SALT LAKE CITY–As students all over the country head back to school, family historians also have the opportunity to learn - but they can do it from home at their convenience.
FamilySearch now offers 81 free lessons on FamilySearch.org, enabling people anywhere in the world to access family history expertise any time. The topics range from basic research to training on specific record types and can be beneficial to both beginners and experienced researchers. Most of the classes come from research consultants in the world-famous Family History Library in Salt Lake City, but FamilySearch is also now working with partners to broaden the pool of expertise.
For example, FamilySearch worked with the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, Missouri to record and post 12 classes. These classes are available on both FamilySearch.org and the Midwest Genealogy Center’s site. Such collaboration benefits everyone involved, according to Darin Hakes with FamilySearch Community Services.
“We see partnering as a mutually beneficial situation for FamilySearch, our partners, and the patrons,” Hakes said. “We realize that FamilySearch does not have expertise in every area, nor do we have the bandwidth to create all the training that is needed. However, there are many excellent individuals and organizations that have created training that can benefit the genealogical community. They may not have the resources to record and publish their classes, so working together is the perfect solution.”
Midwest Genealogy Center librarian Janice Schultz agrees that partnering with FamilySearch increases their reach.
“The online classes allow people to attend no matter where they live,” Schultz said. “It helps us achieve our mission of educating genealogists. We have received many positive comments about these classes.”
In addition to the Mid-Continent Public Library, FamilySearch is working with the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Board of Certified Genealogists, and the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists. Individual genealogists may also use FamilySearch’s free services to record and share their presentations. One result of an individual partnering with FamilySearch is a class called “Inferential Genealogy” by prominent researcher and teacher Tom Jones.
“Tom’s class is excellent, but may be too complex for some patrons,” Hakes said. “We tried to provide a different instructional approach, to make the presentation of the content more visual and provide opportunities for practice. We added value by presenting his content in a different way, taking something fairly complex and making it more easily digestible.”
Upcoming FamilySearch classes will focus on U.S. courthouse research and a series of courses for those just getting started in family history research. There are also more interactive classes planned on reading handwritten records in different languages, a list that now includes Dutch, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
All of the classes can be accessed on www.familysearch.org by clicking on Free Online Classes on the home page.