A new, free family history tutorial developed by Brigham Young University and the Family and Church History Department teaches how to use the computer and the Internet for personal family history research.
The new resource is the latest in a long string of resources to help beginning researchers take advantage of the wealth of information now available to computers.
"BYU created the tutorial to help people interested in family history overcome any fears about technology and make sense of the resources that are presently available to them," said university president, Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy. "Offering online tutorials is one of the ways the university is trying to extend its educational influence."
Raymond S. Wright, a professor of family history at BYU and project leader, said that the tutorial is an effective source of basic information about genealogy computer tools available via home computer, but shouldn't be confused as a database. "The tutorial doesn't provide the same kind of information that databases do," he said. "Instead, it tells you how to use databases and other web sites to get the information you need."
The tutorial lessons answer questions about what kinds of information should be gathered about an ancestor, what types of genealogy computer programs are available and how to search for names on the Internet. Each lesson is followed by a simple review of the concepts taught.
A version of the tutorial has been created for members, which helps them prepare names for the temple, and another for those who are not members.
"We designed it for people who have Internet access," said Candy Steinhorst, instructional developer in the Family and Church History Department. "It teaches them how to use the computer and Personal Ancestral File, the Church's software for recording personal family history, how to use prominent family history Internet sites, including the Church's FamilySearch site. They also learn how to make copies of their research to submit to the Pedigree Resource File on the FamilySearch site."
She said multimedia clips make the tutorial more entertaining and instructive.
The site is http://ce.byu.edu/is/dept/famhist.htm