Learning Center

FAQs for NGS Courses

How does an online course work?

Online courses use a Learning Management System to provide students with various materials needed for the courses, including web pages, videos, and websites. NGS uses the Canvas Learning Management System by Instructure.

How long does it take to complete an online course?

These courses are self-paced, and students can work as quickly as they like. The courses have no set time or date for attendance as they are geared toward individuals who have busy lives and varied schedules. After registration, students have access to the course for the time specified in the course (generally six months, with eighteen months for the Advanced Skills in Genealogy course). If necessary, students may request a one-time extension.

What is the difference between Foundations in Family History, Advanced Skills in Genealogy, and Continuing Genealogical Studies courses?

Foundations in Family History is a comprehensive three-part course to help family historians build their skills and learn about various types of genealogical records. The modules provide step-by-step instruction, case studies, web links, quizzes, bibliographies, glossaries, and practical exercises. It is ideal for those getting started in genealogy to intermediate researchers.

Advanced Skills in Genealogy takes students on a deep dive into sixteen significant types of genealogical records with detailed descriptions, document examples, and links to digitized record collections. A variety of methodologies and strategies are demonstrated through case studies and hands-on exercises. Analysis and correlation of information between records are emphasized, with the goal of putting the pieces together to build a proof summary. This course is aimed at intermediate to advanced genealogists. For answers to common questions about this course, please visit the Advanced Skills in Genealogy FAQ page.

Continuing Genealogical Studies courses focus on specific subject areas such as genetic genealogy, military research, and reading old handwriting. They help students learn about records and practice skills to further their research. Each of these courses delves into a specific subject and provides exercises and additional reading materials.

When can I start the course?

Please allow three business days to receive an email from NGS confirming registration. You will then receive an email from Canvas by Instructure providing you with login instructions, good for the duration of the course.

Which browsers work for a Canvas course?

Canvas runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, or any other device with a modern web browser, including the current version of many popular browsers such as:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Apple Safari

Can I do my coursework on my computer or on my iOS or Android mobile devices?

Canvas was designed for desktop display and works best on a computer. Viewing the course content on a mobile device is possible if you download the appropriate Canvas app, but the apps are not yet fully responsive. A computer will be necessary to complete and submit the course assignments.

Can I do my coursework without being connected to the internet?

You need an internet connection to do your coursework.

How do I log in to Canvas?

Upon registering for the course, you receive instructions for logging in to Canvas for the first time. Please keep track of your password.

How can I extend my course time?

If you need extra time to complete a course prior to your course expiration date, please contact the course administrator at [email protected].

What is the refund policy for courses?

All course purchases are final. No refunds are issued.

What kind of tech help is available for Canvas?

Instructure provides NGS with the Canvas software. If you have questions about using the system, please send an email to Susan Yockey, course administrator, at [email protected]. She tries to answer questions promptly during office hours, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

If you have questions regarding course content, please send an email to the education course manager.

After taking one of the courses, am I a certified genealogist?

Although the National Genealogical Society has a variety of courses available to help you learn about the methods, skills, and standards for certification, NGS is not a licensing body. Therefore, no formal genealogical credential or accreditation is implied. Refer to the websites of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® (BCG) or the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen) for their policies or standards for certification or accreditation.