Online Genealogy Courses from Family Tree University

Family Tree University online courses are genealogy classes that take place in a virtual classroom. You get the same benefits as traditional, “in person” classes—detailed guidance, expert instructors, opportunities to connect with fellow researchers—but you experience it all from the comfort of your computer. Best of all, since there is no “live” element, there is no specific time you need to login. There’s no schedule but your own. During your course session, you determine the best time to “go to class,” participate in class discussions, or drop by the site just to chat. We offer a variety of course types:

4-Week, Instructor-Led Courses

Our 4-week  courses  are  divided  into  four  or  five  individual lessons.  These lessons contain written lesson materials, a PDF download of the lesson, assignments such as self-graded quizzes or exercises (depending on the course), and any additional reading materials. They do not contain videos. Depending on the course topic, lessons may be heavily driven by readings and quizzes, while others are more engaging, with interactive exercises and detailed discussions on the discussion board. Because these classes are the longest of our course selection, they are often the most extensive, covering every angle of the topic. See our upcoming 4-Week Courses.

2-Week, Genealogy Fundamentals Courses

Our 2-Week courses are designed to help beginning genealogists develop a solid foundation of research skills. While expert instructors are on hand to answer any questions, they play a far less active role than in our 4-week offerings.

2-Week courses can range in topic from how to begin your genealogy research, where to look for information and what to do with what you find, to basics on how to find, analyze and cite birth, death or census records. Self-grading quizzes are on hand to test your knowledge of the topic.

We recommend you follow this track when taking 2-Week courses:
1.    Discover Your Family Tree
2.    Online Family Trees
3.    Using Census Records
4.    Using Death Records
5.    Doing Cemetery Research
6.    Using Birth Records
7.    Using Marriage and Divorce Records

1-Week Workshops

Our 1-week Workshops are designed to give you an intense dose of learning on a topic. Unlike 4-week courses, these Workshops are mostly made up of pre-recorded videos, though on occasion they include written lessons as well. Login to watch and download your videos (typically between 4-6 hours of material), and to engage with your peers and instructor via the Message Board. 1-week Workshops often include more intensive interaction, such as in-depth discussions or Q&A on the Message Board, or even case studies, source analysis or translation exercises. See upcoming 1-Week Workshops.

Weekend-Long Virtual genealogy conferences

Our online Virtual Genealogy Conferences are held twice yearly, and strive to replicate the experience of an in-person genealogy conference. The conference takes place over the span of a weekend, and includes 15 half-hour video sessions in three tracks: Genealogy Technology, Research Strategies and Ethnic Research. All videos are available for download so you can watch or re-watch them whenever you’d like. In addition to robust Message Board activity, our Virtual Conferences include Live Chats over the course of the weekend: Essentially a chat room with genealogy experts where you can ask them questions in real time. We also provide a “Swag Bag” of digital freebies too all those who attend. Learn more about our Virtual Conferences here.


No special software, plug-in or specific e-mail program is required. As long as you have internet access, you can participate in a Family Tree University online course!

Watch our Crash Course video to see for yourself how our online courses work:

Family Tree University Crash Course from Family Tree Magazine on Vimeo.

Most courses are offered every two to three months, but there’s always a session to fit your schedule. Check out our complete course list to view the classes we offer—just click on a specific class for more details and upcoming start dates.

Why Choose an Online Course

  • You want the benefit of an expert instructor to answer questions and provide feedback on your assignments.
  • You like to interact with other students.
  • You prefer a structured environment, with suggested deadlines and a specific time frame for completing a class.
  • You get to keep all course materials for future reference (PDF downloads), so your learning isn’t limited to the four weeks of your course session.

Demo a Class

Take a self-guided tour of Family Tree University by clicking here.

Username: FTU-Demo
Password: FTU-Demo

Once logged in you can view a demo of one of our courses, U.S. Military Research: Trace Your Ancestor’s Service.