Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tuesday's Tip: Use the LearnWebSkills Tutorial to Help Beginning Researchers

This week's Tuesday's Tip is:  Use the LearnWebSkills (www.LearnWebSkills.com) to help beginning genealogical researchers become familiar with online research.

The site was created by Debbie Duay, PhD in 2004 and has been updated several times since then to reflect changes and new features in the online genealogy world.

One of the most useful tools I've found to help beginning genealogical researchers become familiar with online records and websites is the Learn Web Skills website (www.LearnWebSkills.com).  I include this in my "Beginning Computer Genealogy" class at OASIS (a senior adult education center) and the students rave about it, saying they wish they had known about it when they first started genealogy research.

On the screen above, there are links for two different tutorials:

*  Researching Your Family Tree (http://www.learnwebskills.com/family/).  Have you wanted to work on your family history, but you had no idea how to get started? If you answered yes to these questions, this FREE interactive tutorial is for you. 

*  Researching Your Patriot Ancestor (http://www.learnwebskills.com/patriot/).  This tutorial provides a step-by-step process for finding any Revolutionary War patriots hidden in your family tree and gathering the documents necessary to prove the lineage.  Follow the steps below to get started with your research. 

There are a number of modules associated with each interactive tutorial.  For instance, the Researching Your Family Tree tutorial has these modules and tutorials:

Main Page
I.  Getting Started -- Home Sources, Charts, Recording Information, and citing Sources
II.  Using Online Resources -- Online Databases, Search Engines, Directories
III.  Gathering Key Records -- Vital Records, Federal Census Records
IV.  Exploring Further -- Probate Records, Military Records, Newspapers
V.  Sharing Information -- Discussion Lists, Software Programs
VI.  Quiz

 The Using Online Resources Module screen looks like this (two screens shown):

Each learning module includes a description of the database, a "Demonstration" link for a step-by-step demonstration of the database, and a "Practice" link to enter your own search terms and practice using the website.

Here is the Social Security Death Index "Demonstration" screen:

The directions are on the left side of the screen, and the user can go to successive screens demonstrating the site using the "Continue Demo" link or right arrow.

The "Practice" screen for the Social Security Death Index goes to the FamilySearch record collection for the SSDI:

When FamilySearch is the website being demonstrated, the user has to print off the instructions from the "Demonstration" list in order to do the "Practice" activity because FamilySearch does not support frames.  For other websites, the "Practice" activity has the list of directions on the left side of the screen.

Learn Web Skills uses only FREE websites in these tutorials.

If you are hesitant to try online genealogical research, or know someone who is hesitant, then I recommend using the Learn Web Skills tutorials to gain more experience and confidence.  It would be very useful as a Beginning Genealogy education course.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at randy.seaver@gmail.com.

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