Discovering Your Roots: An Introduction to Genealogy

Course No. 9394
Professor John Philip Colletta, Ph.D.
Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University
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Course No. 9394
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What Will You Learn?

  • Learn how to interview your family and research home sources to start your quest.
  • Understand how local and widespread historical events can affect the context of your family history.
  • Learn how to use official and government records, such as ship passenger lists and naturalization records.
  • Get a handle on how to convert your research into a compelling narrative or biography.

Course Overview

Few experiences in life are as enriching and rewarding as researching your family history. To trace your ancestral roots is to take part in an exciting detective story; one that asks you to rebuild the past from oral tradition, written records, and artifacts, such as family photographs.

Genealogy, however, is about more than just digging up the past. It’s a journey of self-discovery that can teach you as much about yourself as about those who came before you. After all, your ancestors’ story is your story as well. But most important: It’s a way for you to uncover and write one of the most important stories you could ever tell—one that’s unique to your individual life; one that no one else can tell; and one that you can pass down to future generations.

But there’s an obstacle that holds many of us back from unearthing our family history: uncertainty about how to go about it.

  • Which online resources and databases should you use—or trust?
  • How do you make your way through the tangles of public records out there?
  • How do you bring separate facts and events together into a complete story you can share with future generations?

With Discovering Your Roots: An Introduction ­­to Genealogy, you’ll learn the same skills and methodologies the experts use to solve genealogical mysteries and create compelling nonfiction narratives about the past. In 15 engaging lectures, genealogist, writer, and lecturer John Philip Colletta shows you how to uncover information from the long-forgotten past in the most effective ways possible.

Maybe you’re working on a family tree. Maybe you’re writing a personal memoir. Maybe you’re just curious about how people rebuild history. Whatever your reasons, this lecture series is your chance to plunge into the past and start finding the life-changing insights about where you come from.

Learn the Tools of the Trade

“Genealogical inquiry is a progression from the known to the unknown,” remarks Dr. Colletta. “You always start with a few known facts that allow you to access the sources that will yield new facts. Then those new facts allow you to access other sources for more facts. And so on, further and further back in time.”

To help you navigate the winding road into your family’s past, Discovering Your Roots provides you with smart and savvy ways to find—and use—the most helpful online and print resources available today. These include the following:

  • Interviews with living relatives, who can often provide you with the names and events that will serve as the foundation for future research
  • U.S. population censuses, the single most important historical records for constructing American lineage
  • The Periodical Source Index (PERSI), an online index of 11,000 genealogy and local history periodicals from the mid-1800s to today
  • The National Archives and Records Administration, which holds millions of records documenting your ancestors’ dealings with U.S. government agencies
  • Passenger arrival records, which can help you recreate an ancestor’s voyage to America
  • Court records, including dockets, minutes, case files, and probate packets

You’ll also learn a practicing genealogist’s tools of the trade for working with these and other sources, as well as countless tips for making your own research more useful. You’ll discover

  • how to make your interview subjects more engaged and informative;
  • how to judge the reliability and veracity of the information you uncover; and
  • how to collect and organize your findings in family group sheets and pedigree charts.

Rebuild Your Ancestors’ Lives

<>Of course, genealogy is about more than just collecting facts. It’s about discovering the real lives and stories of your ancestors. In addition to showing you genealogical resources and methods, Discovering Your Roots reveals how you can flesh out your forebears’ lives and write engaging historical narratives that can inform and entertain family members or a more general audience. You’ll learn

  • seven steps for personalizing biographical facts by placing them in their historical context;
  • how to construct and narrate the timeline of an ancestor from birth to death;
  • four fundamental questions you need answers to before you start writing about your ancestors;
  • and much more.

Dr. Colletta incorporates hands-on activities into each lecture, offering applications for the skills you’re learning and also stimulating you to get started on your own genealogical detective work. And he also makes the journey personal—constantly illustrating the genealogical process with stories from his research into mysteries about his own family. Using documents and sources pertaining to his ancestors, he helps you develop a stronger sense of what records to look for and how to use them.

As one of America’s most popular genealogical lecturers, Dr. Colletta is a master of the field and a passionate instructor who has spent decades teaching students and laypeople about how to shed light on the past. His clients have included the National Park Service, the National Archives, and the Chicago Public Library, and his work has been recognized by several prestigious genealogical societies.

“Every discovery brings a new mystery to be solved,” notes Dr. Colletta. So grab that old photograph, sit down with an elderly relative, comb through old files and records, and prepare to embark on a personal adventure that can dramatically reshape how you think about your past—and yourself.

