There is always something to learn in genealogy I find. That’s what makes it so interesting as it keeps the old grey cells active. If you’d like to learn more about genealogy research as a whole, or about a particular topic, I’ve put together a list of some resources.  Here are some great free online genealogy courses.

Where to find free online genealogy courses. Bespoke Genealogy

Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree by Future Learn

Go to Future Learn

This is an excellent course and I would recommend anyone interested in genealogy, especially those at the beginner or intermediate level, to take it. I was reasonably experienced when I took it a few years ago and I’m glad I did. It improved my research techniques no end.

Future Learn courses usually have set start dates and run one or more times a year. The next start date for this course (at the time of writing) is 28 October 2019. If you miss this date or are not able to join at this time, I recommend registering with Future Learn here and signing up to the mailing list option so you’ll be informed of future dates.

Like most Future Learn courses, this genealogy one is tutor taught via videos and printed material. There is a discussion board where you can communicate with tutors and fellow students. There are no exams or essays to complete and the course can be done at your own pace. It lasts for six weeks and requires about 4 hours study a week.

Topics covered on the course include:

  • Differences between primary, derived primary and secondary sources
  • Importance of knowing who made a document and why
  • Lateral approaches to researching
  • International and local primary and secondary source databases
  • The main genealogical source types including civil, church, census and military records
  • Genealogical proof standard
  • DNA testing for genealogy
  • Importance of evidence in sourcing
  • Overview of family tree tools; paper, software and online
  • Protecting and preserving physical and digital records

The course is run by Strathclyde University in Scotland who are world leaders in genealogical study. It does not concentrate on a specific country’s records so it is useful to anyone around the world.

This genealogy course is completely free to join and you will have access to course materials and videos for its duration plus 14 days afterwards. You can upgrade by paying a fee which will give you access as long as the course remains on Future Learn. The upgrade also gives you a certificate of achievement. You can decide whether or not you want to do this after you have completed the course.

For more details and for enrollment go to the course page here.

You can find other Future Learn courses here.

Society of Genealogists Record Guides

Go to SOG Record Guides

The Society of Genealogists in London has four detailed record guides on their website that take you through the main record types in family history. The focus here is on British records.

The SOG also has a very useful Hints and Tips section which contain a number of shorter guides on various aspects of genealogy:

  • Starting your family history
  • Difference between genealogy and family history
  • Surname searching
  • Genealogy as a career
  • Standards and good practice in genealogy
  • Employing a professional genealogist
  • London research
  • Getting the best results from Family Search
  • Getting the best results from the IGI
  • Finding and downloading Wills from the National Archives
  • Writing genealogical reports

National Archives Research Guides

Go to TNA

The National Archives in London has a huge collection of research guides on the records it holds as well those held by other archives. These include 192 family history guides covering the following areas:

  • Army and militia
  • Births, marriages and deaths
  • Census and other national surveys
  • Courts, criminals, prisoners and litigants
  • Divorce, adoption and change of name
  • Foreign and colonial
  • Health and welfare
  • Houses, schools and other institutions
  • Immigrants, emigrants and refugees
  • Medals and awards
  • Merchant Navy
  • Occupations, commerce and trade
  • Prisoners of war and internees
  • Religious groups
  • Royal Air Force and other air services
  • Royal Navy and Royal Marines
  • Tracing living people and electoral registration
  • Wills, inheritance and land ownership

See this page for the full list of family history research guides.

Family Search Classes

Go to Family Search

The free database site, Family Search, has a large collection of classes. Many of these are on video. Topics include Beginners research techniques, getting started in Irish genealogy, South African records, research in Poland and many more. For a complete list see the Classes page here.

Ancestry Academy

Go to Ancestry Academy

Ancestry has a good collection of video courses to choose from including Understanding DNA, Mexican Civil Registrations, Social Media and Genealogy and many more.

See the full list of courses here.

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland


If you have Irish ancestry, there are some great family history guides on the PRONI website. The guides are downloadable pdfs and cover a wide range of topics. Subjects include emigration records, the Registry of Deeds in Dublin, a guide to gravestone inscriptions, tithe records and many more.

See the full list here.

For more free resources see the Free Genealogy page.

Happy learning!

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Where to find free online genealogy courses. Bespoke Genealogy
Free online genealogy courses. Bespoke Genealogy
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Improve your genealogy skills with free training. Bespoke Genealogy
How to find free genealogy training. Bespoke Genealogy
How to improve your genealogy skills for free. Bespoke Genealogy
Where to find free online genealogy training. Bespoke Genealogy
Improve your genealogy research with free training. Bespoke Genealogy
Free courses to improve your genealogy skills. Bespoke Genealogy