Monday, August 15, 2011

Fall Genealogy Class Starts on Tuesday September 6th

My fall genealogy research class starts on Tuesday, September 6th. The course is offered on the Cuesta College San Luis Obispo campus so that we can have access to a computer lab. The intent is that all students will have a computer workstation and will transport their family history to and from class on a flash drive as they add new information. Bruce Busbee, president of RootsMagic, has generously donated 25 site licenses for the full version of RootsMagic4 for use in class. RootsMagic Essentials is available for free download and allows most of the features a researcher would need to record and organize information. 
RootsMagic Essentials

The paid for version allows more complex reports and "books" to be created and automatically indexed by surname and location. Other advanced features are available only in the paid for version. However, Essentials is robust enough for one to get a good feel for the power and ease of use of the program.

I have been using RootsMagic as my primary genealogy software since its inception and had previously used several versions of its ancestor, Family Origins. The software is one of the easiest Windows based genealogy programs to learn. It also continues to support the more complex needs of serious genealogists/computer users.

In the class this fall, I will introduce genealogy basics the first week. Then we will move systematically backward through US history a century at a time. The final week we will consider whether DNA testing would be useful and discuss some ethical issues related to genealogy research. 

This is the first time I will have an ethics component. I don't know what took me so long. I teach a credit class called "Ethics in the Information Age" each fall. It doesn't start until mid October but it is usually full by July. I am realizing that the topics of "the right to know", "the right to privacy", the right to own and benefit from intellectual property" and "the right to protect children/general public" are very relevant to genealogy research.

Although the online "Ethics" course is already full, workstations are still available for the face-to-face "Genealogy Research" class through Community Education.

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