Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What is Your #1 Source for Genealogy Education?

I was just reading the Journey to the Past Blog by Brenda Leyndyke. In her most recent post "Recommendations for Genealogy Education And Assessing 2012 Goals" she talks about various forms of genealogy education, particularly the ones available on the internet. She also runs through the educational classes she has taken during the month of February. Let me tell you she covered a lot of ground!

Brenda's focus was primarily on live webinars and recorded online videos. She's right - there is so much available online these days that it is very easy to broaden your knowledge of genealogy without leaving home.

But there are lots of other genealogical learning opportunities such as magazines, peer reviewed journals, books, in-person classes, institutes, conferences and  seminars. I'm sure there must be others as well.

I thought it would be interesting to stop and ask everyone to consider where they get most of their genealogical education. Is it from one of these sources or from something else? Are you finding that you are shifting from traditional sources to webinars and videos? Or are you sticking with books? Does your own personal learning style play into this? By that I mean do you still prefer in-person classroom learning, are videos more visually helpful or is there something else that suits the way you learn?

I can't wait to hear what you have to say.

For myself I think I have adapted to all learning opportunities. I like face to face learning but I can take away a lot from videos and webinars as well. I still do an extensive amount of learning in books and journals. As long as it makes me think and I learn something new then I find it worthwhile. Though I'm not so sure that I would like participating in an online class (as opposed to in person).

Looking forward to hearing which educational opportunities you are taking advantage of!

Photo Credit: Photo by cdsessums and used under the creative commons license.


  1. I learn from all formats. I think they all have their place, and each has merits and limitations. I never claim to know it all and I think of myself as a sponge, absorbing bits and pieces of knowledge and information from books, podcasts, webinars, conferences, magazine articles, courses, web articles, blog posts, and other methods. I think it is great that today's genealogist has so many opportunities for learning.

  2. When I first got started, I learned tons at the Middlesex MSoG chapter meetings. Then I started going to NEHGS lectures and Connecticut Genealogical Society meetings. Within a few years, it was conferences (NERGC, NGS, a couple of FGS, and even one GENTech). Most recently, I've been doing a few webinars.

    Always, always, I was reading everything I could get my hands on.

    I love now how the online classes, chats, webinars, recorded lectures on FamilySearch, streamed lectures, etc., have been teaching me.

    NEAPG and CPGC have had a part, too. The regular meetings and the deeper looks at repositories have sharpened my research skills.

    This Spring I am auditing the BU certificate course. I get to listen and learn and not have to do homework :) Learned a few online sites just two weeks ago that were new to me.

    It's like aiming at a moving target. What is available and where is always changing. More and more good stuff is online. My new best friend is Find a Grave. :)And counties with deeds and other records online. The list could go on and on.

    One thing I've never done is attend a week-long institute. It used to be that parenting got in my way on that. Now, in some ways, it still does. Too bad there aren't any week-long institutes that are only about colonial stuff in New England. Otherwise, I get kinda bored.

    Oh, and did I say the BCG Ed Fund all-day workshops the day before each NGS conference? They fill up fast. I've been to all but one in the last seven years. The topics are top-line and the instructors are the best, generally the types of instructors you'd be having at those weeklong institutes.

  3. Thank you for mentioning my blog. I think the combination of winter and illness kept me inside and looking for online resources. In addition, I read journals, listen to podcasts, attend local genealogical events with my society or those held at the local library. I attended FGS 2011 this past fall and really enjoyed that. I love to have a book in my hand but am trying to go digital, so that is another option. Cost is usually the determinate of what I can do. Great topic, I look forward to reading what others think.

  4. I learn from all formats like Lisa. I am working on my fourth Professional Learning Certificate for Genealogical Studies at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. This is an online course and they have many certificate programs.

  5. I started off pretty much self-taught and stayed that way for many years. During the last several years I have read a number of books and this year I have branched out into seminars, my first one being your "Ten Brick Wall Tips for Beginners".

  6. I am a great fan of Legacy webinars, read everything that interests me... on-line, magazines, society journals, etc. This spring I am taking the Boston Univ Online Genealogy course.. (I do have to do the homework :) ) The best part of taking this course is that it fills in all the gaps... being self-taught some times you don't know what you don't know or you avoid seeking out a particular source type because you aren't that familiar with them. I'm learning new skills and it is giving me confidence that what I am doing is quality work.

  7. Lately I've been doing my genealogy learning through webinars and online web sites. I really enjoy the Legacy webinars!

    In the past, when I had more time, books were my major source.

  8. I have participated in MANY genealogy educational opportunities over the last eight years and love that there are so many more available now. It is much easier than it used to be to learn the skills you need to be a good genealogist. The online opportunities are growing and making education available to more people without the cost of travel.

    I love reading books, attending conferences and seminars, participating in online study groups, listening to webinars and FamilySearch presentations from home, but I must say that my #1 source for genealogy education is the genealogical institutes. There is nothing like focusing on one genealogical topic for a whole with with 20 or 30 other genealogists. This is where my most in-depth education has occurred and where networking is a natural part of the process. My best friends in genealogy are some of those that have been in my courses at the genealogy institutes. While there are many courses at the institutes that are valuable, my favorites have been "Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis" with Elizabeth Shown Mills at IGHR and "Advanced Genealogical Methods" with Dr. Thomas W. Jones at SLIG.

  9. I'll vote with Angela on the institutes. I've tried everything else and certainly learned from all sources, but the intensity of a week-long course is entirely different.

  10. I actually learn best in live person... would love to attend regular society meetings and conferences. However, we live in a rather remote area, so the closest society is over two hours away, one way. So, I have a lot of books. I watch a lot of video's and webinars. I listen to genealogy podcasts and online "radio" shows. I read blogs, and connect with folks on Twitter and Facebook to get their view, even if I don't always comment. I pour over each and every copy of the NGSQ, and am always looking for new avenues of information: history blogs, wikis, etc.

  11. Mostly blogs & podcasts, some books (though things are changing too fast for them to keep up!), and I've started dipping into webinars. I've been to a few live things, but there are hardly any good ones in my area.

  12. I think now that I am retired and on a limited budget the best way for me is webinars. I can pick the topics and speakers that I find work best for me. I have been to FGS and NGS conferences and they are great. But my husband has had a stroke and it is hard to leave him for a week at a time. So put them all together and webinars work best.

  13. Until the last year or so, I learned by doing. I did a lot of stumbing around, figuring things out and wasting a lot of time re-doing what had already been done.

    Last year I took the NGS course and am about to start the third disc. I just started the ProGen group and expect to learn a lot from that.

    I also have started reading numerous blogs, reading journals and watching many webinars. In fact, the most recent one I saw was Marian's on brick walls and I have been working on timelines and resources check list to see if it can help me pull them down.

    Last year I attended the Angelina College Genealogy Conference in Lufkin, Texas and I am signed up for the NGS conference in Cincinatti.

  14. I learn from many sources but my all time favorite for really in-depth knowledge is books. I an currently finishing up my courses for a certificate at the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. When I want to learn a lot in a short amount of time I take a face to face class. If I wish to learn a specific thing, like how to set up a page on Facebook, I'll take a webinar. Blogs, mailing lists, journals, magazines and conferences (when I can afford them) provide additional learning tools.

    There is such a plethora of educational opportunities that you need to be careful--you can get caught up in learning and not leave time for doing.