Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Previous posts in this series:
Benchmarks – Part I
Benchmarks – Part II
Education – Foundational

So now you have some education and experience under your belt and you want to kick it up a notch, where do you go from here?  We are still at the point where you need to get a general, well-rounded education but you can also start branching out into specialized areas. 

You can of course continue your education at the FamilySearch Learning Center by going through the courses that are labeled intermediate (and then advanced).  There are 351 at the intermediate level.  That should keep you busy for awhile.

Normally I would have said that the next step would be the National Genealogical Society’s Home Study Course but I now see that they have changed it to American Genealogical Studies. I am not sure if the original course is still available other than for students who are already enrolled. The NGS Home Study course was a comprehensive survey of the most common record sets that you will be working with. There are assignments for each module and you get personalized feedback from the instructor. This was a great precursor to ProGen.  The new American Genealogical Studies series is set up differently.  I haven’t seen it myself but I am pretty confident it is a good program since it is from the NGS. Here are the tracks:

Here are a couple more ideas for comprehensive programs.

I also highly recommend ProGen.  This is an 18 month study group.  You have to be willing to commit because there is a lot of work involved.  I am VERY glad I participated.  I was in ProGen 18 and all of us are still in touch.  As a matter of fact, we have our own secret Facebook Group page. 

Joining one of the NGSQ Study Groups is also a great idea.  Once a month you get together to discuss a NGSQ article.  You must be a member of the National Genealogical Society to take advantage of this one because you will need access to the articles archive.  The schedule of articles is sent out at the beginning of the year.  There are groups that meet on different days/times and using different platforms so you should be able to find a good fit.  If you are interested, you can send an email to Darcie Posz at for more information.

Another great intermediate group is the GenProof Study Groups which is based on the book, Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones. These groups are 8 or 16 weeks long, meet at different days/times and on different platforms so there is something for everyone. For more information you can contact Michelle Goodrum at I am one of the mentors for these groups and every time I take a group through I learn something. 

So what books do you need to add to your library?  This is a little tougher because now that you are at the intermediate level there are so many great books out there.  You really aren’t limited anymore.  Here is my Complete Book List.  There are a couple that I have that aren’t on the list but this is most of them.

This is also where you can start building resources for specific topics.  For example, since I do a lot of German research I have a bunch of books just for that though some people might consider German research an advanced skill.

Bentz, Edna M. If I Can You Can Decipher Germanic Records. San Diego, CA: privately published, 2001.

Beidler, James M. German: Chronological Considerations. N.p.: National Institute for Genealogical Studies, 2014.

Gläntzer, Christina. Hundert Jahre im Leben Einer Familie, Die Familie Gläntzer. Bielefeld, Germany: privately published, n.d.

Langenscheidt’s New College German Dictionary. Revised Edition. New York: Langenscheidt,1995.

Meyerink, Kory and Kenneth Lee Smith. German: Church Records. N.p.: National Institute for Genealogical Studies, 2003.

Meyerink, Kory. German: Civil Registration. N.p.: National Institute for Genealogical Studies, 2005.

Meyerink, Kory. German: Emigration Records. N.p.: National Institute for Genealogical Studies, 2004.

Meyerink, Kory. German: Introduction to Research for North Americans. N.p.: National Institute for Genealogical Studies, 2002.

Meyerink, Kory. German: Locating Places in Germany. N.p.: National Institute for Genealogical Studies, 2009.

Meyerink, Kory. German: Reading the Records. N.p.: National Institute for Genealogical Studies, 2003.

Meyerink, Kory. German: Records Repositories. N.p.: National Institute for Genealogical Studies, 2004.

Meyerink, Kory. German: The Language. N.p.: National Institute for Genealogical Studies, 2002.

Minert, Roger P. Deciphering Handwriting in German Documents.  2nd Ed. Provo, UT: GRT Publications, 2013.

Minert, Roger P. Spelling Variations in German Names: Solving Family History Problems Through Applications of German and English Phonetics. Provo, UT: GRT Publications, 2000.

Reimer, Shirley J., et al. The German Research Companion. 3rd Ed. Sacramento, CA: Lorelei Press, 2010.

Smith, Kenneth L. German Names – A Practical Guide. Morgantown, PA: Mastof Press, 2007.

Strutz, Henry. 501 German Verbs. 3rd Ed. Alfred, NY: Barron’s, 1998.

Süß, Harold. Deutsche Screibschrift, Lesen und Schreiben Lernen. München, Germany: Augutus Verlag, 2000.

Thode, Ernest. German-English Genealogical Dictionary. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Urban, Thomas. Deutsche in Polen, Geschichte und Gegenwart einer Minderheirt. München, Germany: C. H. Beck, 2000.

Verdenhalven, Fritz. Die Deutsche Schrift-The German Script. Neustadt, Germany: Verlag Degener & Co., 1994.


Next time we will talk about some advanced learning opportunities.  Some of these will require travel.


Copyright © 2015 Michèle Simmons Lewis


  1. Michele,

    I want to let you know that two of your blog posts are listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!