Hi. My name is Jacqueline Hunter and I have embarked this academic year on the Postgraduate Certificate course in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies at Strathclyde University.
As the course is one of the few courses of this type in the UK, I thought other members of the club might be interested each month in what I am learning on the course and how I am finding the course.
Anyway, the topics that my course at Strathclyde has covered so far include ethics, copyright and Freedom of Information, indexing, different genealogical charts, UK censuses and census substitutes, statutory registration in Scotland, civil registration in England and OPRs and other church records in Scotland. I think I have found particularly interesting so far the ethics lectures (because ethics had never occurred to me when happily researching other peoples’ lives in my family tree), the census substitutes lectures (because it’s amazing what is actually on the internet) and the lecture on Scottish marriages (because I just might have got my head around irregular and invalid marriages in Scotland).
2 of the new websites I have discovered that I think are particularly interesting are http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archon which is a catalogue for hundreds of repositories in the UK including Standard Life and http://www.scottish-places.info which is the most amazing, detailed gazetteer.
I think so far the one thing that I have found most important on the course is the constant emphasis on referencing everything properly – it has made me so aware that absolutely nothing on my family tree is referenced although I know that I have personally checked it all.
If anyone else is interested in the details of the course please get in touch. The course is quite expensive (although I am luck y in that I have qualified for a student grant and the balance came out of my Gran’s estate) but I think it is a very good idea if you have any idea of working in genealogy in the future. Even though the course is over the internet, all the students and tutors keep in touch almost hourly on various forums and we are all looking forward to several day trips.
As a final aside I spent a couple of hours in the local history department at Dunfermline Library recently working on one of my assignments. Can I please recommend this local history department to anyone else with Dunfermline or Fife ancestors – they really do have an amazing range of material and I am quite jealous that I don’t have any ancestors locally that I know of.
More next month ….
(Copyright Jacqueline Hunter December 2011)