FutureLearn Course: Tracing Your Family Tree – Week Three

So – week 3 of the course is down and dusted.

This week the course tackled major sources – church, civil and religious records, looked at the types of records that might be held in physical archives and considered some genealogy databases available.

And at last we’ve looked, albeit very briefly, at BMD certificates, and how to fill in an outline family tree. This, in my opinion, is where the course should have begun. If I used the layout of the course as a template for one of my own courses, I’d expect the majority of the class to demand their money back at the end of the first week, and be very surprised indeed if I had any students left by the end of the second week.

There has been very little information about how to obtain certificates – and, in fairness, on a course which has attracted thousands of learners from all over the world, I wouldn’t expect to see detailed explanations for every single class of record, nor comprehensive lists of what records are available for which country.  But the course attempted to cover far too much information this week, and completely failed to explain how different records link in to create the whole picture: for example, that information from (for example) a marriage certificate can be used hand-in-hand with census returns – (and that, in my opinion, is the time to tackle the difference between primary/secondary sources, and direct/indirect evidence).

I seem to have used ‘in my opinion’ rather a lot this week, and I don’t want to appear a Moaning Minnie. But I will say that the much-vaunted Google Hangout, though better than the earlier one, was badly produced,  and the ‘quiz’ idiotic in places.

The forthcoming week covers the Genealogical Standard of Proof, and also DNA.  I’ll let you know…


About kate

Experienced genealogist but virgin blogger...
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