Foundations in Family History 101: Drawing Up the Family Blueprint

Course Overview

Foundations 101: Drawing up the Family Blueprint is the first of three sections of the Foundations course that are self-paced and online, in the cloud. This course focuses primarily on providing a solid foundation in research for genealogy enthusiasts or helping the intermediate researcher take their skills to the next level, or someone who has taken a DNA test and needs experience in building family trees to connect with their matches. The concepts and techniques taught in this course help to prepare you to build your skills in all the more complex areas of genealogical research and to successfully advance to the next two sections of Foundations.

Prerequisites: None
Course: Online, cloud based
Foundations 101 Price: NGS Members $75 Non-Members $90
Foundations Package Price: NGS Members $335 Non-Members $400
(101, 102 & 103)
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Course Description

Foundations 101: Drawing Up the Family Blueprint begins with recording the basic details you know about the family and examining home sources, talking to relatives, and learning basic research and planning skills. Learn to record and evaluate the sources you discover; how to develop and write a research plan; understand the difference between the most widely used charts and forms, and practice using them. Additional areas of learning include locating and testing records to verify family stories; interviewing relatives; analyzing family records; and how to better use technology for genealogical research.

The course is divided into modules with multiple sections, which include reading and reference lists, web links, self-correcting quizzes, and a glossary. The course modules are as follows.

  • Module 1—Getting Started
  • Module 2—Home Sources
  • Module 3—Family Stories, Traditions, and Interviews
  • Module 4—Names and Establishing Identities
  • Module 5—The Research Plan

Enrollment in the Foundations in Family History course requires students to start with Foundations 101, which is a prerequisite to enrollment in Foundations 102, which is a prerequisite to Foundations 103.

The Foundations in Family History course has been developed in three sections so students can progress through more challenging topics in succession to help them build knowledge and skills one step at a time. The Foundations 101, 102, and 103 format also allows students the convenience of purchasing one section at a time. NGS offers members a discount when they register for each course section, and an even greater discount is available for students to purchase the full course option. See pricing details on the following course pages for Foundations 101, 102, and 103 or in the NGS Store


Since the online courses in the Foundations in Family History series are cloud-based, you can take the course anywhere, at any time. You need either a computer or tablet with an internet connection to access the lessons, examples, exercises, and quizzes. While the course may be completed on a mobile device, be aware that the app for Canvas (our learning management system) is not yet fully responsive and you may have a better experience on a computer. No software or material is loaded onto your computer or tablet.

To optimize your online learning experience, see more about the Canvas system:

NGS grants a license to an individual to take the course shown above. This grants the individual a personal, nonexclusive, nontransferable right to the course materials for that student’s personal educational use only. All students work independently.


Foundations in Family History is a course divided into three sections—Foundations 101, 102, and 103–intended to be taken in succession. The course was developed by a team of experienced educators, certified genealogists, and professional genealogists, along with a senior editor and e-learning systems specialist. These specialized genealogical educators have created an exciting new course that teaches all the essential concepts to develop excellent genealogical research skills. Students will gain confidence along with knowledge allowing them to optimize the growth of their family history. Students must begin with Foundations 101, followed by Foundations 102, and then Foundations 103.


As a matter of convenience, NGS allows students to purchase each section of the course as they go at the discounted NGS member price or a non-member price; and they also have the option to purchase the entire course as a package which will offer an additional discount. Visit the NGS Store to register and see pricing for all the options.

How Long Does it Take to Complete an Online Course?

The Foundations in Family History courses have no set time or date for weekly attendance. These online courses are geared toward individuals who have varied schedules that may include their work, volunteer pursuits, and/or family obligations. You prioritize your time management and your learning, so your course work can be scheduled at your own pace.

Upon registration, you have access to each section of the course for six months from the date of registration. If you need extra time, a one-time extension of three months is granted by contacting the NGS Course Administrator.

When Can I Start the Course?

Within three business days, you receive two separate emails, one that confirms your registration and one that provides login instructions.


Here is a link to the Foundations in Family History: FAQs. If you have further questions, please contact the NGS Course Administrator.