23 February 2021

BU Certificate in Genealogy Online Program : Week 5 Review

 This post will be very short. Feedback was received from an individual stating that reviews on the Boston University genealogy course should be written after the course is complete. So my posts may become sporadic. Week 5 is now complete. An advanced assignment on DNA was due Sunday which was difficult in my estimation. 

The second module begins today. It will consist of three weeks of study. The topic of this section is called "Evidence, Evaluation, and Documentation." Readings for this week will include articles from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Genealogy Standards, and Professional Genealogy.

Take-a-way for last week.

  • Know your DNA test kits; Y-DNA and mtDNA very well. Not simply that Y-DNA traces the direct male paternal line and that mtDNA traces the direct female line. Know the specific uses and limitations of each kit and how to interpret the results. Read up on mutations, genetic distances, STRs and SNPs, haplogroups, and subclades.

2021 International German Genealogy Conference - Virtual

 The International German Genealogy Partnership is hosting its 2021 conference. This year it is virtual making it easier for genealogists to participate. The conference will be held 17 July to 24 July 2021. This year's theme is "Researching Together Worldwide / Weltweit Gemeinsam Forschen".

There is a great line-up of speakers listed below for this event. 

  • Ute Brandenburg
  • Dr. Wolfgang Grams
  • Timo Kracke
  • Roger P. Minert, PhD, AG, FUGA
  • Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
  • Katherine Schober, MA
  • Diahan Southard
  • Michael Strauss, AG
There are various registration options available. Please see the registration link for more details. There is an early bird price through 31 March 2021!

To stay up-to-date with conference news, check out the IGGP Blog.




16 February 2021

BU Certificate in Genealogy Online Program : Week 4 Review

 At the end of week four I had redemption. My assignment for the previous week was graded and I did very well. I was very happy and relieved from the following week's crash and burn. The project for week four included researching and studying various passenger manifests. We also had to correlate data found in those documents with other documents that were provided. There was a lot of research and document analysis for last week's assignment.

As I begin week five it is very noticeable that the amount of reading has dramatically increased. We will be reading an article from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, one chapter in Professional Genealogy, and five chapters in The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy. There will be the usual discussion post and an assignment on DNA due this coming Sunday night.

This appears to be an enormous amount of reading. Especially if the student is working full-time. Living in the Northeast we have major snow and ice storms supposedly rolling in. I suggest that the student budget his or her time very wisely to successfully get through this week.

10 February 2021

BU Certificate in Genealogy Online Program : Week 3 Review

Week 3 is in the books now. This course is a lot of work. Make no mistake about it. Unfortunately for me, my assignment for week two was not as well received as the week before. Lesson learned on my part! Major take-a-way: pay attention to the smallest details! As one instructor mentioned in an online classroom video, "the smallest details can make or break your research in genealogy."

Each week there is plenty of reading from journal articles, our couse textbooks Genealogy Standards, and Professional Genealogy. There will always be a discussion question where you write an original post and then also respond to at least two other students' posts. And the weekly graded assignment.

This week's take-a-ways:

  • Pay attention to all of the details, both large and small. Overlook nothing! I learned this lesson. Learn from my mistake.
  • If you are unsure, simply ask a question.
  • Schedule your time. You cannot do all of the readings and assignments in one day or night. That is impossible.

02 February 2021

BU Certificate in Genealogy Online Program : Week 2 Review

 Week 2 of the Boston University online course is wrapped up. I made it through! Grading for the first assignment was posted over the weekend. I did very well. Let's hope that last week's assignment goes as well.

Again, the actual assignments will not be discussed in detail. This week we studied correlation of records for similarities and conflicts among the records. Similar to last week; another question was posed for a discussion topic. We had to write an original post and the respond to at least two other students' posts.

Required reading for the week increased compared to Week 1. Our written assignment focused on utilizing records where data is inconsistent, writing a biographical draft, and developing a sketch for future research.

To reiterate some of last week's take-a-ways:

  • Set a schedule and follow it so that you do not fall behind for your readings and assignments. As the course progresses, readings are becoming more involved and so are the assignments.
  • Make sure that you understand the question! Ask the instructors if you are not sure!
  • A new take-a-way is now that we are going to be doing more genealogical writing; we need to grammatically write with our English skills that we learned possibly a long-time ago. Genealogy is all about writing. Telling stories, explaining, and documenting your research goes so much further than simply listing names, dates, and places. Learn to use and like spell check. Use a thesaurus so that you are using different word. Do not simply recycle the same word over and over. Use commas and periods to break up your sentences.

So far I am happy with my decision to take this course. I feel that it will hone my existing skills and I will learn new skills and techniques. My readings are calling me...



27 January 2021

BU Certificate in Genealogy Online Program : Week 1 Review

 Although lately my posts have been spotty and not regular, for the next 14 weeks I will attempt to give a very brief synopsis for the week's events being enrolled in the BU program. Actual assignments will not be discussed.

Week One is down. Overall reading was relatively light. An original discussion topic was required to be posted by each student and the students were also required to respond to other students' posts. A semi lengthy research assignment where you needed to utilize genealogical research and thinking skills was also due.

