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Discovering Your Roots: An Introduction to Genealogy

Unlock the secrets of your family’s long-forgotten past with this course that teaches you the research skills and methodologies of professional genealogists.

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Reviews

j********m
March 19, 2017
This is one of my favorite courses in all my years enjoying TGC. Professor Colletta has the perfect speaking voice and teaching style. The course is filled with great tips and tricks to get the most out of your family history research, whether you're a complete beginner or a seasoned veteran. This is a fun, fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable course that I simply cannot recommend highly enough. Now, if only Professor Colletta would do more courses where he goes more in depth into some of the more advanced topics of genealogy then I'd be even happier. :)

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M********m
August 12, 2014
I've been working on my own and my husband's genealogies for more than 50 years, largely self-taught, and can only say that if I had had this course back when I started It would have saved me thousands of hours, even not considering the benefits of the internet. Professor Colletta not only obviously knows his subject inside-out, but has the ability to communicate it in a fascinating and understandable way. I can't think of any way he could improve the course, other than maybe to offer to do the research for us. Thanks for this one GC!

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a********m
July 30, 2014
Let me say up front that I'm hooked on genealogical research. So I binge-watched the entire course as soon as I bought it and am on my second viewing. I'm working on several family trees on ancestry.com and had hit several brick walls in my own research, especially regarding my great-great grandfather, who was a blacksmith and an immigrant from Ireland, So how did this course help me? First, Dr. Colletta offers many search strategies and resources. Although I had figured out a lot of this myself, it it only took one new tip for me to have a breakthrough. I found a Civil War Navy Widow's Pension File (a type of source mentioned in the course) on fold3.com (a site mentioned by Dr. Colletta) and viewed photocopies of the actual documents that answered many of the questions I had about my great-great grandfather's service in the Civil War, which I had not been able to find searching military service records because his name was not uncommon enough to allow for easy identification among several individuals with the same or nearly the same name. Second, Dr. Colletta also explains how the census, immigration, naturalization, court record and other data was collected, how it changed over time based on changes in laws, and where the data can be found in federal, state, county, or other sources. I hope to be able to find my great-great grandfather's naturalization documents in the county court where he filed the papers, which I learned about in voter registration records that I had not examined in great detail prior to this course. Third, and possibly most important, Dr. Colletta describes what to do with the mountain of factoids to create stories about the lives of real people, as another reviewer said, making history come alive. I had not gotten to the point of actually trying to write stories based on my findings. But the course informed my reading of my great-great grandmother's application file for that Civil War Navy widow's pension I mentioned previously. After studying all of the affidavits and pension office correspondence, and considering the time and persistence it took to for her to get that $8 per month, a story began to emerge. Following Dr. Colletta's suggestions, I have begun to write it and will attach it to my family tree for others to read. If you are already interested in genealogical research, you will enjoy this course, not only for the research strategies he discusses, but also for the engaging stories Dr. Colletta tells and how he discovered them. I agree with a previous reviewer's comment that the visual presentation of historical records is not a major feature in his discussion. So if you are completely new to genealogical research, it would help if you looked at records yourself online, as he suggests in the assignments he gives at the end of each lecture. Although Dr. Colletta talks about his own search for his ancestors in other countries, an in-depth discussion of search strategies for records outside the United States is beyond the scope of this introductory course. I also recommend this course for people interested in history. Genealogical research is historical research with the same rules of evidence and citation of sources. Dr. Colletta also demonstrates how studying the larger historical context enriches the understanding of the lives of one's individual ancestors no matter their stations in life or their roles in shaping History with a capital H.

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