Genealogy is a journey of self-discovery that can teach you as much about yourself as about those who came before you. But what holds many of us back from unearthing our family history is uncertainty about how to go about it. Which resources should you use—or trust? How do you make your way through tangles of public records? How do you bring facts together into a complete story you can share with others? With Discovering Your Roots: An Introduction to Genealogy, learn the same skills and methodologies the experts use to solve genealogical mysteries and create compelling nonfiction narratives about the past. In 15 engaging lectures, genealogist, writer, and lecturer John Philip Colletta shows you how to uncover information from the long-forgotten past in the most effective ways possible.

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15 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 1
    Interviewing Kin and Mining Home Sources
    One of the foundations of genealogy (and one of its most enjoyable aspects): interviewing relatives. Here, Dr. Colletta introduces you to several strategies and 10 vital tips to help you get the most out of sitting down with family members and transforming pleasant conversations into solid foundations for future detective work. x
  • 2
    Genealogy Online—Gems and Junk
    It’s unthinkable to do genealogy today without the Internet. But not all online sources are reliable. First, take a look at the benefits (and drawbacks) of government, nonprofit, and commercial online sites. Then, learn how to make sense of U.S. population censuses—the most important record for constructing lineage in America. x
  • 3
    The Library—Shelves Full of Family History
    Learn how to tap into the wealth of library material to get solid answers to the “why” behind events in the past. You’ll tour genealogies and family histories; histories of states, counties, cities, and towns; the Periodical Source Index (PERSI); and several types of maps (which help ground events in the physical world). x
  • 4
    Military Service and Homestead Records
    Holding a document your ancestor once held is a thrilling experience; and this intimate link to your forebears is more readily accessible than ever. Train yourself to navigate through both military records (including service and pension records) and homestead files (which encompass 33 public domain states from 1863 to the 1970s). x
  • 5
    How to Build Historical Context
    Step away from research and explore how to use historical content to transform your facts into engaging life stories. Dr. Colletta reveals seven steps for building effective historical context, including examining your sources in light of local history, and using history to test a hypothesis about how an event transpired. x
  • 6
    Your Ancestors in Ship Passenger Lists
    Learn how to make sense of passenger arrival records: the single most precious document for reconstructing your ancestors’ voyage to North America. Using several key guideposts and sources (including colonial land records and immigrant directories), you can uncover facts about arrivals from colonial days through the 1950s. x
  • 7
    Your Ancestors in Naturalization Records
    Did your immigrant ancestors become U.S. citizens? Did they procrastinate, or not naturalize at all? Dr. Colletta reveals how naturalization records can answer these and other biographical questions. You’ll focus on adapting your research to three major naturalization periods: prior to 1790, 1790 to 1906, and 1906 to today. x
  • 8
    The Genealogical Proof Standard
    Strengthen your skills as a family history detective with this in-depth look at the Genealogical Proof Standard, the five-step process that certified genealogists use for proving ancestral identities, relationships, life events, and other biographical details. Then, wrap up the lecture with a fascinating look at the nature of evidence. x
  • 9
    Your Ancestors in the County Courthouse
    Discover how to work your way through the courthouse records of the county where your ancestors resided. Using the two most common types of courts (circuit and chancery), you’ll examine how to read courthouse materials, including probate packets, vital records, tax rolls, and even colonial-era records such as indentures and apprenticeships. x
  • 10
    Your Ancestors in State Records
    Good genealogists always take advantage of local sources outside the courthouse as well, including state archives, which hold records that resulted between the administration of state laws. Here, you’ll learn how to tap into the information found in original sources (such as census and military records) and derivative sources (including maps and newspapers). x
  • 11
    How to Write Biography
    Explore the process of writing about your ancestors in a way that’s memorable—but that always adheres to the truth. Learn how to compose timelines; how to build historical context around life events; how to search for (and find) a life’s central theme; how to select the right literary format; and more. x
  • 12
    Dos and Don’ts of Writing History
    Writing about the past is fraught with snares. Find out how to sidestep them with Dr. Colletta’s dos and don’ts for writing historical narratives. These include using period vocabulary; evoking the senses through sounds, textures, and aromas; and avoiding the danger of viewing the past through the lens of the present. x
  • 13
    Searching in Your Ancestors’ Backyards
    At some point during your detective work, you’ll have to actually visit where your ancestors lived. In this helpful lecture, discover how to use key local resources you’ll need to rely on for success in your research: cemeteries, records of churches and synagogues, city directories, local libraries, and historical societies. x
  • 14
    Assembling an Account of Your Discoveries
    You’ve learned how to build context and write an engaging narrative. Now, examine the best ways to organize your material and assemble a lasting account of your unique heritage. What are the fundamental questions you’ll need to answer before writing? What are the five elements essential to any multigenerational account? x
  • 15
    Extending Your Family Tree Overseas
    Conclude the course with a peek at how to research records outside the United States. Focusing on his experiences in Europe, Dr. Colletta reveals what essential facts you need to know about your immigrant ancestors, and how to overcome six major challenges to accessing and using historical materials in foreign countries. x

