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Back to School: Genealogy Style

Thanks to guest-blogger, Lisa Alzo, for this fun article.

It's hard to believe that we've unofficially said “So Long!” to summer now that Labor Day has come and gone. Students of all ages have settled into their routines of a new school year, and are now filling their days with classes, homework, and extracurricular activities. This time of year can be a great time for genealogists to learn something new as well. Whether you're looking to improve your research skills, prepare for certification, or get tips on how to use a new database or technology, there’s no better time to get into learning mode. Here are five suggestions.

1. Curriculum.

There’s no need to sit in a stuffy, or overcrowded classroom to get your genea-education fix, when you can learn online, at home, in your pajamas! Simply go to to register for some fantastic free fall webinars, including: Using Newspapers, Using Court Records, Researching Ohio Ancestors, and many more! Click here to see the full list of upcoming webinars. And, when you sign up as a subscriber (now just $49.95 annually), you'll get on-demand access to the entire video archives, including webinars on specialized topics such as, The Genealogy of Your House, Ten Hidden Resources Every Genealogist Should Know, and You Use WHAT for Genealogy? Wonderful Uses for Unusual Tools. There’s a total of 188 hours and 497 pages of instructor handouts. What a convenient way to get “genealogy education where you are!” It’s easy to enroll and you won’t have to commute long distances or wait for the bus!

2. Course Materials.

In addition to the great instructor handouts you get as a FamilyTreeWebinars subscriber, you can supplement your learning experience with Legacy QuickGuides™. Newly available topics include: Using Probate Records, Ukrainian Genealogy, Researching the Family Legend, and more! Don't forget old favorites too, such as Cemetery Research, Finding Your Female Ancestors, and Using U.S. Census Records, among others. Find the complete list here. If you’re new to Legacy Family Tree software, or want to learn about features in Legacy 8 you haven't tried, see Legacy 8 in action with Geoff Rasmussen’s new book, Legacy Family Tree – Unlocked! Get the PDF edition free when you purchase the 236-page paperback. Click here to buy your copy now.

3. Field Trips.

Apply the skills you learn from Legacy Webinars with some onsite research, or what I like to call "immersion genealogy." Visit the courthouse, a public, college, or university library, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, or one of its many FamilySearch Centers, or plan a trip to your ancestral town or village! Conferences and meetings are also a great way to get out and meet fellow genealogists and get even more education. Find a list of upcoming national, state, regional events at Conference Keepers. Also, it's not too early to make plans for 2014. First up is the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) to be held January 13-17, 2014 at the Radisson Hotel in Salt Lake City. While some of the more popular courses may already be filled, (check out specialized tracks, such as New York Research, Researching in Eastern Europe, Producing a Quality Family Narrative). Then, in February, is RootsTech 2014 also in Salt Lake City. And, if you’re registering for either of these events, why not plan to arrive early, or stay a few days after to research in the Family History Library and make it a combined field trip!

4. Recess.

Genealogy education should not be “all work and no play.” Share what you’ve learned with your family members and other researchers via a Blog (see the GeneaBloggers website for a list of more than 3,000 genealogy and family history blogs. Engage others through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or through Google Hangouts (such as Monday’s with Myrt (DearMyrtle), or the What’s Up Genealogy or GenChat.

5. Extra credit.

Students like extra credit or bonus points. You can do some “genealogy good” too. Mentor a young genealogist (perhaps you can purchase a “getting started” gift such as one of the Legacy QuickGuides™ to pass along to him or her). Tell a friend about Family Tree Webinars, or inquire about showing one of the webinars at your genealogy society’s next meeting.

Whatever your continuing education plans, don’t forget to keep an open mind and be willing to try something new. And remember: Be serious about your research, but have fun doing it!

Happy Learning!

Lisa A. Alzo is a freelance writer, instructor, and lecturer. She is a frequent presenter for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.


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