International Institute of Genealogical Studies


International Institute of Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Alberta Homestead Records – Student Presentation

We have a Student Presentation scheduled for Sunday, October 24th. Please join us to show your fellow student support!

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies course, Lecturing Skills Including Preparation, teaches the skills needed to present genealogical-related lectures. It is a “hands on” course where the student presents a lecture via our Virtual Learning Room. We invite you to participate and hear your fellow student. This is a 30-minute lecture, followed by a 10-minute Question & Answer period, and a short poll to provide the student with feedback on their skills.

This is an excellent learning experience for all involved–the student presenter and the audience! We all can learn new and interesting tidbits, even from topics that are not in our area of research.     

“Alberta Homestead Records” presented by Kathleen Provan
Sunday, October 24th at 1 PM Eastern
Presentation Description: The Alberta homestead records (1870-1930) are valuable for researching your Alberta ancestors. This presentation includes the process for applying, locating the records, and what information can be learned from these documents.

Presenter: Kathleen Provan is an enthusiastic genealogist with over 20 years of experience. She has a BA in History and her genealogy focus is on Canadian Records.

(Note: “Enter as a Guest”)   
We would like to thank Kathy Holland for hosting these student presentations.
Go to
In the top menu bar, select Information.
In the dropdown menu, select Virtual Learning Room.
Click on the virtual meeting name in the list. (A new window will open.)
Click on Check Time to see the time in your local time zone.       
***IMPORTANT*** Adobe Connect information and instructions are available on our website. If you are experiencing any issues when attending a virtual meeting, please obtain the INSTRUCTIONS document in PDF format near the top right of our Virtual Learning Room page on our website.

Go to
In top menu bar, select Information.
In the dropdown menu, select Virtual Learning Room.
Click on Instructions near the top right (you may have to scroll over to the right).

The PDF document has Adobe Connect information, Troubleshooting steps, and Adobe Connect Technical Support contacts.             
TO JOIN A VIRTUAL MEETING, simply click on the URL or enter the URL provided in your browser. Alternatively, you can download the Adobe Connect Desktop App (see instructions above) to attend the virtual meetings. When joining a session, a USERNAME or PASSWORD is NOT REQUIRED. Please type in your first name & surname initial, along with your geographical location; then click Enter as a Guest.  
Want to listen to the virtual meeting, but will not be at your computer? No problem! You can download the FREE Adobe Connect Mobile App from the Apple App Store (for iPod/iPhone/iPad) or from the Google Play Store (for Android).     
See the calendar for future Virtual Meetings sessions here.

If you have not attended a Virtual Meeting before, read the Instructions. If this URL does not open, please go to, click on Information in the top menu bar, and then Virtual Learning Room in the drop-down menu. The link to the Instructions (in PDF format) will be at the top right of the page (you may need to scroll over to the right side of the page).             

If you have any questions regarding the Virtual Meetings and/or the schedule, please send an email to                     

Sue de Groot, PLCGS                 
National Institute for Genealogical Studies                     
The National Institute for Genealogical Studies – leaders in genealogy education since 1997. For more information on the over 230 courses that we offer to our students, visit

To subscribe to our email list and receive updates, send an email to
Visit our website for a complete list of online courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Check our Course Calendar here.
Follow us on Social Media: BlogFacebookTwitter, Pinterest.
*Note: Please be aware our social media accounts are monitored regularly, but NOT 24/7. If you have any questions, please contact the office directly.

Contact information:
1 (800) 580-0165


Register for July 2020 Courses

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies offers online genealogical education for family history enthusiasts, genealogy researchers and historians. These courses are rated in Basic, Intermediate, or Advanced levels. You can register for any course individually, or save by choosing from a variety of available packages. See Full List of Packages here: 

The Start Dates for courses are usually scheduled for the first Monday of the month, however, not all courses are available monthly. Be sure to check our Current Course Calendar  for when the course of your choice is scheduled to be opened again.

In the list of courses scheduled for July 2020, there are four courses covering the Colonial period of the Eastern United States. These are valuable resources for anyone researching in this area and time frame.