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Instant Audio Includes:
  • Download 15 audio lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
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DVD Includes:
  • 15 lectures on 3 DVDs
  • 136-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

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Course Guidebook Details:
  • 136-page course synopsis
  • Photographs
  • Suggested readings
  • Assignments

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Your professor

John Philip Colletta

About Your Professor

John Philip Colletta, Ph.D.
Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University
Dr. John Philip Colletta is one of America’s most popular genealogy lecturers. He is a faculty member at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama; the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy; and Boston University’s Genealogical Research Program. Dr. Colletta also has been an instructor and course coordinator for the National Institute on Genealogical Research, the...
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Discovering Your Roots: An Introduction to Genealogy is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 99.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from More Much More This course is everything I had hoped for and so much more. I am so into Genealogy that I spend hours at the computer(seems like minutes). I have my tree already back 250 years on both sides of my family.
Date published: 2016-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ancestral Revelations with Dr. Colleta I am totally delighted with The Great Courses, "Discovering Your Roots." It is delightfully presented by Professor Colletta and the course is chock full of valuable resources for expanding one's family genealogy. I have been building my family's ancestral story for a number of years and now that I am retired have much more time to continue my research. As Proffessor Colletta states in this course, "discovering your roots" is a life-long endeavor and he has given me the tools with which I can bring to life the stories of my ancestors. I am looking forward to preserving this information for the benefit of my daughters and grandchildren. This course is a great value and has paid for itself many times over in providing me with sources of free genealogical information and suggestions for personalizing my research. Many thanks to "The Great Courses" and Dr. Colleta.
Date published: 2016-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Informative! Although I have been doing genealogy on my own for some time as a hobby, this course had lots of tips and information/sources that I would have never thought of without taking this course. Some of the information I already knew, however, the purchase of this course was definitely worth what I didn't know!
Date published: 2016-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Needed My Own Copy Even though I have spend more than 15 years researching my family history, I still found plenty of great ideas to help with further research. The instructor was very clear in his presentation and the examples he used were interesting as well as instructive. I first viewed several of the presentations that belonged to a friend, but decided the series was so filled with useful helps that I wanted my own copy.
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from discovering your roots this is a recent purchase i haven't had time to explore or utilize it yet i've been inundated with e-mails and mailings from great courses it will take me sometime to get through this course but, i hope to rate it post my studies as i've done already. please allow me a senior citizen to take my time with the studies of this course. i'm sure i will find it greatly satisfying in all aspects.
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wish I Had Time For Another Hobby Right Now... ...because after this course, I would be doing genealogy for sure! This is my first Great Course with video. I am very interested in genealogy but, being a busy professional at the height of my career and with lots of other hobbies on the side, I just don't have time for one more. Nevertheless, this course was completely fascinating and so full of useful information that I know I will come back to it when I retire or when I get bored with something else. I don't know anything about genealogy, but the presenter's demeanor, knowledge, and the way he dropped in bits of information about his own family kept me eager for the next lecture every time. I am confident that even with zero knowledge of genealogy, I would be able to get some serious research done just by following the guidelines presented in this course. The only thing I would change is that I probably should have gotten the audio version instead. I like to watch the video on the big screen of my computer, and because I'm hardly ever idle at my desk, this took me twice as long to get through as it should have. If I had had just the audio version, I could have listened to it while working out like I normally do. I enjoyed the visuals very much, just found that they made the presentation a little less convenient for me to access. Highly recommend to anyone with any interest in genealogy!
Date published: 2015-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding! This is a terrific course and should appeal to persons of all levels of interest in genealogical research. I have been actively researching my family tree for close to a decade, and this course gave me a number of new ideas and sources to pursue. The professor has a warm and engaging personal style, and his lectures are logically organized and very entertaining - sort of like a series of 30-minute visits with a wise, older family member. I anticipate i will draw on the course (and the course guidebook) regularly in my continuing family research efforts. I watched the video version, which I don't think is required, but the video version does, I think, provide some useful visuals of certain old records, maps, etc. that provide some context for the end product of the research that is described. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2015-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hit the mark exactly For more than twenty years I have been engaged in discovering my family history and trying to figure out how to (a) proceed further productively and (b) how to organize what I've learned in in some coherent manner that will serve my children and their children. Along the way I've learned a lot, and documented some of it in "technical" things like family trees. But all that, while important, is just the raw material for actually thinking-through what has happened and then articulating it for those that come after. This course was exactly what I was looking for. The presenter provides an excellent overview of what the "real" process and its outcome are, and along the way shares concrete, explicit and reasonable approaches to solving problems and, importantly, documenting the research conducted. I highly recommend this course to any person interested in methodically pursuing his/her family history and in documenting it for the family-to-come that we may never know, but who will appreciate the findings and descriptions we've been able to create.
