The best genealogy courses available now

We pick the best genealogy courses available online and by correspondence

A lesson on 'Hitlerism and democracy' at Cheadle High School, 1939. Genealogy courses.

Taking a genealogy course is a great way to acquire further family history skills and potentially even qualify as a professional genealogist. Luckily, many genealogy courses are available online or by correspondence. While we’re all staying at home due to the coronavirus lockdown, why not try out one of these genealogy courses as a fun, safe and educational way to pass the time?


The best online and correspondence genealogy courses

University of Strathclyde

The new programme of online beginner to intermediate eight week genealogy courses from the University of Strathclyde’s Centre for Lifelong Learning is starting on 11 January. The courses are ‘Using Technology in Your Family History Research’, ‘Family History Research: An Introduction’, ‘Family History Research: Beyond the Basics’, ‘Understanding Autosomal DNA Testing for Genealogy’, and ‘Genetic Genealogy: An Introduction’. All courses are £176.

Bridgend College

Bridgend College’s free ‘Family ancestry’ genealogy course is aimed at beginners, covering basics such as ordering birth, marriage and death certificates and understanding census records. It starts on 20 January and lasts ten weeks.

Society of Genealogists

Stage 2 of the Society of Genealogists’ Family History Online Skills Course will start on 28 January (lasts 12 weeks, cost £225). The genealogy course covers the records and techniques professional genealogists use to take their research further, and is aimed at those who have completed Stage 1 or are already familiar with genealogical research.

Pharos Tutors

Pharos Tutors are specialists in online genealogy courses. They offer anytime courses on topics including beginning your family tree and inspiring children’s interest in family history (prices range from £19.99 to £45.99). Upcoming genealogy courses include ‘Migration in the British Isles’ (starts 18 January, lasts three weeks, cost £49.99 assessed or £34.99 unassessed) and ‘Discovering Your British Family and Local Community in the Early 20th Century’ (starts 26 January, lasts five weeks, cost £49.99).

Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies

The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies (IHGS) is an independent charitable trust dedicated to family history and genealogy education and research. They offer a range of correspondence genealogy courses which can be done from home at your own pace. There is ‘The Correspondence Course in Genealogy’; three levels of course for beginner, intermediate and advanced students; an online course in heraldry; and a special ‘Tracing Your British Ancestors from Overseas’ genealogy course for researchers living outside Britain. Prices vary from £150 to £2340.

Celia Heritage

Celia Heritage is an author, professional genealogist and Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine contributor who offers a range of genealogy courses from a one-off video tutorial on using wills for £12.99 to her complete 7-module family history e-course for £299.

University of Bristol

The University of Bristol’s latest online genealogy course is ‘Climbing up the tree: Exploring history through genealogy’ (starts 13 January, lasts four weeks, cost £70). It is particularly aimed at people with Iberian ancestry, exploring how the history of politics, religion and race in the region affects genealogy.

The best genealogy courses to become a professional genealogist

If you are a keen and experienced family historian, you may well have thought about setting up a business as a professional genealogist. There is no one genealogy course for becoming a professional genealogist. However, if you wish to join the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), the professional body for genealogists in the UK, passing one of the following genealogy courses will grant you exemption from some aspects of the AGRA membership assessment process:


• The IHGS Higher Certificate & Diploma in Genealogy
• The University of Strathclyde Postgraduate Certificate in Genealogical, Paleographic and Heraldic Studies
• Pharos Tutors Family History Skills & Strategies (Advanced) Distance Learning Course (run in association with the SoG)
• The University of Dundee Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters in Family and Local History