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Course Description

This course is designed to provide the student with a general knowledge of genealogical (and some historical) resources and methodology for British (English, Scottish, and Welsh) research before the first half of the twentieth century. It is not intended to be an exhaustive preparation for the accreditation exam or certification program in British research.


It is assumed that students have the doctrinal and methodological background of Religion C 261, History 200, and History 217.

Course Learning Outcomes

When you successfully complete this course, you should be able to

  1. Explain and use fundamental genealogical (and some historical) resources and methodologies for British research.
  2. Evaluate, analyze, and corroborate genealogical information from both original and compiled sources; know and use established citation standards.
  3. Explain how various pieces of information are combined in order to trace the same individual over various records and across the lifespan and demonstrate how evidence is used to prove the links between generations.
  4. Produce well-documented genealogical reports, family group records, and research logs.

Course Materials

You will need to purchase these textbooks:

You may also want to buy Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained, which is not required but does contain helpful information.

You will also use these materials:

A note on your readings from Genealogical Proof Standard and Guide to Genealogical Writing: Not every page in these books is directly applicable to your work in this class. However, they provide general tips for genealogical writing and analysis that are helpful in any project. You are meant to read them not in order to memorize them but to familiarize yourself with their content so you can refer back to them when writing and researching. Similarly, Ancestral Trails is not for beach reading (if you’re reading it on the beach, you need to reconsider your attitude toward vacations); it too is meant to be a reference to guide you. Refer back, often, to these three works as you research. I have no problem with you reading the text rather quickly the first time—I just want you to get used to going to them first to answer questions and direct your next steps.

Many assignments provide links to additional readings and videos. Don’t feel compelled to read or view all of these. They are there to help you with specific needs/questions and for future reference.

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Unit Quizzes

Units 1–8 and 10 include quizzes to check your basic knowledge of concepts and facts related to the lesson material. They consist of multiple-choice, matching, and short-answer questions.

Written Assignments

The bulk of your time in this course will be spent conducting research (your own or for unit assignments). The readings are meant to guide that research, not consume all of your time. Readings are important, and required, but the real measure of success in this course depends on the student’s individual research and efforts. Excellence in this course will require approximately 85 hours of original research time.

Don’t panic. Those 85 hours include any time spent on research and writing (excluding time spent completing the required reading). Therefore, time spent in pedigree analysis, research proposal writing, research, evidence analysis and organization, reading applicable secondary literature (genealogical and historical), research correspondence, and report writing all count towards those 85 hours.

Remember: Don’t panic, just work consistently.

Assignments early in the course may be short, and thereby mislead you to think you can do them in 20 minutes.

Warning: This type of shoddiness is evident to the professor and will be reflected in your grade.

Good research is not accomplished merely through the acquisition of extensive materials; good analysis is required, and good analysis takes time. Take the time to think critically about your project; this will save you time at the end of the course and make research and writing more satisfying.

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There is one final exam at the end of the course. It includes 21 short-answer questions that cover research techniques and information from all of the units.

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These assignments and exams count toward your course grade:

Unit Assignment(s) Points
1-8, 10 9 Unit Quizzes 10 each
1 Preliminary Family Research Plan
Family Group Record (FGR)
Research Log Template
Historical Sources
2 Baker Family Case Study and Citation 25
3 British Records Website/Database Exploration 30
4 Jurisdiction Chart 40
5 Census Chart 75
6 Census/Civil Registration Case Study (Research Plan and Chart) 30
7 Church Records Case Study 45
8 Probate Research Chart
Updated FGR
Updated Research Log
9 Mary and Amos Dennis Family Case Study 75
10 Compiled Lineage
Updated FGR
Updated Research Log
11 Proof Summary
FGR of the Relevant Family/Families with Citations
Detailed Research Logs
  Final Exam 50
  Total 890

Grading Scale

Your course and assignment letter grades are determined using these percentages:

A 100–94
A− 93–90
B+ 89–87
B 86–84
B− 83–80
C+ 79–77
C 76–74
C− 73–70
D+ 69–67
D 66–64
D− 63–60
E (fail) 59–0

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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