Distance Learning

Online learning from Pharos and the SoG

Discover more about your ancestors by taking a structured programme of online assessed courses.

The two Family History Skills & Strategies certificate programmes (Intermediate and Advanced) were developed and are taught by Pharos Tutors and the Society of Genealogists in partnership.

Build upon your knowledge of census and civil registration records with a journey through a variety of genealogical sources and improve your research techniques at the hands of the professionals and experts.

More information is available at:


How to start your family tree
Free guide

This guide gives an overview of the first steps, resources and websites that can help you start your family history. Searching for your ancestors must begin with what you know.

Collect all the family documents you can and question your relatives: the older ones may know about letters, diaries, papers and dated photographs, while, if you are lucky, the Family Bible will have vital dates.

How to search Birth, Marriage and Death certificates
Free guide

The records of civil registration in England & Wales, which commenced on 1 July 1837, relate to the birth, marriage and death of an individual, but before that the state relied on the Church for record-keeping and this did not include everybody.

Therefore, a single tier registration system was introduced, based on the administrative poor law unions, which had been set up in 1834.

How to search Census records
Free guide

Nineteenth and early twentieth century census returns are key documents in identifying and learning more about our ancestors. The census returns provide a snapshot of a family living together in a household on the night of the census.

They not only provide evidence which can help to prove lines of descent but they can also place individuals into the more meaningful context of their families and neighbours and the wider framework of their local and social surroundings.

How to use Probate records
Free guide

Probate documents can be remarkably helpful to family historians and it would be a mistake to assume that only wealthy people made a will. If you are lucky, wills can be found from the fourteenth century up to the present day and no matter what the date, if they do exist, they can provide a tremendous amount of information. 

Probate records are personal and these documents might provide one of the few instances when you will “hear” the actual wishes and words of your ancestor.

Get Involved

Join today and become a member

As member you can make the most of our resources, access our experts and find a welcoming community of people interested in family history and genealogy.

We all have roots. Let’s find them together.

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