The best way of learning is to be inspired by someone or a group of someones. Many genealogists and indeed others too, say that “school history was learning to dry facts for two years in order to get an O level” to quote a old school friend.
I never felt this way, I loved nothing more than going to a museum and wandering around. I was always the last to leave any venue on school trips that had any link to things that were historical. As the years passed, I did not loose my interest and if anything, it got worse. I returned to university as a mature student and read history, which was just wonderful. I did return to my pharmaceutical career, and went into management and then learning and development, before taking a leap of faith. Eagle eyed or frequent readers will note, there is very little of my former career on this site, which in itself speaks volumes!
Learning though is not always about academic work, sometimes it is exploring online and learning that way too, that spurs us on to take an interest with something else. Essentially layering our learning.
I teach three one-name studies courses for Pharos Tutoring and Teaching.
- Advanced One-Name Studies (Pharos Online Course 902)
- Introduction to One-Name Studies (Pharos Online Course 901)
- Practicalities of a One-Name Studies (Pharos Online Course 903) new for 2020
These courses are specific in their remit, in that they focus on surname research and one-name studies. These courses enhance knowledge and add methodology to the concept of researching a surname and building a study. The new course sits in the middle of the existing two courses, hopefully filling a gap, bearing in mind the gap is varied. The Practicalities course runs over five weeks with four lessons and I could have probably provided text to run the course over 30 lessons, because the focus is on the practical elements and there are many, many variations on the software and tools available.
Teaching the courses is rewarding and I guess each tutor will have different measures in what they find rewarding. For me it is about sharing and perhaps inspiring others, creating new friendships and enjoyment as you watch (even virtually) students become engaged with the learning, enjoying the process and interactions.
There are a number of Massive Online Open Courses or MOOC for short courses available, from multiple providers, across multiple platforms. There is a useful and interesting Wikipedia page about MOOC in general and this page which provides links to the various providers.
In the case of those looking to enhance their knowledge to add context for their genealogical pursuits, I have added a few options below, these are not exhaustive and they are not necessarily all MOOC, but they are all educational options.
- Legacy Family Tree Webinars – (those I have given via Legacy can be found HERE)
- Webinars are offered by a variety of genealogical Societies. I frequently give them, to both organisations in the United States and elsewhere.
- Guild of One-Name Studies members can access previous seminar and conference recordings via the Knowledge Zone or webinars. These recordings, about a whole host of topics that can assist you research the people in your One-Name study or the methodology itself.
- Society of Genealogists in London, England provide some material online
- Future Learn – this is the general page, some specific courses are given:
- Hadrian’s Wall:Life on the Front (Newcastle University)
- England in the Time of Richard III (Leicester University)
- Working Lives in the Factories and Mills (Textiles, History and Heritage)(Strathclyde University)
- Genealogy: Researching your Family Tree (Strathclyde University)
- Learning from the Past: for the Curious Researcher (Joint with Nottingham University, University of Birmingham and The British Library)
- The Scottish Highland Clans: Origin, Decline and Transformation (Glasgow University)
- Working Lives on British Railways: Railway History and Heritage (Strathclyde University)
- Working Lives in the Coal Mines: Coal History and Heritage (Stathclyde University)
- A History of Public Health in Post War Britain (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Diseases)
- European Empires:An Introduction (University of Newcastle, Australia)
Many of the courses above provide a grounding and indeed some context for moving forward with a specific study.
On a recent walk I stumbled across two houses within easy reach of my own home which look different to the majority of houses in my locale. On standing back and looking at them it was obvious they predate my house by about 60 years or so. As I live in former mining territory, I wonder if the original houses that I spotted were that of a mine owner, or if they were owned by a landowner who farmed and sold off some land to mine owners for residential dwellings. I rushed home, washed my hands and made some tea before quickly placing my thoughts on paper so I can research in the coming weeks, or even months if I need to go to the Records Office. Remembering that our forebears, if they owned land or mines might well have had houses for employees, what is known as a tied properties, as it would have meant your workers complied and if they didn’t then it was not just loosing a job, but a home too. When you have a family and there is no or very little social provisions, there is just too much at stake.
When working on something, like a study that is becoming a specialised one, it is useful to get a good grounding and context, as that is very much the foundations of a sound project.
Taking part in the A-Z Challenge for 2020