The best genealogy courses available now

Develop your family history skills with these online and correspondence genealogy courses

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 – meaning you can get started on family history or expand your skills from your own home.


The best online and correspondence genealogy courses available now

University of Bristol

The University of Bristol’s new course, ‘An Introduction to Genealogy’, covers starting a family tree, birth, marriage and death records, census records, DNA testing and more. Starts 26 October, lasts eight weeks, cost £140.

Lifelong Learning Dundee

The latest genealogy course from Lifelong Learning Dundee is ‘A Beginner’s Course to Researching Your Family’s Story and History’. In this course, Ken Nisbet will look at the sources available on and offline to help you research your family’s stories, including employment, military service, education and appearances in old newspapers. Starts 9 November, lasts six weeks, cost £42-£48. Booking closes at 12pm on 5 November.

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). Their latest courses are ‘Scotland 1750-1850 – Beyond the Old Parish Registers’ (starts 1 November, lasts five weeks, cost £49.99) and ‘Advanced One-Name Studies’ (starts 2 November, lasts six weeks, cost £49.99).

Past Search Learning

The latest course from professional genealogist Gill Blanchard of Past Search Learning is ‘Tracing A House History’ (starts 30 October, lasts 15 weeks, cost £450).

University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow offers an impressive Genealogical Studies Programme with courses for beginner family historians right up to advanced postgraduate level. In addition to their Masters degree study path, the department offers a series of 8-week online classes (costing £176) that cover a range of topics including Family History Research, Genetic Genealogy and Autosomal DNA Testing for Genealogy. Classes commence in January, April and October each year and can be booked via their website.

They’re also currently offering a free four-week course, ‘Working Lives in the Factories and Mills’ – you can start any time and learn at your own pace.

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 £345.

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)


Rosemary Collins is the staff writer of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine