The National Institute for Genealogical Studies


The National Institute for Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Research Using Internet Tools

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies offers comprehensive online education to enhance your genealogical knowledge and provide skill building research techniques. Whether you are just starting your family research, or you are interested in pursuing one of our Certificates in Genealogical Studies programs, you will need to learn the basics of navigating the Internet environment. These courses go beyond genealogical methodology or basic computer skills as they lay the foundation for successful online research. They are a must for every family historian.
Three Basic Courses

Google for the Wise Genealogist 
This course explores Google programs and how they can be used to research family history. Google is the best non-genealogy, genealogy website there is!

Social Media Tools for Genealogists 
By using social media tools, you can connect with researchers worldwide, find distant relations, curate content, and share your research. This course provides you with just some of the tools you will need to help you take advantage of various websites and demonstrates how social media is all about sharing, education, mobility and yes, networking.

Connecting Family Online & Virtually
Computers and the Internet have revolutionized the way families communicate. This course highlights specific ways to use your computer and the Internet to build and strengthen family ties while conducting your family research. By exploring various topics, participants will discover ways to find long lost cousins and stay in touch with distant relatives.

Monthly Virtual Meetings

Our Monthly Virtual Meetings are a way for students and guests to communicate with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies’ instructors in a fun and interactive way and provides a place to ask questions about courses and/or research. Whether you are curious, or even if you have already completed all three of courses, these meetings provide valuable tips and suggestions for finding and using online resources to assist us in our research. The current schedule will list all of the upcoming virtual meetings. These sessions are FREE and you do not have to be a current or past student to attend. Attendees do not need a User Name or a Password. Just type in your first and last name, along with your geographic location; then click “Enter as a Guest” to access the meeting room.

For more information about courses and events, check back to our blog and watch for social media posts on Facebook and Twitter.

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

Contact information:
1 (800) 580-0165

Student Lounge Open Again This Week

We are opening our National Institute for Genealogical Studies Student Lounge again this week and again we will be having a discussion each day the Student Lounge is open … please see below for the topics, descriptions, and dates/times.

During your time spent in the Student Lounge, we ask that you PLEASE KEEP THE DISCUSSION ABOUT GENEALOGY AND THE ONLINE COURSES ONLY. We are all dealing with enough stress. This is a time to enjoy your family history, courses, and learn genealogy from others.

Gena Philibert-Ortega and/or Sue de Groot will be monitoring the Student Lounge during the scheduled hours and will be inactive as they still have work to do. As time permits in the workday, Gena or Sue may pop into the Virtual Learning Room to answer questions or even give a small presentation.

Please join us in the Student Lounge at When signing in, select “Enter as a Guest” and enter your first name along with your geographical location.

The Student Lounge schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, April 7th
Time zones: Eastern – 9 AM to 6 PM; Central – 8 AM to 5 PM; Mountain – 7 AM to 4 PM; Pacific – 6 AM to 3 PM; London, England – 2 PM to 11 PM; Sydney, Australia – 11 PM to 8 AM on Wednesday, April 8th

Wednesday, April 8th
Time zones: Eastern – 9 AM to 6 PM; Central – 8 AM to 5 PM; Mountain – 7 AM to 4 PM; Pacific – 6 AM to 3 PM; London, England – 2 PM to 11 PM; Sydney, Australia – 11 PM to 8 AM on Thursday, April 9th

Thursday, April 9th
Time zones: Eastern – 9 AM to 4:30 PM; Central – 8 AM to 3:30 PM; Mountain – 7 AM to 2:30 PM; Pacific – 6 AM to 1:30 PM; London, England – 2 PM to 8:30 PM; Sydney, Australia – 11 PM to 6:30 AM on Friday, April 10th

Pop-up Session Discussions this week will be as follows:
Tips for Navigating your Student Briefcase with Sue de Groot
Tuesday, April 7th – Time zones: Eastern 2 PM; Central 1 PM; Mountain Noon; Pacific 11 AM; London, England 7 PM; Sydney, AU on Wednesday, April 8th 4 AM

Mastering the FamilySearch Catalog with Gena Philibert-Ortega
Wednesday, April 8th – Time zones: Eastern 2 PM; Central 1 PM; Mountain Noon; Pacific 11 AM; London, England 7 PM; Sydney, AU on Thursday, April 9th 4:00 AM

Source Citations… Some Basics with Sue de Groot
Thursday, April 9th – Time zones: Eastern 2 PM; Central 1 PM; Mountain Noon; Pacific 11 AM; London, England 7 PM; Sydney, AU on Friday, April 10th 4:00 AM

We hope to see you in the Student Lounge. And, please keep yourself and your family safe — follow the recommendations of your country’s government. Happy Researching!

Note: Facebook Event here 

See complete list of Virtual Meetings here.

How Far Back Can I Go?

