By Kimberly Brown, Family Historian
Many institutes, conferences, genealogical societies, and archives offer classes, seminars, and even certificate programs to teach you to research your family history. But Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah offers the only accredited university-based degree program in genealogy. Graduates of the program are awarded a BA in Family History-Genealogy after four years of intensive genealogical training. Their education at BYU also prepares them to go on to become Certified Genealogists (CGs) or Accredited Genealogists (AGs). Certification and accreditation are the two credentials for genealogy professionals. For that reason, Brigham Young University is the best place to enroll to become a professional genealogist.
If you don't want to be a full-time student but want to learn how to do professional caliber-research, you can take BYU genealogy classes online through Independent Study. While only a handful of the classes for the Family History-Genealogy major are offered through Independent Study, the ones that are offered cover a a variety of genealogy topics. These classes include:
- Southern States Research
- Germanic Research
- Southern European and Latin American Research
- Scottish Research
- Irish Research
- Research in England and Wales Since 1700
- British Paleography
- American Paleography
- Writing Family Histories
- The Family and the Law in American History
If you're not interested in taking classes through Independent Study, you can still take advantage of the many free online resources that BYU has to offer. These include:
- Script Tutorials. At script.byu.edu, you can find resources and tutorials for reading old handwriting and documents in English, German, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The tutorial for each language includes images of sample documents and even such resources as name lists, surname lists, and lists of common terms appearing in genealogical-type documents.
- Immigrant Ancestors Project. This is a huge database connecting immigrants to the United States and Latin America to their countries of origin in Europe. You can look up your ancestors at immigrants.byu.edu to find them in port records, passport application records, or emigration records.
- Census tutorial. At census.byu.edu, you can find a full U.S. federal census tutorial, as well as blank census forms and research tips. It's just what you need to get started on U.S. census research.
Whether you just want to do some free online family history research, or whether you're a genealogist with years of experience and are considering credentialing, Brigham Young University has resources that can help you in your family history and genealogy work.