Education: So Many Choices!

A silver lining of the covid years is the rise of virtual genealogy education.  We can learn almost anything now from the comfort of our own jammies and fuzzy socks.

Every week, I highlight upcoming lectures and workshops in The DNA Roundtable Facebook group.  Stand-alone talks, typically an hour in length, can be a great way to learn about a specific topic.

But sometimes you need a comprehensive educational experience with integrated lessons and hands-on exercises.  There are several of those out there, but it can be hard to find them and even harder to choose which is right for you.  How do you decide?

That depends on your learning style and experience level.  You can self-assess your skills using this chart.

There are three upcoming course offerings you should know about, from Family History Academy, Your DNA Guide, the Applied Genealogy Institute, respectively.  I’ll compare them to help you decide which is best for you.  (Full disclosure:  I teach two of them; the third is taught by the gifted Diahan Southard.)

All three courses aim to help you get the most out of your DNA results, but they have different structures and target audiences, from absolute beginner to intermediate/advanced.


For All Levels

Family History Academy and yours truly are offering a three-part series that can be purchased à la carte or as a discounted bundle.  The DNA Directions trio starts on May 20th with a 1-hour DNA Basics class meant for beginners and early-intermediate genealogists to brush up on their foundational knowledge prior to the Intermediate Workshop.

If you are already confident in your basic skill set, you can jump right into the 3-hour Intermediate Workshop on June 3rd.  It will teach you to organize and interpret your DNA results so you can tackle your genealogy questions.  Formal presentations will alternate with in-class exercises as we cover ethnicity estimates, relationship prediction, clustering, and connecting your DNA matches to your tree.

In the Advanced Workshop on July 1st, you’ll learn to use more sophisticated techniques—like McGuire charts and the What Are the Odds? tool (WATO)—to frame compelling proof arguments for your genealogical analyses.  Finally, we will also discuss complications like endogamy that can make genetic genealogy more challenging.

All three sessions are live and limited to 30 students.  There will be ample opportunity to ask questions and get immediate answers.  Recordings will be available to students for 14 days after each session.  Captioning is available, and a syllabus/handout is included with each session.

Price:  $35 for DNA Basics, $100 for each workshop, or $220 for all three.  Registration is open now.

Check out their other courses as well.


For Advanced Beginners and Up

The DNA Skills Workshop, offered by Diahan Southard of Your DNA Guide, is a 6-week course that teaches you to understand your DNA results, organize them, and use them to build your family tree and solve mysteries.  The next session starts on March 22nd.

The workshop provides over 18 hours of instruction divided into pre-recorded lectures, live Q&A sessions, hands-on assignments, and case studies.  There’s also a workbook, a moderated discussion board. and a one-on-one coaching session.

This course is a good fit for people who work well independently and enjoy going at their own pace.

The DNA Skills Workshop is limited to 75 students.  Recordings and transcripts will be available to students indefinitely.

Price:  $997 (use the coupon code GEEK25 to save $25).  Registration is open now and closes on March 22th.

Check out their other courses as well.


For Intermediate to Advanced Genetic Genealogists

Starting on April 11th, I will be teaching a 4-week practicum through the Applied Genealogy Institute that integrates a consistent, efficient approach to problem-solving with a writing component throughout.  Students in Applied Genetic Genealogy will work on their own DNA-based research questions using in-class lectures, scripted assignments, discussions, and homework to guide them.  The end goal is a researcher who can evaluate a problem, design a testing plan to solve it, and explain their conclusions in clear language.

The course is limited to 15 students.  There will be ample opportunity to ask questions and get personalized feedback on the homework assignments.  Recordings will be available to students for 7 days after the last session.  Captioning available, and a comprehensive syllabus is included.

Price:  $300.  Registration is open now and closes on January 9th.

Check out their other courses as well.

Still Can’t Decide?

Here’s a handy dandy comparison chart:

Which one is right for you?

7 thoughts on “Education: So Many Choices!”

  1. Hey. Thanks to sites like yours, I’ve become an immediate/advanced level researcher. I’m almost a member of the 23andme and AncestryDNA Reddit sub forums so we do a lot of discussions about these things.

    I’m very passionate about genealogy especially my own. I’m adopted so I obviously wanted to know my family history and I got more than I expected to and I’m grateful for this so it’s made me so passionate about this.

    So I’m grateful for sites like yours because even though we’re different ethnicities(I’m Black American), your posts have helped to understand my DNA tests in concert with my paper trail and records.

    1. Hello Curtis,

      I have a biracial relative that was adopted and has begun the search for his biological parent..

      Can you provide some helpful suggestions for the beginner searching for an adoptive parent?

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