Friday, May 30, 2008

The LearnWebSkills Family History Tutorial

I posted over a year ago about the use of the web site to provide tutorial instruction in genealogy research to individuals working alone or to a group. The web site includes:

This site has an online genealogy tutorial that is excellent for both beginner and veteran Internet researchers. The tutorial is in six modules:

I- Getting Started (Home Sources, Charts, Recording Information, Citing Resources)

II - Using Online Resources (Online Databases, Search Engines, Directories)

III - Gathering Key Records (Vital Records, Federal Census Records)

IV - Exploring Further (Probate Records, Church Records, Military Records, Newspapers)

V - Sharing Information (Discussion Lists, Message Boards, Software Programs)

VI - Quiz

Module II, provides tutorials for:

1) Social Security Death Index
2) Rootsweb WorldConnect Project Database
3) LDS FamilySearch Databases
4) Ellis Island Database
5) Castle Garden Database
6) (only the 1880 Census)
7) Google Search Engine
8) Cyndi's List
9) USGenWeb Project

In each tutorial, there is a summary of the database or web site, and links for Demonstration or Practice.

If you click on Demonstration, you will get step-by-step directions in the left-hand frame for how to use the database of web site with examples shown in the right-hand frame.

If you click on Practice, then the step-by-step directions appear in the left-hand frame, the actual web site input boxes and results are in the right hand frame, and you can input your own ancestors into the databases.

This web site has just provided a new tutorial for Researching Your Patriot Ancestor. This tutorial series has four modules:

* Getting Started (includes Home Sources, Social Security Death Index, and Chart basics)

* Finding a Revolutionary War Patriot (includes the Rootsweb WorldConnect database, census records, FamilySearch, Google, and DAR/SAR Patriot lookups)

* Documenting the Lineage (includes the SSDI,,, Family History Library Catalog, and

It all works beautifully. And it is free! The tutorial is fairly simple to use and accesses only freely available online databases. However, a similar tutorial that utilizes commercial web sites such as Ancestry, WorldVitalRecords, Footnote, GenealogyBank, NewEnglandAncestors and others might be useful to those who have access to these sites (for instance, at home, at a library, at the LDS Family History Library, and selected LDS Family History Centers).

The whole tutorial can be used to provide a fairly complete course on how to effectively pursue genealogy research on the Internet. IMHO, it is much better than any static lecture course because the student can see a demonstration and then practice using the databases with the step-by-step directions on the screen.

If your local society is struggling to provide online genealogy research instruction to your members, this is by far the best online hands-on at-your-own-pace tutorial I have found.

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