Date published: 2015-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Terrific Course for All Levels The sweet, dulcet tones of Professor Colletta's lecture style immediately create the appropriate ambience for this terrific lecture series. I am an advanced genealogist, deeply into genetic genealogy (perhaps the only area that Prof. Colletta fails to spend sufficient time on), but I learned something of value in every lecture. Whether you are a beginner with simple curiousity regarding your roots, or an advanced practitioner (my family tree presently has some 2400 persons identified), there is great merit in this course and the manner in which it is presented. Clear and concisely constructed, Prof. Colletta takes you on a step-by-step journey into the intriguing and overwhelming universe of all things genealogical. Very much worthwhile (I listened to the audio version) and highly recommended.
Date published: 2015-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I'm blown away!! I have been doing research on my family and my wife's for about 5 years now using a software program to compile all the information I can find. I ordered this course in hopes of learning more and better ways to get information on ancestors that I was not able to locate so far. Professor Coletta has blown me away with the amount of resources I can look into and I have not even gotten half way through the lectures yet!! This course is invaluable to someone interested in finding their roots. Sure, one can stick to one of the many websites that offer (for a fee) historical records. I have used myself and it was worth what I paid. But with this course, one can learn some methodologies from Professor Coletta that can save time and help get accurate results. His delivery is easy to follow and his examples are a great way to learn! I highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2015-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Discovering Your Roots: An Intro to Genealogy I love this course and I haven't even gotten the DVDs yet-watching from my digital library. I can't wait to get going on my research. I love the presentation and the use of examples. Well done!
Date published: 2015-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Geneaology Gold Mine This coarse is loaded with great information. I thought I already knew quite a bit about researching my family tree, but this course really opened my eyes. And the professor is very knowledgeable and makes the presentation very enjoyable. I really look forward to each 30 minute presentaion. I would recommend this to anyone who is trying to doscover their family roots. And I can't wait for my next course in Ancient History. Thank You.
Date published: 2015-02-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Good Material and Presentation This could be a dull subject. But since I am very interested in it, it does come to life for me. Get your pen and paper out & take notes. I needed to do this as there is a lot of valuable information and sources to find what you want. Sometimes I wasn't totally successful 100% of the time; but if I stuck with it, the sources worked. The Professor was well organized and his presentations were excellent. I continue to enjoy the course. Good Luck to you.......................
Date published: 2015-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Discovering Your Roots I am half way through the course, and am very impressed with the written presentation in the book. I have not yet watched the DVD, but if it is anything like the book, I know I will learn quite a bit. I have dabbled in genealogy for over 17 years, and find this course has some very good referrals for even more information.
Date published: 2015-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Discovering Your Roots: An Introduction to Genealo I have done genealogy research off and on for decades. While I never considered myself an expert, I did think I was somewhat knowledgeable. This course was, not only a wonderful review and reminder of information I had forgotten, but it presented new information and so many useful hints that my future research will be easier and more fruitful.
Date published: 2015-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What an inspiration! I have made my New Years resolution to write a biography of my husband's grandfather? He is already amazed with what I have found and I have only just begun!
Date published: 2014-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Genealogy Course The professor did a good job of connecting the different lectures together. He provided information from his research in order to illustrate points within each lecture.
Date published: 2014-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful course! Because of what I learned from this course, I have been able to take my own personal genealogy research to a new level! I would love to see a course on DNA genealogy!
Date published: 2014-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great path to your roots This course is far more than an "introduction" to genealogy. I've been working on my family history for years, and I learned so much from this course that I wish I had known years ago! John Colletta is an excellent presenter. He provides interesting case studies and examples in each lesson which really brings them to life. I highly recommend this course to any beginner to intermediate genealogist.
Date published: 2014-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Discover Your Roots This course was a joy to watch and I refer back to the sections as needed. The instructor mentions some of the best books in each section. I bought another copy for my local genealogy library.
Date published: 2014-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Marvelous 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!
