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This content is taken from the University of Strathclyde's online course, Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree. Join the course to learn more.
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What will we learn?

This course is taking a slightly different approach to teaching genealogical research to beginners in that we are not focusing on doing research while using records for a given area.

Rather we are setting out general research techniques and ideas that we think genealogists anywhere in the world will find useful.

We will start our course by considering the different types of records that genealogists use, major issues that impact on what they contain and how much a researcher can rely on the information within them.

After completing this week, you should begin to be familiar with:

  • The importance of basing your research on documented data rather than hearsay.
  • The differences between primary, secondary and derived primary sources and why knowing this can help your research process.
  • The importance of knowing who made the documents you are using, why and how they were created and why this can be useful to know.
  • What transcriptions, abstracts and indexes are and how they are created.

You will have a chance to watch a talk which introduces the standard of proof and begins to explain the nature of documentary evidence. You will read about the different types of sources and the importance of knowing who made the documents. We also feature an interview with the founders of a small company specialising in transcription on how they go about digitising and indexing sources. You will be asked to share your ideas on what record sets you would like to see digitised, transcribed and made available online.

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This article is from the free online course:

Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree

University of Strathclyde