Technology has radically transformed world communication during the last few years and consequently the changes in the rapidly expanding field of genealogy are also radical.

For most people the changes at the personal level are significant since it’s now much easier and faster to document family histories using online databases that only a short while ago did not exist.

People are able to access documentation that generates continued interest that enriches their lives, helping them to become highly knowledgeable in the field of genealogy in a way that was impossible before the advent of the Internet.

As a natural continuum, it has motivated many people too want to learn the process by taking classes in genealogy as a career opportunity (or second career) or just to become more knowledgeable in their own family research. It’s always better to learn the process the right way.

Although we can expect to see more universities and colleges offering programs in genealogy, it’s still the exception rather than the norm. There are, however, plenty of organizations offering education and preparation for certification in the field.

Here’s a list of suggestion for people interested in education in Genealogy/Family history:

1. Brigham Young University (BYU) offers a four-year degree a B.A. in Family History on campus in Utah. They also offer a Family History Certificate course  BYU also offers free online personal enrichment for independent study. The website is not user friendly so a persistent approach helps.

2Vermont College of Union Institute and University offers an online learning program. After a slow start, it’s an approach to learning that’s really catching on and if the user friendly website has anything to do with it I’d look into this one. A custom-designed B. A. or M.A. in Family History is offered under the guidance of a Certified Genealogist with a Ph.D. in History.

3. Heritage Genealogical College based in Salt Lake City offers a combination of online and onsite classes leading to an Associate’s degree or a Bachelors degree in Genealogy Research. The no-frills website clearly explains what you need to do to qualify and it’s worth look to see if it meets your needs.

4. Boston University offers a Certificate in Genealogical Research.  It’s a multi-week program, which can be either classroom based or online. If you’re new to genealogical research this program might not be for you because  experience in genealogy is required. It’s assumed that anyone entering the program has spent a significant amount of time searching multiple generations through record repositories and online sources and documenting results. A quick self-test is offered on the website so that you can make sure that the course is for you.

5. National Institute for Genealogical Studies in affiliation with University of St.Michael’s College in the University of Toronto offers a Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies. It should be noted that the Professional Learning certificate does not represent a degree but is a valued credential to add to your resume.

6. National Institute on Genealogical Research (N.I.G.R.) located at the National Archives in Washington D.C. and College Park, Maryland, is an intensive program offering on-site examination of federal records. As with Boston University the course is designed for experienced researchers who are ready to progress beyond census and military records held at the National Archives.  “Application brochures will be mailed early February 2011. The class fills very quickly. Tuition is $350 for applications postmarked on, or before, 15 May 2011, or $400 thereafter. Scholarships are available. Add your name to our mailing list to receive a brochure by either filling out the Mailing List Forme-mailing us; or writing to NIGR, P.O. Box 118, Greenbelt, MD 20768-0118.”

7. NGS American Genealogy Home Study Course (HSC) offers a very convenient Home Study Course on CD. The course provides a solid foundation for anyone starting out and offers new possibilities for experienced researchers. If you have serious time constraints this could be the course for you. Here’s a list of what the home study course includes:

  • instruction about a variety of genealogical resources;
  • strategies for conducting family history research on the Internet and in libraries, courthouses, and archives;
  • analyzing documents to get the most out of sources;
  • the principles of evidence analysis;
  • explanations of source citation, including examples;
  • tips for writing narratives;
  • assignments with examples of how they should be completed;
  • self-correcting exams;
  • bibliographies and reference lists; and
  • an online mail list for advice and research help.

8. Family Tree University (Family Tree Magazine) offers an online education program There are multiple ways you can take the classes so that there are plenty of options to fit a busy schedule. Here’s the link to view all the courses and courses by topic. There a huge offering so you won’t be disappointed.
If you’re interested in Webinars the interactive events are very reasonably priced and you’ll learn how to improve your research skills. Each Webinar lasts about an hour and includes Q and A session to help you with your specific questions.

9. Last but not least I’m pointing you to the Association of Professional Genealogists so that you can view the guidelines for the use of academic credentials which are not widely known or understood in the public sector. This will avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the credentials held by APG members.

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