Everyone’s Research is Different

One of the most frequently asked genealogy questions is “How far back can I go?” This is a very difficult question to answer. Everyone’s research is different. Accessibility and the availability of documents as well as the possible destruction of records means that the answer to the above question might be different even for the same person tracing two different families on their tree.

There are so many factors involved. Some will deal with your own family’s history and other factors may include the impact of local events. For example, if your ancestors were from the southern United States, the Civil War may have led to the destruction of some records. Fires have affected many records throughout history including the 1890 US Federal Census.

You will find that, as you get involved in your new hobby, your parameters may change. You should initially be concerned with documenting the generations closest to you such as your parents and grandparents which will eventually lead you to “jump the pond” and research an immigrant ancestor.

It won’t take long for you to notice that both the study of genealogy and the study of history are very closely related. Some find it to be a lifelong pursuit and the challenge is, no matter how far back you go, you can always attempt to go further.

Through our Methodology-Part 1: Getting Started” course you will discover more about this common question and how you can achieve your objective.


Family History Research

Before you start your family history research

What can be better than researching your family history?! While it is a fulfilling pursuit it is also a lot of work. You should expect to run into some problems along the way. It’s important though, that you not create your own frustrations by making mistakes in the initial stages of your research.

A couple of don’ts

  • Don’t make any assumptions.
  • Don’t believe anything you are told unless it can be confirmed by documentation.

Beware of stories suggesting royal or noble descent. Most of our first ancestors had occupations connected to agriculture and the land. The most important order of action is to always start with the known and find your way to the unknown.


Whose genealogy do you want to trace?

As early on as you can in your project, you should try to make this decision. You may want to trace just your father’s ancestor, or perhaps a maternal line, or all of your children’s ancestors. If you research all four grandparents’ families, then you are tracing your complete lineage, both female and male ancestors. The number of ancestors you will find will double for each generation completed. If you are successful in researching 10 generations, you will have 1022 ancestors.

Our course, Methodology-Part 1: Getting Started, will assist you in using correct research methodology as you trace your family tree.

Marketing and Sales Management

Sales Management 

Marketing goes hand in hand with sales, as it provides a way to get the word out about your services and products, and a way to attract prospective clients. In a small business, however, the owner is often the only salesperson, marketing director, and grunt, along with everything else!  


Many small businesses lack a sales strategy. Periodically, you should review your sales strategy. Here is a list of some sales activities: 

  • identify prospects 
  • prioritize leads   
  • make sales calls 
  • close sales   
  • determine the average dollar size per sale 

Sales management means keeping track of these activities and how well you have done. Just like a budget, you should be projecting these figures and comparing them to actual results, ideally on a monthly basis. If you are not meeting your targets, look for reasons. Maybe you are not getting enough face-to-face meetings with prospects and need to learn to follow through on more leads.  

The lifeblood of any business is sales and sales management which is why we offer our Business Skills: Business Administration course to help you evaluate your sales strategies.   

Using Research Logs

Research Logs 101  

Are you using a research log? The first step in reviewing the research you have completed to-date is to refer to your research log. Unfortunately, when many of us start our genealogy journey, keeping track of our findings is likely the last thing on our mind.   


Typically, a research log is created for each family group, but depending on how you prefer to work, you may want to create one for each person. A research log can help you to quickly see what sources you have already consulted that may answer the current question related to the person/family you are researching.  

Research logs are usually in a table format, allowing us to record specific pieces of information related to sources we have searched. You can use pre-printed forms/templets or create your own. At a minimum, a research log should contain the following categories: date, source, repository, objective and results.  

Remember, this log not only helps you track everything you have found but also what you did not find. In some cases, such as a search for online family trees, you may want to repeat a previously-performed search since new information is published online every day.  

While it may seem time-consuming, creating research logs is an important tool for your research.  Our course, Skill Building: Breaking Down Brick Walls will help, saving you precious time in the long run.   


Last Gift of 2018

Did you hear we extended the end date for our “One More Gift” event? If not don’t worry you still have until midnight tonight, 31st of December 2018, to take advantage of it.






You will receive a 10% discount on ALL of our genealogy package. Use coupon code: last10 at the time of your purchase to get your 10% discount. Visit the following link to learn more about all of the genealogy packages we have.

Are you having problems registering for your package? We’re here to help! Give us a call at 1-800-580-0165 ext. 3. You may email us at

Please note: Once you register and pay for your package, it will show up in the future course area of your student briefcase immediately after the payment is processed. If it does not show up, please call or email us right away.

If finances are a little tight, call the number above and ask about The National Institute payment plan. The Institute does not charge interest, nor service fees, and you can spread the payments over several months.

Have a Happy New Year!

One FREE Course!!

Here at The National Institute, we have an on-going tradition that whenever our director Louise is away we give a course away. So, with that being said, “While the cat is away the mice will play and give a course away.” This offer is for EVERYONE: current students, brand new students, and those of you who are wanting to learn more about genealogy research and our online education.

Click the image above to learn more.

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