogy in the mid 1980s, picking up where my Mom left off. Soon, I learned that my cousin had picked up where his Mom left off, and we combined our trees. My first challenge was a brick wall: who were my maternal great-grandparents and why did they put their children in an orphanage. My next challenge was a family legend about how the Hearst empire took ownership of my great-great-uncle's Homestake Mines. While the legends were far more exciting than the facts, it turned out to be a very interesting story, anyway.
Since then, we've uncovered the truth behind family legends and revealed our ancestors adventurous lives so thoroughly that we just published one biography in a local history publication, and are planning a few more writings.
Through research, I was invited to start genealogy clubs and teach genealogy through local history museums and community educations programs. When searching for further education on family history research I discovered there were no ancestry related courses on Udemy, and thought there just needed to be a few. So, I am adapting my classroom courses to Udemy's online format, and hope to maintain the "Genealogy Research Group" relationships through Udemy's discussion board that accompanies each course.
Please join us to embark, literally, on "the adventure of your life."