Genealogy Courses

Have you been inspired to start tracing your family tree by programmes like ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, or have you always wanted to get to the bottom of that family story that you are related to Royalty, or are you simply looking for a new, absorbing (and sometimes frustrating!) hobby? Then one of our friendly and informal genealogy workshops will get you well underway with your research.

We run our 1-day family history workshops every few weeks, over a period of 7 days, generally from a Monday to the following Sunday. You can come for one day or for longer, either on consecutive days or weeks apart. Obviously the longer time you come for, the more you are likely to find out and the more familiar you will become with the available sources of information.

1861 Census Entry for Denmark Dunch and his wife Ruth

It is impossible to say how much you will be able discover in one day, or even 7. It depends entirely on such things as where your ancestors lived and how common their surname was (we have a John Smith in our tree... oh dear!). With luck you should be able to discover the names and dates of several generations of ancestors, and perhaps begin to find some more interesting details about some of them. Even if you do hit a blockage, just remember that every generation you go back doubles the number of ancestors that you have to investigate, so there are always more lines to look at (actually, that doesn't always apply - one branch of Richard's family is so in-bred that his great-great-grandmother had a lot fewer great-grandparents than she should have had!).

1851 Census Entry for John Smith, his wife Lydia and their granddaughter Jane Dunch

What You Will Learn

Easy access to vital records on the internet has totally transformed genealogical research in the last few years. Records of Births, Marriages and Deaths in England and Wales from 1837 onwards are easily searchable and there are many, if patchy, indexes to Parish Registers going much further back. Census returns from 1841 onwards can supply a great deal of information on family relationships and people's occupations. Other records, such as wills, are becoming more available every day.

Coal Miners at rest

There are similar records for Scotland and Ireland (North and South, they weren't separated until Irish Independence in 1922) although some Irish records are missing because they were destroyed during the Civil War following independence.

An early Parish Register - not all document are this hard to read!

Don’t worry if your computer skills are not great, or even non-existent, our computers have everything you will need pre-loaded, you just have to click! Of course, if you have your own laptop, bringing it would be perfect as you can enter all your information directly.

Even in this internet age, there is still a need for more traditional forms of research, to put meat on the bare bones of names and dates available online. To help with this we will teach you about the family history resources available to you at your local library / records office, how to use Fiche and Film readers and the other resources available e.g. Newspapers, Rate Books, Electoral Rolls etc.

In addition we offer an optional evening visit to our local Records Office in Preston, where we will show you around the reading room, discuss the sort of records you can find there and how to access and use them. You will also be issued by the Record Office with a CARN card, which will allow you free access to most Record Offices throughout England and Wales (you will need to bring identification to obtain your CARN card - we will remind you of this closer to the time if you book a course). Currently this is on a Tuesday, which is the late opening night for the Record Office, and is subject to change which is outside our control.

If you come for three days or longer we will provide you with a large Family Tree Wall Chart complete with all your newly found relatives so that you can impress your family when you get home!

We also supply you with a comprehensive set of notes which cover everything you will learn on the course.

The areas we will cover include, but are not limited to:-

  • Using a Family Tree Program to Store & Display Your Relations’ Details
  • Birth, Marriage and Death Records
  • Census Returns
  • The IGI (International Genealogical Index)
  • Parish Records
  • Sourcing and Ordering Certificates
  • Military Service Records
  • The National Archives
  • Wills
  • Rootsweb Mailing Lists
  • Online Access to Archives
  • The National Burials Index
  • The War Graves Commission
  • One Name Studies
  • Newspapers (Local & National)
  • Passenger Lists
  • Court Records
  • Directories
  • Rate Books
  • Electoral Rolls
  • Hearth Taxes

Great Great Grandmother Ellen Brooks
Great-Great-Grandmother Ellen

What does it Cost?

Our charges are £80 for a single day, or £70 per day if you come for two or more days, plus £40 for the trip to Preston Record Office. We ask for a deposit of £30 to secure your place, with the balance payable by cash or cheque on the first morning of the course.

Practical Stuff

Great-Grandfather Edwin - aged 38 in 1914, on his way to the trenches

All our genealogy courses run from 10am to 4pm each day.

If you have a laptop, please bring it with you. If not we have computers for you to use, all pre-loaded with what you need and ready to go!

All of our family history courses are limited to a maximum of 6 students. With 2 of us available at all times you can be sure of getting all the help you need.

All courses include a light lunch every day and a full set of notes.

For students attending a Genealogy Course for 3 days or more, there will be a high quality wall chart to display your family tree.

We offer an optional trip to the Records Office in Preston on the Tuesday evening. The trip leaves at 4:30 pm and the Record Office closes at 8:30. There is a refreshment area at the office for snacks and drinks. The trip costs £40, including transport to and from Preston. You could, of course, come to Preston with us as part of a single day, or even just on its own. You will need identification which includes your address, such as a driving licence or utility bill, to obtain your CARN ticket, which can be used at most of the County Record Offices in England and Wales. Even if your own nearest office is not part of the scheme you are almost certain to need to access records at offices which are (there is no charge for the card and it is valid for several years).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, by phoning us on 01704 547114,
we’re very friendly and would love to hear from you! Or you can email us at:-