Beyond the Basics-Family History

Ref: C3671619

Once the basic family tree is built we seek to know more about our ancestors’ lives going further back in time and looking at different records for additional information. There may also be gaps in our knowledge which cannot easily be filled so we need to think about the records which are available for the time period we are interested in. Our course this term will refresh and catch-up on basic sources, briefly review recording and the latest online records before looking further into Parish Records, Marriage Licences and Modern Wills. All of which are increasingly readily available online through commercial sites which can be accessed for a fee at home or often free in Local Libraries near your home. There will be time for questions, personal research guidance and course members are always welcome to share examples, ideas and problems.

Course aim

To extend and develop Family and Local History research projects through learning and refreshing resources, particularly Parish Records and Modern Wills, whilst sharing ideas and experiences with other course members.

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 four 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 and two individual referenced record sheets or reports
  • 3. 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
  • 4. Demonstrate the results of searching for ten members of my family tree in the modern will indexes online
  • 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 that course members will be actively working on the course content to further their family history research.

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

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.)
  • A notebook and folder for handouts would be useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • It would be useful to have revisited any previous family history research.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course outline

Beyond the Basics-Family History Course Outline


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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