Getting Started with Your Family History | Part 1

Are you just getting started looking into your family history? Do you find yourself repeating research or not knowing where to look next?

Today, we’re highlighting various resources that may help you get on the right track as you move forward with your research. This post is not a comprehensive list of resources. Inclusion in this list does not act an endorsement from NCGS.

Beginner to Intermediate Courses

American Genealogical Studies (AGS)
The American Genealogical Studies series is produced by the National Genealogical Society. It was designed to give family history researchers easy access to courses that progressively prepares them to accomplish their family history research goals. Developed by certified genealogists and professional educators, AGS courses are self-paced, independent study courses. There are four AGS courses available:

  • AGS: The Basics is a course designed for anyone just starting out or who wants a refresher on genealogical principles
  • AGS: Guide to Documentation and Source Citation is a course for anyone who wants to understand the principles and practice of citation for common sources such as books, periodicals, and a variety of filmed and digitized records.
  • AGS: Beyond the Basics is a course covering various genealogical records and research techniques; the student also develops skills in collecting, interpreting, analyzing, and evaluating genealogical information. Each lesson has a written assignment.
  • AGS: Branching Out is the fourth course in the AGS series. In this course you continue to expand your family research knowledge and hone your skills in writing genealogical reports and citing numerous genealogical documents.

Research Like A Pro eCourse
The Research Like a Pro eCourse is produced by Diana Elder, AG®, of FamilyLocket.com. It corresponds with the book, Research Like a Pro. The course includes access to eight webinars corresponding to chapters in the book. In each webinar, Diana leads you through the key concepts using real life examples. You’ll get in-depth answers to your questions and gain a deeper understanding of the Research Like a Pro process. You’ll also have access to monthly office hours where you can ask questions and get help.

Webinar topics include:
Pedigree analysis and objectives: Learn how to analyze your family tree for possible research opportunities, then how to focus your research with an objective.
Reviewing previous research and analyzing source information: Learn how to analyze the sources you have found and extract all of the possible data from them.
Location research: Study jurisdictions, boundary changes, and discover the importance of understanding “where” an event occurred.
Research planning: Learn to make a focused plan that will guide you to the best sources that will answer your research question.
Source citations: Study the elements of a good source citation and learn to create your own.
Logging your research: Discover how to organize your research using a research log and source citations.
Writing up your research: Learn the many ways you can share your research, how to write a simple proof summary, and discover the best option for any research scenario.
Organization, productivity, and education:  Discover new ways to organize your genealogy documents, become more productive in your work, and boost your genealogical knowledge.

Generations Connection
Generations Connection is a membership that gives you access to professional genealogist, librarian, and Ancestry.com expert, Amy Johnson Crow. You also get access to a community of genealogists, the tools, tips, and tricks that you need to succeed in your research, and also take on the most challenging of genealogical records.

Amy starts by having you reframe your research with her WANDER method which is a method to help you find your ancestors without going in circles:

What do you want to find?
Analyze what you already have
Note what is missing
Discover new records
Evaluate everything
Repeat as necessary

Generations Connection members learn how to use this method to expand their research. Research is not a straight line, and members of Generations Connection learn that the best way to dive into their family history is to WANDER and find their ancestors along the way.

Ancestry Academy
AncestryAcademy® is a collection of free video tutorials containing research tips, genealogy insights, and DNA tools.

FamilySearch Learning Center
The FamilySearch Learning Center offers over 2000 free online clasees. They have many introductory classes and topic specific classes ranging from geographic location to record type. Visit the Learning Center or view a list of all current classes available.

Facebook Groups & Pages

The Genealogy Squad
The Genealogy Squad is a private Facebook group. The mission of the Genealogy Squad Facebook group is to provide a positive space for the sharing of appropriate and reliable methods and resources to assist a global community of genealogists at all levels. We focus on answering questions and solving problems, while demonstrating best practices in all aspects of genealogical research. The group is run by George G. Morgan and Drew Smith of The Genealogy Guys, Cyndi Ingle of Cyndi’s List, and Cari Taplin, CG, of Genealogy Pants.

Let’s Talk North Carolina Genealogy

Let’s Talk North Carolina Genealogy is a Youtube Series and Facebook page all about North Carolina genealogy. The series offers 7 episodes covering North Carolina specific genealogy topics. They also offer live research chats where researchers of all skill-levels get together, ask questions, and discuss their genealogy problems. Follow their Facebook page for news and announcments about upcoming episodes and chats.

North Carolina Genealogy Network

This private Facebook group is another good place to ask your North Carolina Genealogy questions. The purpose of the group is to share genealogical and historical information and to help others in researching family history.

Getting Started with Your Family History Part 2 will cover blogs and books that may help as you start on your genealogy journey.