First Steps into your Family History

Ref: C2525559

For beginners or experienced researchers who want to use the Internet to trace their family tree and discover how their ancestors lived in times past. We will look at the various types of resources that can be found online, learn about their historical context and what information we can glean from them to build a family history. Learners will also be encouraged to manage and maintain a folder containing evidence of their research.

Course aim

To assist learners in building up knowledge of their own family history using the Internet and some local archive material and resources.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Access and navigate relevant family history websites and use them to search for ancestors.
  • Identify and use a variety of online archive resources.
  • Develop research and analysis skills and look at wider research opportunities.
  • Use the context of the resources to discover more about the social history of ancestors.
  • Increase IT confidence, develop keyboard skills and enforce methods of online safety.

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
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • You will be expected to carry out a range of activities in your own time

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 have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • A file of work will be kept which will help to record your progress
  • There will be a number of tasks appropriate to your course such as written work, creating art or craft, video, photography or small projects. Some of these may be marked to help you progress

What else do I need to know?

  • Folder, notebook, pencil

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • Beginners may wish to collect the certificates or documents they already have and bring them along to the class which will give a basis to start from.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • Joining a local history society where research skills would be beneficial in researching your local area. Enrolling on a general history or local history course. Engage with heritage projects in your area.

Download full course information sheet

First Steps into your Family History


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

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