Sunday, September 19, 2010

FamilySearch offers free online research classes

FamilySearch now offers 81 free lessons on, enabling people anywhere in the world to access family history expertise at any time.

The lessons include topics ranging from basic research to training on specific record types for both beginners and experienced researchers.

Most classes come from research consultants in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, but FamilySearch is also working with other partners to broaden its pool of expertise.

For example, FamilySearch has worked with the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, Mo., to record and post 12 classes. These classes are available on both and the Midwest Genealogy Centers site.

"We see partnering as a mutally beneficial situation for FamilySearch, our partners and the patrons," said, Darin Hakes of FamilySearch Community Services.

"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. … 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 a perfect solution."

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 classes can be accessed at

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