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Forensic Genealogy
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PLEASE NOTE: There is a lot of interest in DNA and Forensic topics. Please read carefully before registering to take this course.

Please be aware this course is classified as "Basic Level" in the Professional Development Certificate Program. It has been developed for individuals who have experience in genealogy research and are at, or working in, the Intermediate to Advanced Levels in our other certificate programs. It is advised that you have genealogy research knowledge and experience, in addition to completing the Analysis and Skills Mentoring Program-Part 1 course or have a working knowledge of the topics taught in that course prior to registering for this one.

The field of forensic genealogy is a fast-growing field dealing with genealogical research that might have legal implications such as heir searching or determining mineral rights. Families drift apart for many reasons: divorce, disagreement, migrations, remarriage, or others. Today’s genealogists and family historians have many reasons for reestablishing connections with lost relatives. This course is designed to help forensic researchers identify and contact living people. It will also take students through genealogical sources and documents, but with a focus on identifying living people, as well as some practical examples. Students will also learn about specific career subsets in forensic work. Forensic genealogy and the work necessary to identify and contact living people can be a rewarding field. This course will teach students some of the basic skills necessary to get started.

Note: This course has more of a U.S. focus; however, the skills being taught can be applied to those researching in other countries.

Course Content

Module 1

Introduction to Descendancy Research
Note about Web Addresses
Introduction to Forensic Genealogy
• Genealogical Proof Standard
• Evidence Analysis
Descendancy Research
Records & Sources
Additional Educational Opportunities
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 2
Sources: Interviews, Newspapers, & Published Family Histories
Interviews & Oral Histories
• Conducting Interviews
Published Family Histories
Using Newspapers & Public News Sources
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 3
Sources: Documents & Records
Birth Certificates
Death Certificates & Associated Records
Funeral Homes & Cemeteries
Marriage & Divorce Records
World War I & World War II Draft Records
Land & Real Estate Records
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 4
Sources: Online Databases & Directories
People Finder Websites
Google & Other Search Engines
Social Media
• Facebook
• Twitter
City Directories & Phone Books
• Professional Licenses, Business Registrations & Associated Directories
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 5
Fundamentals of DNA
• Terminology
• Types of DNA Testing
DNA Testing Procedure
• Mitochondrial DNA
• Autosomal DNA
DNA Testing Companies
• AncestryDNA
• Family Tree DNA
• 23andMe
• Third Party Websites
Making Contact
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 6
Common Obstacles, Making Contact & More Resources
Obstacles with Contacting Living People
Making Contact
Forensic Genealogy Career Options
• Heir Searching
• Mineral, Gas, and Oil Rights
• Real Estate
• Military Repatriation
• Guardianships
• Dual Citizenship
• Unclaimed Persons
• Capital Mitigation
Genealogical Credentialing
Hiring a Professional
Recommended Reading & Resources

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