How can I learn about family history?


08 November 2023
Want to trace your family history and learn who your ancestors were? Read on for the talks, courses, events and shows that can help you start your family tree.

Once you get started, you soon realise how much there is to learn when it comes to doing family history. Here are some ideas to help you start your family history learning journey.

Whatever your level of research, however specific your area of interest, you should be able to find a talk, event or a course to help you become more confident in that area. 

Online family history learning experiences 

Many of the web-based genealogy learning experiences are live events. Often recordings of those presentations are made available subsequently, giving you the option to watch again in your own time.


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In many ways the online events and courses are much easier to attend, simply requiring internet access. Your computer, tablet, or mobile’s speaker/microphone will be fine to listen to the presentations, and ask your questions where possible, and you can choose to wear a headset if you want to improve the sound quality. 

Some of the events will simply be that – a presentation for you to listen to there and then; while some of the other learning experiences will provide the opportunity for studying, in between sessions, to help you gain hands-on experience, sometimes with marked coursework, and perhaps even a recognised professional academic qualification at the end. 

From short online courses, to distance learning, whether simply for enjoyment, or to gain academic or professional qualifications, there are many genealogy-related courses to choose from. The prices range from around £10 to in excess of £10,000. There truly is something for everyone. 

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Family history events

The organisations below run family history shows and conferences – usually providing a programme of talks, as well as exhibitor booths to visit. Some of the events are online, others in the real world, and a few are hybrid events – providing the opportunity for in-person and/or virtual attendance. As noted above, some provide post-event access to recordings of the presentations for a limited time, so do be sure to check this out – as you won’t have time to attend all the talks live on the day. 

• International three and a half day genealogy event.
• With keynote speakers, exhibition hall. 

• In 2024 this will be held in Utah, 29 Feb to 2 March,
with online attendance also possible.
• Classes in multiple languages.
• Focus on global genealogy search skills and sources. 

• One-day family history event from TheGenealogist & GenealogySupplies held near London and in York.
• With talks, exhibitor booths, and ask-the-expert opportunities. 

• One-and-a-half day online events from the Family History Federation.
• With talks, exhibitor booths, and ask-the-expert 
• Recordings of presentations are made available for a limited time after the event.

• An all-day online marathon of genealogy talks.
• Provided FREE by husband and wife team, Graham and Emma Maxwell.

Where can I find family history events?

There are numerous organisations holding genealogy events all around the globe. Once you get into genealogy the only thing you will wish for is that you have more hours in the day. 

To find details of other courses, talks, conferences etc, see these publicity providers: 

Listings of talks and conferences from libraries, websites and family history organisations from around the globe. 

A go-to site for genealogy event listings, with a UK focus. 

Family Tree is a monthly magazine (available in print and digital editions) – and in every issue details of upcoming events and courses, are listed. 

To buy the magazine, see Family Tree.