After week one, take-a-ways to pass on to any genealogists who may be considering taking this online course are:

  • Before enrolling, think hard whether or not if you have the time to invest on reading and completing assignments. The course is expensive. An estimation of mine is that I spent close to twenty hours' worth of time on this week's experience.
  • Set up a schedule to do the above. Make a plan and then work the plan. I will re-iterate the words of a former college professor that I had years ago, "No one plans to fail. They simply fail to plan."
  • When working on assignments. Make sure to read ALL of the directions and instructions that are provided. 
  • Students do independent work. Assignments are due weekly by a set date and time. 
  • Take your time and read. Read slowly. Ingest and then digest the material that you read. If you skim read, you will miss something important. 
  • If you have questions, contact the instructors. They are very willing to help. They want you to succeed!
  • Most importantly, have fun! I need to get back to reading...

11 January 2021

Genealogy & History Programs at HVCC

The following was cut and pasted from the web site of Hudson Valley Community College's Office of Community and Professional Education.


Below are upcoming inexpensive non-credit programs for anyone interested in local history and genealogy. Contact the Hudson Valley office for further information:


Office of Community and Professional Education
Phone: (518) 629-7339
Fax: (518) 629-8103
Email: communityed@hvcc.edu
Location: Guenther Enrollment Services Center, Room 252


Registration begins 14 January 2021.





Back to Basics - Beginning Genealogy

Get back to basics with professional genealogist Lisa Dougherty!  Whether you are just starting out, or want to sharpen your genealogy skills, this is the program for you. Learn how to begin your genealogy experience with suggestions for research you can do close to home, then learn about the basic records that all family historians use to fill in their family tree. Starting out with a solid foundation is the key to a successful journey into your family’s history!

Lisa Dougherty, Instructor

Location: Williams Hall, Room 112

Date & Time: Tuesday, 23 March 2021 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Cost: $15


Back to Basics - Using Ancestry.com for Your Family History

Get back to basics with professional genealogist Lisa Dougherty!  Ancestry.com is the internet’s largest genealogy website, with 15 million+ DNA testers and over 3 million subscribers worldwide as of 2017.  Its many features can be a great advantage to those researching their family history, but all that information can also be confusing and intimidating.  Lisa, an experienced Ancestry user,  will help you find out what exactly Ancestry.com has to offer, how to perform effective searches, how to find the information you are looking for, and how to create an online family tree that is both accurate and interesting enough to share!

Lisa Dougherty, Instructor

Location: Williams Hall, Room 112

Date & Time: Tuesday, 20 April 2021 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Cost: $15


The United States Colored Troops In The Civil War

This will be a two-part presentation. The first section will be an overview of the role that African Americans played in the armed forces from the early days of the country up to the Civil War.  The second portion will cover the United States Colored Troops (official name), or "USCT", in the Civil War, focusing on some battles, including the Battle of New Market Heights. 

Jim Cochran, Instructor

Location: Williams Hall, Room 112

Date & Time: Thursdfay, 29 April 2021 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Cost: $12


Ther German Community in Rensselaer County

Join Rensselaer County and Troy City Historian Kathryn Sheehan for this illustrated lecture about the history of the German community. From the Palatine Germans settling in Brunswick in the 18th century to the founding of Germania Hall in Troy, to the impact of the German born Jewish immigrant farmers who settled in Nassau, we will explore this varied and important history of the German residents of the county.

Kathryn Sheehan, Instructor

Location: Williams Hall, Room 112 

Date & Time: Tuesday, 27 April 2021 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Cost: $15


The Erie Canal: Part of Our History

This presentation with Tom Ragosta, president of the Watervliet Historical Society, curator of the Society’s museum, and city of Watervliet historian, will answer any questions you may have about the Erie Canal. Learn about what it was, what its purpose was, why it was built in New York State, and the statistics on both the original canal and the enlarged version of the canal. You’ll learn about the canal’s impact on the city of Watervliet through pictures and documentation, and a six-foot model of an Erie Canal boat and associated artifacts will be on display.

Tom Ragosta, Instructor

Location: Williams Hall, Room 112

Date & Time: Tuesday, 4 May 2021 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Cost: $20


Susan B. Anthony: The Suffrage Struggle and the 19th Amendment

Susan B. Anthony returns from a long hiatus to relate the story of the struggle for women to earn the right to vote – from her era up to the successful ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1919. In 1920, 14 years after her death, women across America had full voting rights. Susan adds to her story of the early years of the fight for women’s rights: the right to own property, equal access to education and the professions – and full citizenship, including the right to vote. After the pioneers of the movement had passed, new voices: Carrie Chapman Catt, Frances Willard, Ida B. Wells, Harriot Stanton Blatch, and Alice Paul – made the last great push to the finish line, enduring hardships, including imprisonment. Their final efforts and determination led to the passage of the 19th Amendment, known as “The Susan B. Anthony Amendment.”

Phyllis Chapman, Instructor

Location: Williams Hall, Room 110

Date & Time: 24 March 2021 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Cost: $37