Research in Foreign Records: How to Find Your Family Across the Pond

After you’ve identified the immigrant in your family tree and pinpointed the place your family came from, you’re ready to begin exploring resources in the country. The third course in our immigrant research series walks you through the steps to successfully cross the pond and find your family in foreign records.


  • How to set yourself up for success and identify available records
  • Ways to access records from countries all over the world—without traveling there
  • Tips for writing to overseas archives and record offices, including sample letters
  • Guidance for interpreting foreign language documents
  • When to call in a professional
  • Guidance for planning an overseas research trip


$99.99 ($89.99 for VIP)

Course Length:

8 Weeks


Lisa A. Alzo

Start Date:

There are no sessions currently scheduled for this course. It is available as an Independent Study course, and as part of the Immigration Master Class course.


  • Genealogists with roots in Europe
  • Researchers who want to learn how to find and access genealogical records from other countries
  • Students who have completed the first two courses in this series, Tracing Immigrants and Finding Your Ancestral Village, and want to continue their studies


  • A foreign-language/English dictionary for the language of your ancestors’ country is helpful, but not required.
  • This course assumes you understand the basics principles of genealogy and have done some investigation into your family history. If you are a total beginner, consider taking the Discover Your Family Tree course before enrolling in this class.


Lesson 1: Identifying Available Records

  • Reviewing the research you’ve done
  • Gathering finding aids
  • Developing a research strategy
  • Exercise

Lesson 2: Researching From the New World

  • Accessing records online
    • Major websites
    • Tips for locating online records
  • Family History Library microfilm
    • The library’s collection
    • Using the library catalog
  • Making connections in the old country
    • Finding distant relatives
    • Contacting your ancestral village
    • Social networking
  • Exercise

Lesson 3: Tapping Into Foreign Repositories

  • Writing to archives in other countries
    • Preparing your request
    • Translation tools
  • Hiring a professional researcher
  • Planning a research trip abroad
  • Exercise

Lesson 4: Reading and Interpreting Foreign Records

  • Tips and tools to deal with unfamiliar languages
  • Practice with sample documents
  • Exercise

Comments are closed.