Friday, February 25, 2011

Interview with Louise St. Denis

Ok, here is the long awaited interview with Louise St. Denis from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (  Wait till you hear about the wonderful gift she is giving my readers...

Last week I interviewed Louise using Skype.  Since that interview (my first Skype experience ...except for my practice runs) I have been using Skype about once or twice a week.  It is wonderful to see my son when I call;  or to see the documents that my friend Jane has found.  I remember when I was in the third grade the teacher gave us all a little booklet on telephone etiquette.  In that little comic book type pamphlet was a page on the "phones of the future."  Well, I'm here to tell you the future is now.  One of those phones, depicted in my pamphlet, was a picture phone that would allow you to see the person you were talking to.  I am amazed at our technology.  Can you imagine what someone experiences if they were born into a world of horse and carriage but witness the development of the automobile.  Or someone who lived during the 1920s watching the "creation" of the television.  That is what we are seeing today with this "boom" of technology.  I can't wait to see what the next 30 years brings.  Imagine.

But I digress...

Back to the interview.

I let Louise know that I was focusing my interview with my beginning genealogy students in mind.  However, the classes offered through the National Institute for Genealogical Studies are not just for beginners alone.  If you go to you will find a large variety of classes from which to choose.  Everything from "Basic Level Methodology" to "Genetics and Genealogy," from "Paleography" to "Probate Records," and everything in between.  You can take one class or many.  You can purchase classes individually or in packages (this saves you some bucks.)

If you get real serious about your Genealogical Education you can even earn credits through the University of Toronto.  This is a certificate program and you can earn a certificate (or many if you so desire) in American Records, Australian Records, Canadian Records, English Records, German Records, Irish Records, Scottish Records, General Methodology, or Librarianship.

Check out the offerings...go to and sign in.  Then click on "Courses" (you'll find the button at the top of the page...this opens a drop on "Courses").  Here you will find links to all the courses I named above.  Click on the American Records course (or any other course work you might be interested in...but if you are a beginner I recommend starting with the American Records basic level methodology classes).  You will see that the course work is divided into segments...Basic, Intermediate and Advanced with a ton of elective courses following.

Some of the general classes include: Writing Your Family History Book, Social Media for the Wise Genealogist, Protect your Precious Documents, Producing Your Family Video, Planning a Research Trip and many more.

Louise assured me that beginning students should not be afraid to venture in.  You will be walked through everything you need to know.  For example if you sign up for the Social Media class you don't have to already be a FaceBook Fanatic or a Mad Tweeter.  The class will teach you everything from top to bottom.  She also told me that if you have no desire to join Twitter or FaceBook, you don't have to, the class will still work for you.

Prices range from $49.50 to $160.00 with the average course costing $89.00.    The $89.00 courses qualify for credit in the certificate programs and there are assignments and exams.  Louise pointed out that, "When you take a course that has exams you challenge yourself and you are sure you know the materials. You'll see what you know and what you don't know."

When I asked Louise the difference between a certificate program and a certification program Louise compared this certificate program to a lawyer, "A lawyer gets his BA and his MA and that's his education, that's what a certificate in Genealogical Studies is.  When the lawyer goes on though, and wants to practice law, he has to pass the bar, well, that's what Certification is."

I highly recommend the courses at Genealogical Studies whether you are planning on becoming a professional genealogist or just want to improve your skills for your own gratification.

Now for the surprise:  Louise St. Denis has graciously offered a free 8 week Basic Level Methodology class for FREE to my readers. (That's an $89.00 value) But it starts soon...(March 7) so don't delay...take advantage of this offer.  You won't regret it.  E-mail Louise at  or  Let her know that I sent you (Kim von Aspern-Parker from Le Maison Duchamp blog).  Send her your name, e-mail address, and be sure to ask her if there is any other information that she needs.

I'm going to take it...and the Social Media class.  See you there.