Genealogy Studies Program

Student Testimonials

Hear What Our Students Have to Say

“Prior to the course, I lacked structure in how I approached, organized and documented my research. This created inefficiencies, causing me to have to revisit sources months later, or inadvertently revisit sources that I had already assessed. During the course, I was almost immediately able to start applying the standards and best practices I was learning. The course was immensely valuable… something I would recommend to anyone.”

John Mills – OGEN255 Fall 2023 Class

Read John’s story in the Washington Post, detailing his journey to uncover his ancestry and his current mission of rediscovering forgotten stories of enslaved people.

“Though my first attempts were far from perfect, I learned how to write proof arguments and research reports. I have a better understanding of the flow and how to explain what is important.”

Stacey Cummings – OGEN250 Spring 2023 Class

The primary thing was it exposed me to more research sources and how to better plan my research goals. I like how it progressed from research plan and logs to proof arguments and research papers. That part was well constructed. The instructors and facilitators were obviously well versed the subject and happily shared their knowledge and experience.

– Past Practicum Student

The focus on time allocation was very helpful for professional genealogical research. I also appreciated the work that all the instructors put in to create interesting and complex cases that really helped further my research skills.

– Past Practicum Student

“Like many online programs, you tend to get out of it what you put into it—the coursework is challenging, and engaging constructively with classmates is part of a strategy for success not only during the program but also long after its conclusion. An extensive range of life experiences and backgrounds come together to learn not just from experienced and knowledgeable instructors with fascinating accomplishments and impeccable credentials, but as a group, students also learn so much from each other.”

Danielle Bickford – OGEN250 Spring 2023 Class

Mary Tedesco

Professional Genealogist, Speaker, and Author

Co-Host / Genealogist on the PBS television series Genealogy Roadshow

Graduate of the BU Certificate in Genealogical Research

Why did you choose the BU certificate program?

“I chose the BU Genealogical Research Certificate Program in 2011 because I was interested in taking my genealogical research to the next level. I earned my undergraduate degree from BU, and I was thrilled to continue my educational journey with a BU program!”

Who would you recommend these courses to?

“The course is ideal for anyone who would like to become a professional genealogist and those desiring to enhance their toolbox of genealogical skills needed to tackle the most complex of lineage questions.”

What about the BU faculty stood out for you?

“The BU Genealogy Faculty are among the best genealogists in the business. They lead us by example with practical guidance and hands on examples that would be found in real research situations.”

Michael A. McClellan

Professional Genealogist

Treasurer, Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Inc.

Graduate of the BU Certificate in Genealogical Research

“It is necessary to learn how to properly research, prove and source your work and this class is essential if you’re serious about the work you produce. The transition between modules is set up in the most efficient way to facilitate learning the proper ways of research.”

“I highly recommend this program to anyone who’s interested in producing quality work. The faculty members are knowledgeable, patient, helpful and friendly. They answer questions in a timely fashion and make it their goal to see that everyone succeeds. Best decision I’ve made for my genealogical career and an absolute MUST as a primer to becoming a Certified Genealogist.”

Hello everyone! I completed the Genealogical Principles course this spring and am very pleased to be joining some of my old classmates – and some new ones – in the Certificate Program! The genealogy bug bit me a few years ago while I was doing some work for the National Archives Chief Technology Officer. My work with NARA inspired me to begin researching my family tree. I came to BU to increase the rigor and discipline in my genealogy practices. I learned so much in the Principles course that I decided to take it to the next level.

Susan Case

Honestly, I was very surprised by the challenge of the Principles course.  Having enjoyed genealogy already for 17 or so years, I actually debated not doing it and enrolling directly to the cert course.  I’m a bit of a cheapskate sometimes and it pained me to pay for taking it when the certificate was my prime motivator. In the end, my husband convinced me to do both; he said I was worth it!  The intensity of the first course prepared me for what we’ve experienced in this class and if I’m ever asked, I’ll always recommend completing both courses, no question.

Tanya Pasquarelli

“Not only did the program hone my research skills, it taught me to critically evaluate the results of my research. [That’s] essential for anyone who is serious about genealogy and preserving history. Without a doubt, I would not be at the point I am in my research without this BU program.”


“This course is a must if you truly want to learn what it takes to be a professional genealogist. It’s a great time-saver for the foundation you need to do solid genealogical work.”


“The online format is great because I don’t live in the Boston area. The teachers are very accessible.”


“I don’t think there’s anything like this in the country. The research skills I learned are invaluable.”