Unless you’re a professional genealogist you’ve probably learned most of what you know about family history research from…well…doing research. Most of us dove into our family trees when we began our genealogy journey and never looked back–learning the ropes as we went.
And the truth is, if you’re a hobby genealogist, you probably don’t need an online class or webinar to build a strong family tree. You will discover most of what you really need to know as you dig deeper and deeper into the records, ask questions and seek answers. But just because you don’t need it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
A well structured genealogy course or helpful webinar that covers modern research methods can open your eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. Even the savviest family historians stand to learn something new from a knowledgeable teacher and quality materials. This is especially true if you’re in need of some inspiration, a new perspective in your research or help on a specific topic.
Luckily, there are a selection of courses and webinars online for genealogists today–and quite a few are free to access. Here are some that come highly recommended.
7 Places to Find Free Genealogy Courses
YouTube: You might be surprised by how many brilliant online tutorials, courses and quick tips on family history can be found on YouTube. A simple search for “genealogy how-to” offers thousands of results and includes offerings from top experts, genealogy research sites and government repositories–including videos from the US National Archives. So whether you’re looking for help on conducting German genealogy or are in need of some family history basics, this is a great place to start.
FamilySearch Learning Center: There’s a reason FamilySearch tops nearly every list we create here on Family History Daily–they offer the most extensive free genealogy site in the world. Their learning center is no less impressive. With a massive selection of quality courses on nearly every topic and location imaginable, you’re certain to find something of interest.
Brigham Young University Independent Study: BYU offers a variety of courses on family history topics that are completely free to the public and available online. These offerings include classes on introductory genealogy, writing your family history and several regional tutorials.
UK National Archives Family History: From army musters to medieval record research, the UK National Archives has many media offerings for genealogists–and they’re all free and easy to access right on their website.
Ancestry.com Learning Center: Most of us think of Ancestry as a paid resource, but they do offer a variety of helpful freebies, including a vast learning center. Some (but not all) of the webinars and resources place a focus on finding records on Ancestry.com, but are still very helpful for general research.
RootsMOOC–Intro to Genealogy and Family History Research: This open online course is offered by experts from the State Library of North Carolina and provides a complete introduction to genealogy research. This course is only partially available online at this time.
National Genealogical Society: If you’re a member of the NGS you can take their courses at a reduced price. They used to offer a basic course for free to members, but this is no longer available. The annual fee is $65 for an individual and includes many benefits.
Family History Daily now also offers online courses. Although not free, they conveniently cover dozens of research topics, from beginner to advanced, in one easy-to-use learning environment. Find them here.
Image: United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration training center, University of Maryland. College Park, Maryland. 1944 Library of Congress