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Genealogical Education

Have you been using this time of social distancing to advance your genealogical education? I have. This week I'm set to attend 3 webinars as well as viewing some YouTube replays (search for Irish Genealogy) and Facebook Live presentations. Topics this week range from DNA (with Diahan of my favorites) to my financial software and my website software on SEO (search engine optimization).

There are so many opportunities out there, no matter what type of research you do. If you go to Links and Resources>Genealogical Education, you'll find a list of many of the major resources. National Conferences are some of the best places for intensive genealogical education, but they are expensive and for those who are not "retired" it can be difficult to schedule the time. I was thrilled to be able to attend the NGS Virtual Conference on May 20th and hear Thomas Jones, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Judy Russell and Blaine Bettinger. It's not too can still register for the Virtual Conference and select from a list of 85 pre-recorded lectures (plus listen to the lectures offered on May 20th). Registration and selection of specific sessions will begin early in June.

There are a lot of free resources as well. No matter where you are in your journey FamilySearch has something for you and everything is free. Are you new to genealogy? Go to and click on Help in the upper right of your screen. The first thing you'll see is Getting Started. Click to begin your journey.

All of our research is based on time and place. What do you know about the place where your ancestors lived? Have you worked back a few generations and discovered your ancestors living in a place you are not familiar with? Time to hit the Research Wiki. Again, go to the Help menu and select Research Wiki. Is there a family story that says your ancestors came in through Canada? Type that into the search box and learn about how to research ancestors in Canada. From the Wiki go back to Help and select Learning Center. Here you have presentations that last from a few minutes to over an hour on all types of research. Search for Irish or Ireland to find all of the courses offered. If you're still looking for the locality in Ireland, the information is likely to be in a record in this country (or to the location where they immigrated) so check out the records and resources here before you attempt to "jump the pond."

The main purpose of my website and blog is also education and almost everything is free (although you can purchase the Quick Reference Guides). Pick out other websites and blogs which cover your area of interest. Look at the Geneabloggers Tribe website and search for areas of interest. There are thousands of genealogy bloggers covering everything from general sites to specific family sites. When you find one of interest, check to see the date of the most recent blog to determine if it is still active. Even if it is no longer active, there may be some valuable information. I follow a large number of blogs outside of specific Irish ones. Two of my favorites are The Legal Genealogist and Your DNA Guide.

Don't forget Facebook groups. I try to avoid any political stuff but there really are some great genealogy resources out there, especially now. Amy Johnson Crow has been doing "31 Days to Better Genealogy" on Facebook Live and you can access her posts through her Generations Cafe on Facebook (you need to "join."). Check out Kathryn Willson's website with a list of over 16,000 Genealogy Facebook pages.

I've saved the best for last. The Celtic Connection Conference has also gone virtual this year. It's held every two years and sponsored by TIARA and the Irish Genealogical Society International . This year it was scheduled to be in Chicago beginning on July 31st. Not surprising, it's gone virtual. Here's your chance to hear not only US based speakers but also some of the great Irish, Scottish and English speakers including Fiona Fitzsimons, John Grenham and Maurice Gleeson. One of the problems I have with the conference is deciding what lectures to attend, as usually one of the top ones on my list is scheduled at the same time as one of my lectures. No problem this'll have a month to listen to all of the lectures! The one thing I will miss is seeing all of you but there will be an opportunity for live chats. So don't wait. Registration is now open.

Do you have favorite educational resources you would like to share? You can leave a comment here, or on my Facebook page.

Happy Hunting and Stay Safe!

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