National Genealogical Society

Educational Courses

American Genealogical Studies: Branching Out 

This cloud-based course continues to teach you a systematic method of investigating your family history by broadening your use of a wide variety of genealogical materials.

American Genealogical Studies: Branching Out offers you an exciting and satisfying experience as you advance your research techniques and develop skills in collecting, interpreting, analyzing, and evaluating genealogical information. You continue to expand your family knowledge and hone your skills in writing genealogical reports and citing numerous genealogical documents.

What will I learn?

Each module contains extensive subject matter, examples, a self-correcting quiz, a glossary, a topic reference list, and a final written assignment. All written assignments are graded by a professional genealogist. The modules American Genealogical Studies: Branching Out include:

  • Module 6 – Cemeteries, Tombstones, and Funeral Homes
  • Module 7 – Religious Records
  • Module 8 – Newspaper Research
  • Module 9 – Research in the Courthouse-Probate Records
  • Module 10 – Research in the Courthouse-Deeds

Upon completing American Genealogical Studies: Branching Out, a student has the ability to:

  • determine the value of information within various records;
  • understand the difference between the records within a probate file;
  • find diverse types of materials in and out of a research facility;
  • use and evaluate the information within various genealogical records;
  • transcribe and abstract assorted genealogical documents;
  • use aspects of the local courthouse; and
  • use and evaluate various genealogical information with different documents.

To learn more about American Genealogical Studies: Branching Out, see the course syllabus.


Since the Branching Out is an independent learning course. All students agree to the Code of Conduct and recognize that collaborating with or using another’s work is not allowed.

Since Branching Out is the fourth component of the American Genealogical Studies series a student needs to first successfully complete:

  • American Genealogical Studies: The Basics
  • American Genealogical Studies: Guide to Documentation and Source Citation
  • American Genealogical Studies: Beyond the Basics

Computer Requirements

NGS uses the cloud-based, learning management system called Canvas by Instructure. You need either a computer or tablet with an Internet connection to access the modules, examples, quizzes, and recommended websites, as well as to submit assignments and receive evaluations. You do not load any software, program, or material onto your computer or tablet.

Canvas uses the current version of different browsers. To optimize your online learning experience, check for your browser compatibility at for further information and details.

Do I Need Anything Further?

This course continues to use the book, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills.1

When Can I Start the Course?

Upon successfully completing the three prerequisites (AGS: The Basics, AGS: Guide to Documentation and Source Citation, and AGS: Beyond the Basics), the NGS Course Administrator ([email protected]) sets your profile to register for AGS: Branching Out.

Please allow three business days to receive an e-mail from NGS confirming registration and providing log in instructions. It is followed by a second e-mail from the NGS Education Department <[email protected]> linking you to the registration page.


American Genealogical Studies Series



Beyond the Basics



Branching Out



Term of Course

A student has access to Branching Out for twelve months from the date of registration. For those who need extra time, a one-time extension of six months is granted by contacting the NGS Course Administrator at [email protected] prior to the course expiration date.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

All purchases of courses are final. No refunds or credits are available.

Certificate of completion

Each person who successfully completes American Genealogical Studies: Branching Out receives a certificate of completion. The Course Administrator mails out certificates at the end of the month for those who complete the course by the 20th of the month. Please refer to Frequently Asked Questions for further information.


Before you register for the course, please read the AGS: Branching Out FAQs. If you have further questions, please contact the NGS Course Administrator at [email protected].


1 Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, rev. ed. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2012).

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