Date published: 2014-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Immediate Benefit to My Own Research 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 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 (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.
Date published: 2014-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course I learnt lot of new and interesting things after watching the course.Great Job.
Date published: 2014-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not exactly what I hoped for, but excellent! I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert on genealogy; I have been interested since childhood, and over the years I have taken most of my lines back 13 or 14 well-documented generations. I proved my sisters lineage for her Colonial Dames application, and received high praise for my work on that from the genealogist in charge of her case. I really did not expect to learn that much new about my search — I mainly hoped for some ideas on how to better organize my records. Unfortunately, there was not that much in the way of practical organizational suggestions (though the course guidebook makes some recommendations for books for which I have high hopes). However, I didn't find myself all that disappointed. The first lecture was a little basic, but by the end of the second lecture I found myself with notes on several paths to explore that I had not previously considered, and this was the case for many of the other lectures as well. I kept stopping the lectures to go try something just mentioned, often with good results. I also greatly appreciate the lecturers coverage of some of the pitfalls of research, and expansion on the genealogical standard of proof. This is something too often overlooked by the new researcher, who is thrilled to discover other online family trees with so many new relatives and imports them wholesale, without considering what errors might have been made by the people who did the original research. Early on I fell prey to the assumption that if a dozen other people said that such-and-such was so, it must be true, only to discover later that each of those dozen people had picked up an error from one or more of the others, until the faulty information was significantly more propagated and accepted than the actual facts. If I had access to this course before I started, I wouldn't have had to waste so many hours untangling the unproven (and often just plain wrong) from the documented information later on. Initially I was also uninterested in the three full lectures devoted to writing your own family history. I was interested in the detective work, not in publishing. But I must admit that by by the end of this section, I was feeling inspired. Perhaps the other members of my family may get a nice surprise sometime soon. The course book is, like so many of them now, mostly just a recap of the lectures themselves, but that is particularly important to have in a series that refers you to so many useful sources and sites. This one does collect most of the online resources on a list at the end of the booklet. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more use of visual aids. You occasionally got a glimpse of a record or form, but never in great detail, and most of the visuals were just pictures of the professor's family during some of his stories about them. Unlike an earlier reviewer, I would say the video version isn't necessary — I feel like I would have gotten just as much out of the audio.
Date published: 2014-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Course Thus Far I loved everything about this course. Each lesson added to those previous with new enlightenments drawn from real world experience that help us in the location of our ancestors. Dr. John Coletta knows his stuff and it shows throughout the course. He touches upon the basics of genealogy: this was not intended to be an advanced research course format, though I do hope that Great Courses will bring back Dr. John for more genealogy. I WILL BUY everything that Dr. John is willing to create. Yes... it is that good.
Date published: 2014-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW! I'm a lawyer who did consumer collections for about a decade and wrote extensive Continuing Legal Education (CLE) materials on Locating Persons and Assets. So I have a LOT of background on finding out information about people. My undergrad major was foreign languages, so I can read German, French and Spanish well and Italian and Dutch fair. When the 1940 U.S. Census was released I transcribed a little over 20,000 records. I've also spent a lot of time working with graphics editing software, so I have a lot of experience with image restoration and enhancement. I've been doing genealogy since 2008. My main Ancestry tree has just under 500 people and other "peripheral" trees (spouses of siblings of direct ancestors, their ancestors, and descendants) have around 100 more. So far I've uploaded about 1,500 images to Ancestry and I have close to 1,000 more. I've pulled records from old newspapers, the U.S. Patent Office (where my cousin was a patent examiner), and on-line deed records. So I know WAY more about genealogical research than most folks. So far I've only listened to the first two lectures and I've already learned QUITE a bit. I STRONGLY recommend this course, and DEFINITELY in video format. Also, this is the type of course that should be re-viewed occasionally as a refresher. Genealogy is the type of field where someone might tell you something INCREDIBLY important -- and it completely "goes over your head". A year later you see or hear the same thing and it "clicks". For instance, he mentions "you can search by just the given name". In my case, I was sure my mother's family was in the 1930 Census but none of the surname variations and wildcards I tried worked. I knew that their old-Italian script E could look like a G, so I even tried that. After about FIVE YEARS I realized, "How many families will have a DAUGHTER named Josephine, SON named Vincent, and MOTHER named SANTELLA?" I put that in, and immediately I found them. Turns out instead of Er or Gr as the first two letters the census-taker had put Gor. I never tried a star wildcard, only a single-character wildcard. If I hadn't done that myself, Professor Colletta's remark about "you can search by given name" would have gone right by and I wouldn't have noticed it.
Date published: 2014-05-31
  • y_2020, m_3, d_30, h_12
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.5
  • cp_4, bvpage2n
  • co_hasreviews, tv_5, tr_94
  • loc_en_US, sid_9394, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 66.27ms

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