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

Society of Genealogists

The Society of Genealogists (SoG) is offering an in-depth Stage 3 Family History Skills Course with Expert Tutors. The course is aimed at those who have completed SoG's Stage 2 course, or are ready to apply advanced techniques and take their research back before the 18th century. Starts 28 September, lasts twelve weeks, costs £192 for SoG members or £240 with a bonus one year associate membership of SoG.

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) and they've just launched a new two-part 'Foundations of Family History' course showing you how to begin your family history research. They also have a full programme of courses on different aspects of family history. The latest courses with available places are 'Victorian Families - Your Ancestors in the Census' (starts 2 October, lasts five weeks, cost £58) and 'Discovering Your British Family and Local Community in the Early 20th Century' (starts 9 October, lasts five weeks, cost £58).

University of Strathclyde

The Strathclyde Institute for Genealogical Studies in Glasgow offer flexible learning pathways perfectly suited for beginner through to expert to help you develop the skills required to progress your family history research. Choose from a range of eight week online classes (costing £176.00) commencing in January, April, and October each year. Or take one of their free online MOOCs, allowing you to study anytime, anywhere in the world. If you already have an existing interest and experience in genealogy, you can take your research further with their flexible online postgraduate degree in Genealogical Studies or even a PhD in History with Genealogical Studies!

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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.

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 £447.

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 a professional body for genealogists in the UK, such as the Register of Qualified Genealogists (RQG) or the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), a qualification may be one of the requirements for acceptance.

For full RQG membership applicants need a postgraduate diploma level qualification currently offered by:

• The IHGS Higher Certificate & Diploma in Genealogy
• The University of Strathclyde Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical, Paleographic and Heraldic Studies

For AGRA, passing one of the following genealogy courses will grant you exemption from some aspects of the 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 features editor of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine