Course Description

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

-Malachi 4:5-6

This course consists of six research projects that require use of a variety of records and involve different areas of the United States. Four of these projects are provided by the instructor; you will select the other two projects. You will have two weeks (18 hours of work) to complete each project. Your final grade will be determined by the accumulated scores for your six projects.

You will meet with the professor for an interview midway through the course. During this personal interview, the instructor will provide you with feedback about your research and reporting skills. Use this guidance to make improvements on your final three projects. The interview is also your opportunity to ask questions and receive direction.

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:

  1. Identify key record groups to use for a particular genealogical problem.
  2. Evaluate the genealogical information found in each record.
  3. Use records to answer genealogical questions.
  4. Record and organize family history information.
  5. Assemble and organize copies of documents.
  6. Prepare a research report and research calendar.


You must successfully complete FHGEN 140 and 211 prior to taking FHGEN 212.

Learning Model Architecture

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


You will prepare for your projects by reviewing the resources provided and revisiting what you have learned in previous FHGEN courses.

Teach One Another

You will teach one another and ponder what you have learned by creating discussion board posts after you have completed a research project. Others will be able to learn from your experiences and, in turn, you will be able to learn from their experiences. There is a general questions discussion board in each project where you can share questions and help answers others questions. You will also participate in an interview with your instructor.

Ponder & Prove

You will prove what you have learned by completing six research projects. Participating in the bi-weekly discussion boards will give you opportunities to reflect on you what you have learned.


Project 01 (Tankersley) Week 01 - Week 02
Project 02 (Harriet Swezey) Week 03 - Week 04
Project 03 (Self-selected Project 1) Week 05 - Week 06
Instructor Interview Week 07
Project 04 (Christiana Clark) Week 08 - Week 09
Project 05 (Robert Manly) Week 10 - Week 11
Project 06 (Self-selected Project 2) Week 12 - Week 13

Course Overview

The Research Project

For each project, you are expected to conduct research that addresses a specific genealogical problem and to produce a quality research report as if for a client. Each project submitted to the client (your instructor) must include the following items:

Research Report

Each research report must include all of the expected elements:

Write your report as if your client has no genealogical research experience. Explain terms that the client may not understand. Write clearly and concisely. As you discuss records, explain why you chose to examine them and what you hoped to find, or did find, that helped to resolve the genealogical problem. Make certain that you present all of the evidence you discover and thoroughly analyze that evidence as applicable. Present and resolve any conflicting information that you found during research. Build your case so that the client will likely arrive at the same conclusion that you defined in the report. If no direct evidence was located during your research, then carefully explain how you used multiple pieces of indirect evidence to draw your conclusions.

Organize your data under appropriate headings and subheadings. Consider how to best present your findings. Although most of your findings will be written as a narrative, you may want to include charts, tables, graphs, or record transcriptions.

Use the following formatting guidelines for each report:

Label your report file that you will submit to the instructor with the case title and the word report.

Example:Charles Tankersley Report.doc

Research Calendar

The research calendar must include your name, the case title, and each source you searched. For each source, you will need the following information:

Label your research calendar file that you will submit to the instructor with the case title and the word calendar.

Example:Charles Tankersley Calendar.doc

Digitized Documents

You will likely copy a number of images for each project, such as census records found online at Ancestry or digitized images of original records found at FamilySearch. Each image must include the same document number used in the research calendar. Make certain that the image is copied right side up so that it is easily read.

Please label each document file name with the case title, type of record, location and year

Example: Charles Tankersley Marriage TN 1908.[doc or pdf]


Some projects include a GEDCOM. Create a new database with your Records Management Program (RMP) software (i.e., RootsMagic) by importing, not opening, the GEDCOM into the program for each new project. Enter all known starting information about the target family (taken from the Research Problem document and any documents that are provided for you). Make certain that you include a full source citation for each source. Your instructor will compare your Family Group Sheets to determine if the sources that you list on your research calendar are included.

All new information that you locate during research must be added to your database. This includes new family members, dates, places, research notes (if applicable), and sources.

Submit a PDF printout of each Family Group Sheet from the database with your project and label that file using the case title, but do not submit a GEDCOM with your project.

Example: Charles Tankersley Family Group Sheet.pdf

Conducting Distance Research - Using the Image Retriever

This course is designed to simulate the professional client research experience, but ordering microfilms is not possible, because of the short time frame in which you have to work. To accommodate for this, an image retriever has been created. To access it, click on the Image Retriever activity on the left, and enter the exact Family History Library microfilm number or call number of the record you need. If the record has been added to the image retriever database, a link will be provided for you to download and view the image.

Please note that in order to view an image, you must first determine its exact microfilm number or call number. This is to verify that you have completed part of the research process yourself. Please also note that not all images that may be used for a research project have been uploaded to the database. Some of the images you will need can be accessed online using Ancestry, FamilySearch, or other databases.

This image retriever will also allow you to conduct more research in less time. Even if the documents on a microfilm were very well organized and easy to locate, finding and scanning one document would take at least five minutes. Using the image retriever, you will be able to download a copy of a document in 20 seconds or less. While this image retriever is convenient, it should be noted that it robs you of the opportunity of experiencing the extremely common, real-life experience of visiting the Family History Library or a family history center and locating records on microfilm.

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 andfollow 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.

Course Requirements

Course Texts and Materials

There are no texts for this course. You will need access to a personal genealogical Records Management Program (RMP) such as Roots Magic, Legacy Family Tree, Ancestralquest, or Mac Family Tree.

Weekly Time Commitment

The online class policy is that for every credit hour, you should expect to spend 3 hours of work per week. For this class, you should plan on spending approximately 9 hours per week.

Grading Policies


Each of your 7 projects will be graded using the following criteria:

Development of an efficient and effective research plan. Use of the expected records for the time period, geographic area, and circumstances of the case. A research focus that targets the client’s objectives. Achievement of the correct solution to the genealogical problem. Valid and pertinent recommendations for continued future research.

Correct interpretation of all evidence. Thorough and effective presentation of all evidence. Thorough analysis of evidence. Valid conclusions based on the evidence presented in the report.

Well-written and organized report. Clear, concise writing with few or no typographical and grammatical errors. Adherence to the required formatting standards. Properly cited sources. Professional appearance of the report.

All new information found during research and discussed in the report was entered into the database with source citations. All information was entered correctly into the database. The research calendar contains all sources searched and records both positive and negative results. The research calendar was completed correctly (e.g., repository named for each source, full citation for each source, etc.)Document numbers are cross-referenced on the document, the research calendar, and in the report. Documents are scanned right-side up and included with the project. 

The grade cut-offs are listed below.

Grading Scale

A 93%-100%

A- 90%-92%

B+ 87%-89%

B 83%-86%

B- 80%-82%

C+ 77%-79%

C 73%-76%

C- 70%-72%

D+ 67%-69%

D 63%-66%

D- 60-62%

F below 60%


Make certain that you have done the following before submitting your project to the instructor:

Make sure you have the correct copy of each file prior to uploading the project by moving all of the documents into a project folder to make it easy for you to upload each item to iLearn.

Upload each item to the project folder. You may select several files to upload simultaneously.


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.

Online Support Center

Phone: (208) 496-1411.



Text Messaging: (855) 808-7102.

Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 7 PM, MT.

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 on BYU-I I-Learn and related sites may be protected by US 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 retained or 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."