Practicum in Genealogical Research

Designed for experienced genealogists and researchers, the Practicum in Genealogical Research gives students the practical and technical skills necessary to solve genealogy cases.

Problem solving takes practice, and experience provides the most comprehensive path to a solution. This course will address the most common pitfalls in evaluating cases, including a failure to recognize evidence that doesn’t seem to be there and a failure to properly evaluate evidence that is found.

Students will dissect and rebuild past cases before moving on to their own projects.

Course objectives

In this course you will

  • Evaluate and select method of evidentiary interrogation
  • Recognize and anticipate bias in information and information gathering
  • Choose, formulate and apply steps to a solution to investigative cases
  • Recognize and explain gaps in evidence
  • Evaluate and analyze case elements
  • Prepare and report results concisely
  • Identify ethical issues in disseminating information

Review Course Syllabus

Online Format

Reading assignments are completed online through interactive Module Notes, as well as links to web-based resources. Additional activities in the form of knowledge checks, module quizzes and case studies are included. Weekly discussions and communication with the course facilitators will be utilized.

  • Interaction:  Weekly discussion boards to promote peer-to-peer learning
  • Time Commitment:  7-8 hours per week
  • Total Hours: 45 hours

Screen shots from the course:Practicum1


Books & Materials


Melinde-Lutz-ByrneMelinde Lutz Byrne has been a genealogist since 1976. Trained as an anthropologist and archivist, she began publishing in 1979. She was elected one of the fifty Fellows of the American Society of Genealogists in 1993 and is its immediate past President. In 1984 she joined a four member team to conduct forensic genealogical research. In 1992 she worked with geneticists compiling umbilical mtDNA lineages.

In 1995 Melinde joined a five year publishing project to produce The Great Migration Begins and subsequent The Great Migration volumes. Recent publications have appeared in the Hofstra Law Review (habeas corpus) and The New England Quarterly (colonial African freedom). She co-authors editorials in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. She has been a guest on NPR Talk of the Nation and spotlighted on CBS, NBC and PBS and has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, AARP and Newsweek.

Melinde recently lectured on African names, on a Jane Doe found in 1971, burial ground discoveries, and holocaust research. She is currently researching a book on Miriam Perlstein, supporting a TV miniseries screenplay based on Gallant Warrior, and advocating for public records access.