Blog post

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Genealogy learning

My transcriptions, abstractions and extractions should be just that little bit better now, having just finished a National Institute of Genealogical Studies course on transcribing, abstracting and, you guessed it, extracting.

To be honest, I wasn’t champing at the bit to start on this course. It was part of a package of the 9 basic level courses in the Australian Records certificate stream, which I had bought after winning a heavy discount for the courses as a door prize. This is my eighth course. The other remaining course is supposed to be done last. See? Not champing.

Most of the course was devoted to practicing transcribing, abstracting, extracting and quoting. I would have liked to see more examples in the course notes, especially of abstractions. However, since I’m actually feeling quite enthused about the idea of transcribing and abstracting various of the documents I hold I would have say that it surpassed my expectations and rate it positively!

The other courses

So far the course materials have been excellent, particularly the subjects specific to Australia.

I’m not entirely sold on the format of the courses. The weekly assignments submitted online are not too onerous, but you don’t get any individual feedback and I’m not sure if they play any part in the final score you receive. The final exam is multiple choice. That’s… ok. It works better with some topics than with others. It must be hard to put together a good multiple choice exam. Questions tend to range from ridiculously easy, to almost being trick questions.

The final course of the package is the “Analysis and Skills Mentoring Program-Part 1”. This will be quite different from the other courses. Instead of running for about 8 weeks, you have a year to complete the work. The course materials say that “Feedback will be provided during the course”. Having just complained about the lack of feedback in the other courses, my feeling about actually getting feedback is “eeek!” It sounds a bit scary, but I think it will be good. I might take a little break before I get this one started.

Then come some big decisions:

  • Should I cough up the fairly substantial amount to enrol in another package of classes?
  • Do I want to eventually do (and pay for) another 30 classes in order to earn a certificate?
  • If I do want to earn a certificate, is this the one I want to earn and the body I want to earn it with?

For now, I’m pleased with what I’ve done and am looking forward to having a bit more time to do other work on my family tree.


  1. You're in the home straight now, Shelley. Congrats on your progress so far. Do keep us posted on your decision re further geneaeducation.

    1. I will. I know I like having something to work towards, so it's very likely I'll continue with some sort of study.

  2. Happy Blog Anniversary! May you have many exciting discoveries & fun posts ahead!

    1. Thank you! I completely forgot my blogiversary!

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences with NIGS courses.