FHGEN 251B: Geographic Specialization - England and Wales

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to records and methodologies used for genealogical research in England and Wales. In many respects, research in England and Wales is similar to research in the United States. Three major record groups are used in all three countries for 19th and 20th century research— census, vital records (known as civil registration in England and Wales), and probate. But unlike research in the United States, successful research in England and Wales prior to the 19th century is heavily dependent on the effective use of church records, particularly those of the state church.

This course, in conjunction with the other courses in this program, will help prepare you to apply for a professional genealogy credential through ICAPGen or BCG. This course has been designed to provide you with solid academic content and develop practical research skills which are critical for a professional genealogist across many research settings.

Course Outcomes

As a result of completing this course you will be able to do the following:

Learning Model Architecture

The course follows a weekly cycle of Prepare, Teach One Another, and Ponder & Prove activities.


You will prepare by setting goals and scheduling your time wisely. These will help you to complete assignments, stay on task, and perform valuable work in the future. You will have little predefined structure and will be responsible for thinking ahead and establishing your own productive schedule.

Teach One Another:

You will teach one another as you research specific individuals and their families. Many others in your class will be able to provide you with tips and assistance that can help you reach your goals. You, likewise, will have much to offer them and will have many opportunities to do so throughout the semester.

Ponder & Prove:

You will demonstrate your work each week by completing activities and quizzes.

Required Text

Weekly reading assignments are expected from the required text for this course. Herber, Mark. Ancestral Trails, 2nd edition. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2004

The portions of the textbook necessary for this course are available through the BYU-I Library's content license, and you will be able to access the book through links within the course..

Required Materials

Previous or concurrent enrollment in FHGEN 211.

Semester-Long Project

You will work each week on two semester-long projects. They are:

Two-Generation Research Project

This project requires you to trace a family of your choice in England or Wales for two generations. (The first generation will consist of a husband, wife, and their children. The second generation will consist of the parents and siblings of either the husband or the wife of the first generation.) At least one generation must have lived during the mid-to-late 1800's so that you may find the family members in census and civil registration records. You will research every member of your two-generation family and should seek birth or christening, marriage, and death or burial information for each family member in both families. Your research logs must show that you have accessed the correct records in order to obtain the expected information. You may trace your own family or the family of a friend or you may pick a random family from a British census record to research.

For the first six weeks of this course, you will search for your research family in the records discussed in each weekly lesson. You will record each source that you have searched on your research log, update your database with any new information that you have found, and then write a report about your findings to submit to your instructor for grading.

For the last half of the semester, you will complete weekly assignments instead of reports. Each weekly assignment requires the use of the record groups discussed that week. Searching for your research family in these records is not required, but you can for your own benefit. During the last half of the semester, you will also continue to research your two-generation family in the records taught during the first six weeks of class until you have completed documenting the birth or christening, marriage, and death or burial for each member of both families.

The two-generation research project will be due during the final week and must include the following items:


Grading in this course will be as follows:

Category Points
Activities 135 Points
Assessments 123 Points
Assignments 400 Points
Discussions 65 Points
Bi-Weekly Surveys 6 Points
Exams 120 Points
Total 849 Points

Writing Requirements

In this course you will be required to write papers as part of certain assignments. You will need to follow the instructions carefully to write a professional, college-level paper. Make sure that your paper is focused on the topic given by your instructor. Be concise and clear. Rambling will not be accepted for full credit. Do not attempt to “pad” your responses by being wordy. Your papers should be well-organized, using paragraphs with correct spelling and punctuation standards.

To learn more about writing standards visit BYU-Idaho Writing Center website for tutorials and handouts. Tutoring sessions are also available to students in the Writing Center on-campus or online via Skype. If your schedule does not coincide with the Writing Center hours (9:00AM – 5:30PM Monday - Friday) you may email your paper to and receive written feedback for your paper within 48 hours. Visit the Help for Online Students page for more details on these resources.

Remember, it is your responsibility to understand and follow the instructions completely! If you have a question regarding an assignment, ask your instructor early for clarification. Last minute questions cannot be expected to be answered immediately.


If any technical difficulties arise throughout the course contact the Online Support Center or the Help Desk before contacting the instructor.

It is strongly recommended that you use the Firefox browser for this course. Some images may not appear if you use Chrome.

Missing Content

Most modern browsers block content that is not secure or does not meet certain security specifications. There may be times when content in this course does not display properly. If you experience this, you may download this document for help.

Online Support Center

Phone: (208) 496-1411
Text Messaging: (855) 808-7102
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 7 PM, MST
Skype: onlinesupportcenterbyui
Live Chat: Available on the Online Support Center Website.

Help Desk

Phone: (208) 496-1411
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 9 PM Saturday, 9 AM to 5 PM


Materials in this BYU-Idaho online course and related sites may be protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code). These materials are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be further disseminated.

Additional Information

University Policies

Academic honesty is required and any violation with be dealt with according to the University Academic Honesty Policy.

Policy on Sexual Discrimination/Harassment

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in an education program or activity that receives federal funds, including Federal loans and grants. Title IX also covers student-to-student sexual harassment. If you encounter unlawful sexual harassment or gender based discrimination, please contact the Personnel Office at (208) 496-1130.

Reasonable Accommodation for Students with Disabilities:

Brigham Young University-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the Services for Students with Disabilities Office, (208) 496-1158. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by this office. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures. You should contact the Personnel Office at (208) 496-1130.

Personal Conduct

All of your correspondence with the teacher or other classmates must be respectful. Writing something disrespectful or “venting” is unprofessional and not becoming of a university student. In addition, it is not in accordance with the Honor Code of BYU-Idaho and you will be subject to discipline accordingly. You are invited to re-read the BYU-I Honor Code and the “Principles of Personal Honor.”