International Institute of Genealogical Studies


International Institute of Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

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!