Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Genealogy Basics Course

                                                                                                                                                                            A few weeks ago I promised to review the online genealogy course available through your library account from Gale Courses. Gale is a large provider of informational databases for libraries. Besides the genealogy course, they offer lots of classes in these categories:
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Business
  • Computer Applications
  • Design and Composition
  • Healthcare and Medical
  • Language and Arts
  • Law and Legal
  • Personal Development
  • Teaching and Education
  • Technology
  • Writing and Publishing
 To access the courses, go to the library's website: and move your mouse over the "Your Library 24/7" tab. When the drop down menu appears, choose "Online Resources" After the next page loads, scroll down to "Gale Courses" under the section for MCDL Databases.  At this point, if you are logging in from home, you will be asked for your library card number and PIN.

To take any of the classes you will need to enter your email address and a password. This allows them to keep track of where you are in the course.

The Genealogy Basics course is a six week course consisting of 12 lessons. If you don't keep up with the lessons, you are dropped from the class. I know. It happened to me earlier this year.  OOPS!

Here is the course syllabus along with a photo of the instructor:

Down the left side you can see that each lesson comes with Resources, Quizzes, Assignments and Discussion areas. They also come with a lot of supplemental material. Oh, and there is a final exam!

Overall, I would say that it is a good basic course for beginners. It covers all the important topics fairly thoroughly. The Discussion area is a good place to go with questions and comments on the material presented. More than one student presented their "brick wall" problems to the professor here. I particularly liked that you could print and/or save the course material. This allows for checking back when a question arises later.

Classes given by your local genealogical society or library would be better. But if that isn't an option and you don't want to wait, take this class.

Most of the issues I have with the course are related to outdated material. Lisa and I update our class materials every time we teach them. New resources and information are always being developed or discovered, and the classes should reflect that.

Some issues:
  • The instructor makes frequent mention of all the great info. available on CD-ROMs which aren't used very much anymore.
  • He mentions Window's 8 as being the most recent version of Windows. (WHAT, NO Windows 10?)
  • The screen shot for the FamilySearch website was from a very OLD version.
  • Videos are dated from 2011.
  • No mention of saving files to "the cloud"
  • Referral to web site Kindred Konnections, which no longer exists. (You get redirected to
  • Screen shots from very old versions of genealogy software. This might have been intentional as the instructor says there is nothing wrong with using older software.
  • Much of the information in chapter 12 on genealogy software was dated and led to bad links. In the discussion area for that chapter, it is mentioned that the chapter is being re-written.
And the final exam? Well, I missed one out of 36... 97%  Not bad, even taking into consideration that I have taught this class in the past!  LOL!

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