"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
November 25, 2015
Learn Family History - For Free
by Kathryn Grant

Learning to do family history is as individual as your family background, and it’s an ongoing adventure. Although there is no “one true path” to learning, there are some great free resources to help you along your own learning path.

Free Online Classes

Not surprisingly, BYU’s Independent Study program offers free online family history classes:

The family history classes are at the top of the list. These classes are a good place to start.

The FamilySearch Learning Center also offers classes on a wide variety of topics:

The left navigation bar has links to various categories, making it easy to find a class that’s right for you.

Free In-Person Classes

Family history centers, especially larger ones, may offer free classes onsite. For example, the FamilySearch Library in Riverton, Utah, offers a monthly Saturday Seminar:

They also offer classes during the week:

As another example, here’s class information for the FamilySearch Library in Oakland, California:

You can find a family history center near you by visiting this page:

See the section entitled, “Finding a Family History Center.” The family history center’s individual page will have more information on classes if they’re offered.

Self-Guided Learning

If you’re looking for something less formal and more flexible than a class, check out the Family History Guide. This site offers a series of projects and activities to build your family history skills:

This article from the FamilySearch blog provides more information:

FamilySearch Research Wiki

Finally, you’ll want to bookmark the FamilySearch Research Wiki as a go-to reference:


The FamilySearch Research Wiki is not a place to find the names of ancestors. Rather, it’s a reference of over 82,000 pages covering an amazing variety of research topics. You can learn about basic research skills; you can also learn specifics of researching in a given location, including what records are available and where to find them. In true wiki fashion, you can also contribute information.

Take advantage of these great free resources to help you improve your family history knowledge. And be sure to tell a friend!

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About Kathryn Grant

Kathryn Grant is a user assistance professional with a passion for usability and process improvement. She also loves family history and enjoys the challenge and reward of building her family tree.

As a child, she lived outside the United States for four years because of her father's job. This experience fueled her natural love of words and language, and also taught her to appreciate other cultures.

Kathryn values gratitude, teaching, learning, differences, and unity. She loves looking at star-filled skies, reading mind-stretching books, listening to contemporary Christian music, attending the temple, and eating fresh raspberries.

Kathryn teaches Sunday family history classes at the BYU Family History Library, and presents frequently at family history events. For more information, visit her Family History Learning Resources page

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