Geneology Basics: Getting Beyond What We Know--with Deborah Harvey

  • 09 Apr 2017
  • 04 Jun 2017
  • 6 sessions
  • 09 Apr 2017, 2:30 PM
  • 30 Apr 2017, 2:30 PM
  • 07 May 2017, 2:30 PM
  • 14 May 2017, 2:30 PM
  • 28 May 2017, 2:30 PM
  • 04 Jun 2017, 2:30 PM
  • Rockfish University

Genealogy Basics: Getting Beyond What We Know

April 9, 30, May 7, 14, 28, and June 4: 2:30-3:30

Rockfish Valley Community Center

Register online at


Do you have an interest in genealogy? Already know some things about your family? This class will allow you to create a system for capturing what you know, developing a research plan, and opening the doors for exploring your family's history through a myriad of avenues.

The intial classes will address documenting your known family, developing a research plan, capturing results, and online resources. Later classes will address local, state, and federal records and where to find them (online and relevant repositories). Participants will be encouraged to work on their family research throughout the course using online records and repository records as much as possible to gain first-hand knowledge and address research challenges as they encounter them.


Deborah Harvey, the founder and principle researcher of Back To Your Roots (, began her family history research in Northern Virginia conducting research at the National Archives and the Fairfax County Library’s Virginia Reading Room. In 1987, Ms. Harvey relocated to her family’s home since the 1700s in Nelson County, Virginia and began in-depth research into her family’s roots utilizing local county court records and statewide historical and genealogical resources.

Ms. Harvey has completed courses at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), the Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR), the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), and the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (GEN-FED).  Programs completed include an Advanced Genealogy Practicum (SLIG), the National Genealogical Society's Home Study Course, and Boston University's Certificate in Genealogical Research.  In 2014, the Dallas Genealogical Society awarded Ms. Harvey first place in their writing competition for the article, "As the Angus Roam." She currently serves as Editor of The Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter and volunteers with the Purple Hearts Reunited organization.

Ms. Harvey's research has spanned most of the United States with particular emphasis on Virginia and surrounding states.  She has conducted research on families with origins in Scotland, Ireland, and Canada and consulted with The Learning Channel's (TLC) "Who Do You Think You Are?"  Her true joy comes in not only Identifying a family's lineage, but uncovering the family's history as documented in deeds, court records, order books, manuscripts, newspapers and other resources and providing clients with an appreciation and understanding of their family's roots.

Genealogy Basics: Getting Beyond What We Know

Class 1: Documenting What You Know

  • A.        Methods and Tools
  • a.         Online Tools
  •                                                     i.      Ancestry
  •                                                    ii.      FamilySearch
  • b.         Software Tools
  • c.         GEDCOM
  • B.         Family Sheets
  • C.         Numbering Systems
  • D.        Documenting Sources

Class 2: Beginning Your Research

  • A.        Creating Your Research Plan
  • B.         Keeping a Research Log
  • C.         Handwriting
  • D.        Effective Searches
  • E.         Census Records
  • a.         Population Schedules
  • b.         Non-population Schedules

Class 3: County and State Records

  • A.        Land Records
  • B.         Chancery Cases
  • C.         Tax Records
  • D.        Wills and probate
  • E.         Vital Records

Class 4: Local and Federal Records

  • A.        Newspapers
  • B.         Cemeteries
  • C.         Religious
  • D.        National Archives
  • E.         Immigration and Naturalization

Class 5: Military Records

  • A.        National Archives
  • B.         Fold3
  • C.         Federal land
  • D.        Daughters of the American Revolution

Class 6: Other Miscellaneous Records, Individual Problem Discussion and Next Steps

Optional Additional Reading:

Emily Anne Croom, Unpuzzling Your Past: The Best-Selling Basic Guide to Genealogy, (Betterway Books, Cincinnati : 2001).

Where Community Happens!

Rockfish Valley Community Center

501 (C) (3) Non-Profit Organization

190 Rockfish School Lane, Afton, VA 22920

 PO Box 106, Nellysford, VA 22958 | Office: 434-361-0100 |Fax: 434-361-0102 |

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