Yesterday in my mail was my local community education classes for the fall. While I was trying to decide between Pickleball (it’s real), Hula Hoop Fundamentals Plus, or the Film Series focusing on Clark Gable, my eye saw Beginning Genealogy – Questions and Answers. For $31 and 2 sessions, all I needed was pen and a notebook. I would find out “Why I was hitting a brick wall?”and “How to find that ‘lost’ relative”.
There was a loud thud in the room as my head hit the table. Beginning Genealogy, I yelled, Beginning!!! First I will say I am all for taking classes, help with your family research is why I write this blog. The problem with this is that this is not Beginning Genealogy. Beginning is when you are trying to figure out, what sites to use, what programs to use, how do I gather information, how do I organize. I would call “How to find that ‘lost’ relative” and “Why I was hitting a brick wall” Intermediate Genealogy, because until you get the basics under your belt, you aren’t even going to know what that brick wall is.
I can also tell you that brick walls happen when you no longer have access to easy research and vital records. Lost relatives tend to be female. Paying $31 for two sessions of genealogy help is a great deal, it’s like going to the movies, but if you are just starting your research, your questions are not the same as someone who has been searching for years and really wants to know a way to clear that brick wall. In my opinion this class has a fatal flaw, in that both are going to attend and the likely hood is the beginner is going to be confused and the long time researcher is not going to get an answer that fits the problem they have.
My first reaction is to tell you ways to climb the brick wall and find the lost relative. I’m not sure us beginners are there yet. I think I will have to throw that question out there. I don’t want to take away the importance or the opportunity for someone to have a more one on one help session. I just want to point out that before signing up for a class be realistic about what you want to learn and if you feel the class description covers what you need to know.