Family History - Essential Steps

Ref: C3671285

An introductory course covering the essential steps for researching Family and Local History, including recording, civil registration, census and elements of Parish Registers. We will also look at major genealogy websites including those freely available at the venue.

Course aim

To develop a basic understanding of how to research and record a Family Tree with guidance on specialist websites which can also be used for Local History studies.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • 1. List three major sources for family history research in chronological order along with at least two websites which hold content for each one
  • 2. Produce a four generation family tree with five categories of information against each person
  • 3. Present an individual record sheet or report for two family members with references for most of the included facts
  • 4. Explain how both sets of Birth, Marriage and Death indexes were created, the census collection system and the three key changes in the layout of Parish Registers
  • 5. Share with the group the family tree developments made during the duration of the course, either orally, by written narrative or digital presentation

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • It is anticipated you will want to follow-up the course content in respect of your own interests.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • - You will be invited to undertake activities in relation to the course content linked to your own interests - It is hoped you will want to share your research work with the group and talk about the pitfalls and possibilities encountered

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Notebook, writing equipment and perhaps a folder to keep course work together

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • Information on optional reading material and guidance on relevant websites will be provided throughout the course.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Progress to additional family and local history courses offered for example by the WEA, Pharos Tutors, Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, Degrees in Genealogy, Oxford Undergraduate advance diploma in local history

Download full Course information sheet

Family History - Essential Steps

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This course has been cancelled.


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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