Genealogy Courses

Introduction to Genealogy

An Online College Course
Taught by Staff of the Tennessee State Library and Archives
in conjunction with Jackson State Community College

Course Summary

Genealogists who want to develop their research skills will benefit from taking this 15-week online course. Students in this in-depth course will become familiar with many online and print sources, will interact with one another and the instructors in discussion forums and email, and will complete weekly assignments to learn about important records and useful genealogical skills. Records and examples from Tennessee history will be used, but the skills learned are applicable to genealogical research in other states as well.

The course is offered online and you will be able to complete the weekly assignments at your own pace. There is no set class time. There is also no textbook. Class participants will also have access to Ancestry Library edition through ProQuest.


The cost of the course for 3 semester hours of college credit for this online course is $555 for Tennessee residents.

For information on out-of-state tuition, please contact the Jackson State Community College Business Office at 731-425-2603.

Those wishing to take the course should apply for admission to the college:

Persons 65 years and older may enroll in courses for credit without payments of tuition charges or registration fees. A service fee of $70 plus the Campus Access Fee of $12 and the Online Course fee of $30 will also be assessed for a total of $112. Persons 65 and over will still have to fill out an Admissions application and register for the course.

This privilege may be limited or denied by the college on an individual classroom bases according to space availability. Persons 65 and older … enrolling for credit must meet the requirements for regular admission.” (2016-2017 JSCC college catalog, page 13).

Prospective students who wish to audit the course and who live in Tennessee will still pay the $555 and will have to be admitted to the college and register for the course.

However, persons 60 years and older who are domiciled in Tennessee may audit courses at Jackson State without paying tuition charges, maintenance fees, student activity fees or registration fees.” However, there are two fees that will have to be paid:

60 or over and auditing:

  • Campus access fee -- $12
  • Online course fee -- $30

Those wishing to audit may be limited or denied by the college on an individual classroom basis according to space availability. Senior citizens applying for audit will be required to complete an admissions application and register for the course. (2016-2017 JSCC college catalog, page 13)

Costs are subject to change based on possible fee increases.

The next genealogy class will start on August 27, 2018.  Registrants must first apply for admission to the College, online at Enroll as a non-degree-seeking student to avoid transcript and testing requirements. The campus ID you are sent upon admission will allow you to register for the course online.

Students will learn:

  • why given names and surnames can be historically significant
  • how to preserve family treasures and stories that have been passed down
  • how to chart what they already know about their ancestry
  • how to use software to organize and manipulate family data
  • how to use the records common to genealogists, like the census and vital records
  • the value of military records and where to find them
  • how to locate and use court records, immigration, and land records
  • best use of records found online, in print, in courthouses and in manuscripts

Course Session and Instructors

Week 1 – Introduction to Genealogy
Instructor: Lori Lockhart

Week 2 – From Quill & Ink to the Digital World
Instructor: Lori Lockhart

Week 3 – Effective Use of Census Records (part 1)
Instructor: Trent Hanner and Allison Griffey

Week 4 – Effective Use of Census Records (part 2)
Instructor: Trent Hanner and Allison Griffey

Week 5 – Vital Records and Newspapers
Instructor: Kevin Cason and Beth Cavanaugh

Week 6 – Records from the County Courthouse
Instructor: Carol Roberts

Week 7 – Tennessee Land Records
Instructor: Charles Sherrill

Week 8 – Deciphering and Analyzing Court Records
Instructor: Carol Roberts

Week 9 – Military Records (part 1)
Instructors: Darla Brock and Tom Kanon

Week 10 – Military Records (part 2)
Instructors: Darla Brock and Tom Kanon

Week 11 – Military Records (part 3)
Instructors: Darla Brock and Tom Kanon

Week 12 – Preservation Primer
Instructor: Carol Roberts

Weeks 13 and 14 – Final Exam

Student Computer Requirements

This course is offered online using the Elearn software provided by Jackson State.
Each student must have

  • access to a computer with internet access
  • ability to download a free software program to the computer
  • ability to transfer documents and files via email
  • Basic requirements - IBM-compatible PCs:
    Operating System: Windows XP, NT, Vista, or 2007
    System Requirements; 256 MB RAM, Monitor: 1024 x 768 or higher.
    Sound card.
    Connection: DSL or T1
    Browser: Internet Explorer (latest) best
    Word Processor: Microsoft Word (latest)
    Plug-ins: Acrobat Reader: (free download)

For information about course registration and related questions, contact:

Scott Cohen, Library Director
Jackson State Community College
2046 North Parkway
Jackson, TN 38301
1-800-355-5722, ext. 615
or 731-425-2615

For information about course content and related questions, contact:

Chuck Sherrill, State Librarian & Archivist
Tennessee State Library and Archives
403 7th Ave. North
Nashville, TN 37243-0312