The best genealogy courses available now

We pick the best online and correspondence courses to help you grow your family history skills from home

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

It’s easy to start your family tree online using guidance on our website and other helpful resources. However, as you get more into family history, you may want to take a course to help you develop new family history skills. Luckily, there are plenty of expert-led online and correspondence courses out there. While the coronavirus lockdown continues to limit where we can go and what we can do, it’s the perfect opportunity to grow your family history skills from a computer with one of these upcoming courses.


Pharos Tutors

Pharos Tutors are specialists in online family history education. 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 online courses include ‘Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers’ (starts 2 November, lasts five weeks, cost £49.99) and ‘Advanced One Name Studies’ (starts 3 November, lasts six weeks, cost £59.99 assessed or £49.99 unassessed).

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 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’ course for researchers living outside Britain. Prices vary from £150 to £2340.

Celia Heritage

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

Professional qualifications

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 qualification 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 qualifications 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