Great Virtual Family History Opportunities Header Graphic

As the uncertainty over Covid-19 continues, a lot of us continue to look for virtual family history education options.  Often, however, the good opportunities don’t come cheap.

Here’s three that I think are great. One’s affordable and two are free. You can attend all of them in your jammie bottoms.

GenFriends (YouTube Panel Show)

Every week, host Cheri Hudson Passey and her panel of friends get together to interview someone in the family history field about their genealogical specialty or ongoing project. As the show name suggests, it’s fun and informal.

Panelists include Melissa Barker, aka A Genealogist in the Archives; Bernice Bennett from Geniebroots; Dan Earl, aka the Family History Guy; Dr. Shelley Murphy, aka The Family Tree Girl; Mary Kircher Roddy from MKR Genealogy; and me.

Cheri posts each episode on YouTube on Wednesdays. You can find episode information on her blog, Carolina Girl Genealogy.

Screenshot from GenFriends YouTube Episode

When I joined the panel back in March, I thought of it as entertainment. I had no idea how much I’d learn.

Topics range from Joseph McGill’s Slave Dwelling Project to how to stay productive during the pandemic to genealogists in the Second Life Virtual World.  Every week brings an increased awareness of some part of the world of genealogy, whether it’s fun tools, research methods for an ethnic specialty, books, or record availability.


Virtual Genealogy Association’s Annual Conference

What better place to find virtual family history education options than at the Virtual Genealogical Association!


VGA 2020 Conference a virtual Education Opportunity graphic with datesThe Virtual Genealogy Association’s Annual Conference is 3 days of serious genealogy education to take place on November 13, 14, and 15.

Besides four prerecorded sessions which will be available for 6 months, a $79 non-member pass ($59 for members) will get you 6 daily sessions from well-known speakers. The topics are varied—from DNA to grappling with difficult family discoveries—and global.

The four prerecorded sessions feature Dr. Thomas W. Jones, Gena Philibert-Ortega, MA; W. Samuel Williams, MDiv; and Wayne Shepheard, MSc.  You can view the full conference flyer here. You can find registration links at

Disclosure note: As an ambassador for the VGA conference, I receive a complimentary pass for sharing conference information. However, I am not paid to give the conference positive reviews, nor do I get any portion of revenue.

Join the Virtual Genealogical Association

Since membership in the VGA is only $20, join the association to get year-round access to great learning. You can then register at the reduced VGA member price. You can read about all the benefits of membership at

RootsTech Connect

If you’re a regular reader, you know I’m a big fan of Roots Tech, the world’s largest genealogy conference.  In fact, the February 2020 conference in Salt Lake City was the last place I went before the Covid-19 changed everything.

Their London in-person conference in the fall of 2020 was canceled, but the RootsTech/FamilySearch team made some lemonade came out of our “normal for now.”  This week they’ve announced RootsTech-Connect.

RootsTech Connect 2021 a Virtual Family History Education Opportunity

It’s a virtual conference to take place on February 25 -27, 2021 that will be global and free. Seriously, you can register now at

It will feature the things that cause so many of us to take an annual pilgrimage to Salt Lake City but without the need for hotel bills, blister band-aids, or Coronavirus worries:

  • Celebrity keynote speakers
  • Great classes
  • Cultural activities

In addition, they’re offering a virtual marketplace and virtual vendor hall and classes in multiple languages. Further, RootsTech Connect content will be available on-demand throughout the year, so you won’t have to totally clear your schedule to take advantage of the conference.

A FamilySearch press releases explains more about this virtual family history education and entertainment event:.

RootsTech Connect 2021 will offer a combination of both livestream and on-demand content to accommodate differences in time zone for participants. In addition, sessions will be available to view on-demand after the event concludes.

Personally, I’m excited about the connection theme. In fact, it’s emblematic of the way RootsTech and FamilySearch continually ground genealogical research with the heart of family history: The stories, the memories, and emotional relationship with family, past and present.

Your Turn

Great virtual Family history Education Opoportunities Pinnable graphic Which, if any, of these virtual family history education options do you plan on taking advantage of? Do you know of others?

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