Learning, Courses, and Forums

Pharos Tutors have pioneered short online courses in single-topics relating to genealogy/family history studies. Typically, a course lasts either three weeks or five weeks; comprehensive Lesson Notes are emailed each week. You post your answer to each Assignment in the dedicated ‘Course Forum’. Each week also includes a ‘chat’ session, which is facilitated by the program Chatzy. It is text-chat, of course. The Tutor leads the session and makes sure that everyone has their say and that we all keep on-topic. This requires a lot of tactful skill, so that nobody is left out and nobody talks too much. Chats also have to be arranged to accommodate different time zones.

Two Pharos courses are run in conjunction with the Guild of One-Name Studies:

C901 An Introduction to One-Name Studies
C902 Advanced One-Name Studies

And to find your way round The National Archives (TNA), and to hone your research skills generally:

C207 The National Archives Website and Catalogue – Finding People


CLOOZ 3 is a genealogy utility program for the recording of documents – and then from the documents you get to the folk named therein. You link the document to a person or to several people, e.g. one census page could be linked to each member of a household. A photograph is also a ‘document’, so you record the names of the people pictured, the place, and anything else of interest. As the data builds up so do the ways in which you can process and sort it, for instance:
i) a report on an individual or a business or a place and so on
ii) lists of people with a given surname or born in a given year or a given place
And many more too…
So the program acts as your very own research assistant – and it keeps you ‘on the straight and narrow’. All your research has to start with a document from a source.

CLOOZ: Explorer bar
CLOOZ: Explorer bar

CLOOZ has developed over the years and has become a program that can cope with data from many jurisdictions, for instance there are census options for Canada, France, Ireland, Norway, UK, US, and also ‘Census substitutes’.

There are a number of CLOOZ training videos, which you can view on YouTube; text-to-speech subtitles are available if you click the little text icon on the bottom bar of the video.

When I started using CLOOZ for my One-Name Study, I was able to import a GEDCOM from my family history program, Family Historian v6. And when I needed help at first, the CLOOZ folk answered my questions patiently, politely, and promptly.

CLOOZ has enabled me to generate specific Reports, e.g. I wanted only EZARD names and dates for the EZARD Register (which you can find under the HOME tab).  Reports can be exported in numerous formats, e.g.spreadsheets, documents, .pdfs. I saved mine in a .doc format – tweaked it slightly –  and then pasted it into the Register.

I am using Clooz 3.3, but a newer version (Clooz 4) is being developed.


British Genealogy and Family History Forum is a ‘research’ (rather than ‘chat’) forum. The forum is organised into numerous sub-forums, e.g.Brickwalls, Church Registers, Occupations, World War One, and many more. If the exact topic you want cannot be found e.g. such-and-such surname in the Boer War, then you can start a thread about it in the appropriate sub-forum and over the following hours or days, it is likely you will receive a number of replies – each adding a little bit, and so eventually you and fellow forum members may well have arrived at an answer. But it should be noted that sometimes there simply is no answer, if records cannot be found.

Over the last decade, Brit Gen, as it is known, has built up an impressive trove of material and has many very knowledgeable members.


Subtitles icon is 2nd left
Subtitles icon is 2nd left

YouTube is the place to go for videos of webinars etc that relate to aspects of family history. There are, for instance, many videos from the Guild of One-Name Studies. One I particularly like is ‘Webinars & More ‘ by Tessa Keough.

Automatically-generated text-to-speech subtitles are available on some of the videos if you click on the appropriate icon at the foot of the screen (second left). Some are better than others; it all depends on how clearly the speaker is speaking. If the speaker has excellent diction and a clear delivery you can expect about 85/90% accuracy.  Even better, but scarcer, is subtitling put on by the video-creator before uploading the clip to YouTube.


Transcript is a small freeware program that, in my view, is essential if you are trying to read or transcribe old handwriting. You load the digitised image and then see a split screen – the image is in the upper half, and can be zoomed, and in the lower half of the screen you type in the words you are reading (well, trying to read…).  The document is saved in rich text format (.rtf) and can be edited later.


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