Monday, April 30, 2012

Where to go for the basics

If you were just starting out in genealogy, where would you go for online help? I think most experienced genealogists would probably encourage a newcomer to take a class or visit a Family History Center. But what if those options are either not convenient or even available? Is there really someplace to go online to get that basic, easy to understand explanation of genealogy?

The answer is a resounding yes. Here are some of the best sites I am aware of that will help the absolute beginner. Obviously, there may be more, but these are the places I would send a beginner if I had the chance to do so.

1. My number one choice for an introduction to genealogy is a series of 5 Minute Videos from From the startup page, you click on the "Learn" link at the top of the page and then select "Research Courses." Be careful. There are almost 400 courses available. The first think you want to do is select the "Beginner" level in the column of choices on the left side of the list. The 5 Minute Series of classes comes up in a list. My only complaint is that it is a little bit of a task to find the first one in the series. I suggest searching for Episode 1.  Just to get you started here is the link to Episode 1. You can continue on watching these lessons for a very long time and learn an amazing amount of information about genealogy.

2. It is hard to judge what might help a person get started in genealogy. Each person is at a different level of understanding. The next resource I suggest is the FamilySearch Research Wiki.  The good news is that there is a huge amount of information for beginners. The bad news is that it is spread all over the Wiki. Here are some of the pages you might want to start with:
This is not a complete list, but these pages will get you to others with additional help.

3. If you want to see dozens, perhaps hundreds of additional websites about starting out with genealogy or family history, do a Google search on "beginning genealogy." You will get hundreds of results. For example,'s Genealogy Learning & Guidance, a good collection of links to
articles about basic genealogy.

4. If you want to spend a little more time, there are several full-blown online genealogy courses. Here is a list of a few of those available:
There are probably more resources but this is probably enough to get you started.

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