Research: Mayflower Ancestors
This course studies some of the very first settlers of Massachusetts. Learn how to properly document a descendant line by utilizing New England original and derivative records as well as sources specific to Mayflower research. Following their story and tracing each generation is a great way to celebrate the 400th year anniversary of their arrival to North America.
Course Description: 
Note: This course is currently being offered in our list of discounted courses. Receive 50% off by using the Code: ngs50. Code expires on 30 June 2020. See Discount details here:

Research: US Colonial New England Ancestors
This course explores strategies for finding Colonial New England records while incorporating colonial town records, colonial census records, colonial land records and maps, the colonial wars, religious records, and court documents. Note: This is an Intermediate course.
Course Description: 

The American Revolutionary War was a major historical event which impacted many Colonial families. It is hard to imagine that any family was left unaffected. Many families were divided, with multiple factors leading to which side they chose to pledge their loyalty to. If you reach a brick wall in your research during this time period, be sure to check both Loyalist and Patriot resources. Sometimes you will find family members on both sides. This was a time of major migrations and relocations. Fortunately, they left many records. We just need to document their stories.

Research: United Empire Loyalist Ancestors
This course describes what it meant to be a United Empire Loyalist in the context of the American Revolutionary War and how it affected their ensuing lives. We also discuss the membership and lineage requirements of the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada. Records include: military, claims, land, and other records that will assist with documenting your UEL ancestor. British North American colonies where the Loyalists came for resettlement include Upper Canada (Ontario)—where the original U.E. (Unity of Empire) tradition took hold—the Maritime provinces and Lower Canada (Quebec).
Course Description: 

US: Military Records
This course covers conflicts of the United States and colonial America from the early colonial wars of the seventeenth century to the Second World War. The Revolutionary War records are included in Module 3. Note: This is an advanced course.
Course Description:

Course Packages
Registration for these four courses could be submitted as Course Package – 4 Courses: 
Note: Packages are currently being offered at a discount of 15% off by using the Code: ngs15. Code expires on 30 June 2020.
See Discount details here:

Full List of Packages
Complete List of Courses:

Visit our website for a complete list of online courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

Contact information:
1 (800) 580-0165


Updated Course – Research: Saskatchewan Ancestors

Canada Flag by jannoon028/Courtesy of

Canada Flag by jannoon028/Courtesy of

Researching your Canadian ancestors? Our course, Research: Saskatchewan Ancestors has just been updated with the latest resources and information.

Saskatchewan was part of the North West Territories from 1870 until it became a province in 1905. During this period the land was surveyed and railways were built to bring settlers to the west. To encourage settlement the government of Canada passed the Dominion Land Act in 1871. Under the act a one hundred and sixty acres of land was offered as a free homestead to males 21 years of age or to women who were the sole support for their family.

Many people came from other areas in Canada, the United States, the British Isles and Europe to take up homesteads. Before beginning research in Saskatchewan the researcher should establish a research plan noting whom they are searching for, when the family was in Saskatchewan, where they lived, and what they were doing in the province. This enables the researcher to see what records the family may have created in Saskatchewan. This course will help you learn about the major record centres, libraries and societies that can help you find and use the records you need to trace Saskatchewan ancestors. The assignment part of the course will involve using many of the websites to find which original documents you will need to the answer your research problems.

To learn more about what is covered in this course, please see our website. This course begins 4 January 2016.

What’s New?: Manitoba Ancestors Course Updated

Canada Flag Drawing ,grunge And Retro Flag Series by taesmileland/Courtesy of

Canada Flag Drawing ,grunge And Retro Flag Series by taesmileland/Courtesy of

What’s new at The National Institute? An update to the course Research: Manitoba Ancestors.

Have Manitoba ancestors? This course will help you learn more about the specifics of researching in this area. The course description states:

“Permanent settlement in Manitoba began in the early 1800s. This course will demonstrate how the records the Hudson’s Bay Company, the Dominion, provincial and municipal governments created help the genealogical researcher trace ancestors in Manitoba. Emphasis will be placed on how to access the records and how to use them effectively.

Although the focus will be on the major government and religious records, the course will demonstrate how to supplement these records by using local newspapers, cemetery records, community, school and church histories. Other important resources to be discussed are the collections and programs of genealogical, historical and ethnic societies in Manitoba.”

Check out the Course  page to learn more.

My Favorite Course: Geography and Maps

**My Favorite Course is a new blog series where students and graduates write about their favorite National Institute for Genealogical Studies course. Do you have a favorite course you want to write about? Leave a note in the comments!

