International Institute of Genealogical Studies


International Institute of Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Research A-Z ~ Social History

For the month of April, we have highlighted some of the 225+ genealogy and research courses offered at The International Institute for Genealogical Studies. There are a variety of themes and topics to choose from. Hopefully, we will feature some courses that you were not aware of and pique your interest to explore further.

Genealogy Research from A to Z


What is Social History? How is it different than historical research? Simply put, it is the study of the everyday lives of people in a certain place in a specific timeframe. It is a close up look at what was happening at that time to impact their lives and influence their decisions and beliefs. It is exploring at all aspects of their lives, not just major life events. 

What opportunities did they have? What did they wear? What foods did they prepare and how – every day and traditionally for special occasions. How did they raise their children? What cultural traditions did they follow and pass down to future generations? The answers to these questions and more will get you started on documenting the social history for your family members. 

Social history places you on the streets where your ancestors walked and lived out their lives. It is a glimpse into their household on a personal level, rather than through the facts and information gleaned from official documents. Newspapers, diaries, letters, memoirs, and even which organizations they held memberships with, can tell us a lot about them.

All these factors build a picture of their lives and add to their life story. It is well worth studying the social aspects of the times in which they lived. The each of the following courses will pose the questions needed to dig deeper into their life experiences, or inspire interview questions for extended family members that you didn’t think to ask, or will lead you to resources required to seek out “the rest of the story” with background details.

Social History Courses

Connecting Family: Online and Virtually 
Demystifying Culture & Folklore 
Discover Your Family History 
Forensic Genealogy  
Google for the Wise Genealogist  
Life of Our Ancestors
Organizing a One-Name Study  
Organizing a One-Place Study 
Personal Historian 
Preserve Your Family History Documents & Heirlooms 
Research: FamilySearch Resources – In Person and Online 
Research: Grandmothers, Mothers & Daughters-Tracing Women 
Research: House & Farm Histories 
Research: Social History 
Research: U.S. Fraternal Organizations 
Social Media Tools for the Wise Genealogist 
Writing the Genealogist’s Memoir 
Writing Your Family History Book

You can customize your own package of courses. This is especially helpful if you want to bundle courses of a specific theme together and receive a discount for your customized package. Register for the courses you need to complete your desired social history theme. 

Learning about the history of how our ancestors lived will give us a deeper understanding of their family life

Research A-Z 

It would be wonderful to find a diary documenting the life of every ancestor on your pedigree chart. Some family members have written out their life story for their grandchildren, or for cousins and extended family members. At the very least, they have answered some key interview questions about their family memories and life experiences. We are constantly reminded to interview elderly family members before the opportunity has passed us by. Many have regrets for not asking the questions that now no one else can answer. 

Make sure those questions go beyond birthdays, anniversaries, and the number of cousins you have. Seek out the social aspects. Identify heirlooms and keepsakes, but find out the story behind them as well. Ask why holiday traditions are followed, and ask about childhood memories. These make up the social history – the every day lives of your family.

The International Institute of Genealogical Studies offers quality online education with over 240 courses. Our wide range of courses cover specific countries, enhance methodology research, build skills to maximize your research time, and all count toward the certification you choose. 

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