National Genealogical Society

Educational Courses

Frequently Asked Questions
American Genealogical Studies: The Basics 

How does an online course work?
Online courses use a Learning Management System (LMS) 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?
Unlike a continuing education course, NGS courses have no set time or date for attendance. These courses are geared toward individuals who have a variety of schedules. After registration, you have access to the course for a designated length of time. See the individual courses for access and syllabus information.
What is the difference between the American Genealogical Studies: The Basics, Guide to Documentation and Source Citation, and Beyond the Basics courses?
The courses within the American Genealogical Studies series are cloud-based, interactive courses. The Basics provides a solid foundation in genealogy. Guide to Documentation and Source Citation helps genealogists understand the principles of citation for common sources. Beyond the Basics teaches a systematic method of investigation using a wide variety of genealogical materials.
I’ve collected my genealogical material for years, so why must I take the two prerequisite courses?
Even though you have collected genealogical material for a while, many students find they have overlooked some of the principles provided within the courses. The American Genealogical Studies series builds levels of skills and information.
When can I start the course?
Please allow three business days to receive an e-mail from NGS confirming registration. You will then receive an e-mail from Canvas by Instructure providing you with login instructions, good for the duration of the course.
What hardware do I need on my computer for the online NGS courses?
We recommend the following:
  • Operating System
    • Windows 7 (or higher)
    • Mac network connection
  • 56k modem connection
    • Broadband
    • DSL
    • Wireless high speed connection
  • Scanner (for AGS: Beyond the Basics)
What software do I need on my computer for a Canvas course?
We recommend the following:
  • Browser (see the question below)
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Scanning software (for AGS: Beyond the Basics)
  • Anti-virus software (periodically updated definitions with regular scans)
  • Spyware removal software (periodically updated)
Which browsers work for a Canvas course?
Canvas works with the current version of many popular browsers such as:
  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Apple Safari
  • Internet Explorer
Please understand that some Internet providers (AOL, for example) do not work well with Canvas. If this is the case, you need to minimize the program and use an alternative browser to access the course.
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. If you misplace the web page for the login, you can find it on our website under the Education page on either the American Genealogical Studies or Continuing Genealogical Studies. This login appears on the menu on the left side of the page.  page
Why am I asked to “Log off” after each session?
NGS has a certain number of licenses to use the Canvas system. By logging off, you allow us to maximize the number of students using these courses. This in turn keeps course costs reasonable.
How can I extend the Basics course time?
If you need extra time to complete a the Basics course, a one-time extension of three months is granted. Please contact the course administrator at [email protected] prior to your course expiration date.
How do I register for Beyond the Basics?
Upon successfully completing both The Basics and Guide to Documentation and Source Citation, your NGS profile will be set so that you may register for Beyond the Basics at the online NGS Store. You will be given up to one year after completing both The Basics and Guide to Documentation and Source Citation to enroll in Beyond the Basics.
When will I get my American Genealogical Studies series certificate?
Each person who successfully completes one of the components of the American Genealogical Studies series receives a certificate of completion. Certificates are mailed out once per month. If you complete the course by the 20th of the month, we mail your certificate out at the end of that month.
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?
Please note that Instructure provides NGS with the Canvas software. If you have questions regarding course content, please send an e-mail to Julie Miller at [email protected]. If you have questions about using the system, please send an e-mail to Susan Yockey at [email protected]. We try to answer questions promptly during office hours, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday.
After taking one of the American Genealogical Studies series 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. Please 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.
Each person who successfully completes one of the components of the American Genealogical Studies series receives a certificate of completion.
What other courses does NGS offer?
NGS offers a multimodule course known as the American Genealogical Studies series. The courses under the Continuing Genealogical Studies (CGS) series cover various topics. NGS also offers courses on Special Topics in PDF format.

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