Erie Canal Map1853. Wikimedia Commons. Uploaded by User:Mwanner

Erie Canal Map 1853. Wikimedia Commons. Uploaded by User:Mwanner

By Shirley L. Sturdevant, PLCGS, Graduate of The National Institute

It is hard to believe that I have finally graduated with my certificate in Canadian Studies. I am so thrilled to be able to place the post-nomials PLCGS behind my name. My adventure took longer than planned due to other commitments and also to the fact that I spent a lot of time at the end of each course making detailed outlines and notes for myself as well as deciding how best to share my new-found information with other genealogists and family historians.

Many of the courses were very interesting but I think my favourite was Canadian: Geography and Maps written by  Althea Douglas, UE, MA, CG.  Much of the reading for this course came from her book entitled Genealogy, Geography and Maps (©2006 The Ontario Genealogical Society).


The course description reads:

Genealogy, geography and maps are inextricably entwined, particularly in a country like Canada where almost everyone has ancestors who came here     from somewhere else. If you are looking for their records you must travel across geographic boundaries as well as across time. Wherever you travel, maps are essential.

Can you read a map? Did you hate geography in school? You know what road maps tell you, but are you aware that topographical maps tell you much more or that geographers and cartographers now use maps to show us all sorts of information both about the here and now and the worlds our ancestors once inhabited.

While many Canadians look back to Europe or the British Isles, in the multi-cultural society we have become some of us will need maps of every continent except Antarctica. Not just maps of the place as it is today, but older maps that show former political divisions and place names, where old roads, canals or railways once ran, perhaps ownership of land, or city plans that show every building, including the one where the emigrant ancestor was born.

If you plan to be a successful family historian you must learn to look at maps and extract the basic, secondary, and even the third level of information they offer, and then evaluate that information. Is what it shows accurate, up to date or obsolete, misleading or intended to deceive? Maps can be many things and the more you know the fewer traps will catch you.


This course dealt with general information about maps (terms and symbols, making of maps and map websites); migration; various types of maps, atlases, gazetteers, guide books and directories; city and town plans; and, locating maps. Most importantly it taught how to apply maps and geography to our genealogy.

Using maps is nothing new for genealogists and family historians. We have used them to locate countries of origin, track immigration to new destinations and migratory routes in general terms, which have led us to vital and church records, land records, court records and other documents of importance in understanding our family history.

However, using maps that are more specific, and understanding the geography of an area at various points in history, can aid us in discovering and understanding so much more. Through more in-depth study, we answer the questions of not only when and where, but also how and why our ancestors chose to travel or settle as they did. This, added to historical information of an area, broadly expands our vision of the life, times and decisions made by our ancestors.

In my case, the understanding of when various modes of transportation were introduced in my areas of interest assisted in understanding why my family travelled when and where they did. Getting to North America was not always as easy as getting to the coast and taking a ship. Did they need to travel by rail or by slow boat along canals, if such were even in place at the time? Did they choose to travel to Ellis Island on the eastern seaboard of the United States, for example, rather than Canada ports even though Canada was their intended destination?  If they were travelling across the Atlantic during iceberg season, travelling via a more southern route across the Atlantic and then travelling north by trail, road or canal or even trekking by foot would be preferable to the treacherous northern waters.

This course introduced me to so many websites of which I had been previously unaware; not only the usual political maps, but also: historic, thematic (climate, economic, geological, etc.); migratory routes; and more. All led to a broader understanding of my own family’s history.

I encourage readers to check out what maps are available for your area of interest or take this most fascinating course. I cannot talk enough about where your new understanding might lead you!


Shirley Sturdevant. Used with permission.

Shirley Sturdevant. Used with permission.

Bio: Shirley L. Sturdevant, PLCGS, is a 2015 graduate of The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Shirley got involved in genealogy, or rather family history, as a young adult in the 1970s when she heard her parents telling family stories she had never heard before.  Her mother, always one for taking family photos, had also kept numerous albums and had some basic genealogy completed by another “cousin”.  The rest is history; she is now the family Kinkeeper. She got involved with the Kent Branch of The Ontario Genealogical Society and is currently the organization’s Past-President and Program Chair for the 2015  conference “Tracks through Time”.  Besides genealogy, Shirley is an avid reader, enjoys, ballroom dancing and geocaching.  She is now moving forward with her company – SL STURDEVANT Family History Services.