Skip to main content

Thoughts Of A Relaxing Postgrad Student

Yesterday I submitted my final assignment for the Postgraduate Certificate in Genealogy, Palaeography and Heraldry with the University of Strathclyde. It's been an interesting 9 months, not without struggle, but I am pleased to be done and (although I am waiting on a final mark) I am very proud of what I have achieved.

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the end of 2015 and since July of last year have been dealing with quite severe symptoms of this disease. When I began the PG Cert I did consider whether or not it was a wise decision, given what I was going through and what was likely to come but I decided to give it a go.

The support I received from the staff at the University was nothing short of amazing. They were completely understanding, flexible and gave me great advice all along the way. I had a couple of bouts of being in hospital (including one where I got a lumbar puncture which resulted in me not being able to sit or stand for more than 10 minutes at a time for a week). This flexibility is the main reason I have been able to successfully complete the year and I am immensely grateful to Toni, Tahitia and the other staff at Strathclyde for their continued assistance.

Having been an amateur genealogist for over 20 years I admit I thought the course would be more of a refresher than anything. Boy, was I wrong. I learned so many new things, new research techniques, new repositories of information and new tips. I also learned more about where my strengths and weaknesses lie, but how to overcome any hurdles I may encounter in my future studies and career.

Citation - courtesy University of Strathclyde

The course is extremely broad and covers topics such as: genealogical ethics, standards and professional practice; referencing, record keeping and indexing; civil registration in England, Wales and Scotland; census records, census substitutes and Poor Law records; copyright law, Freedom of Information and Data Protection laws; Burghs, burgesses and guilds; genetic genealogy; local directories and newspaper archives; armed forces; Irish, American and Canadian sources; feudalism, nobility and landed gentry; wills and inheritance; ecclesiastical law; palaeography; landholding and land records; heraldic devices, composition and law; heraldic registers and visitations; Latin for genealogy and family history.

All this in 8-9 months. *mops brow*

One of the modules towards the end of the course year was on Heraldry. I knew a bit about this art and science but nothing beyond "oooooh, pretty". Well, I am now hooked. I love everything about Heraldry and have discovered I've quite a knack for blazoning. So much so I decided to go with a rather difficult achievement as part of my final assignment. I had to blazon 5 different arms and describe the differences between the five, including familial links, etc.

Henry Howard, 3rd Earl of Surrey
(European Heraldry)
Blazoning this particular achievement took a lot of time and research to discover who owned the arms in each quarter but I felt like a genealogical/heraldic Velma from Scooby Doo. In fact, I am a genealogical/heraldic Velma from Scooby Doo.

So, would I recommend this course? Yes, absolutely, but with a few words of caution:

  1. This will take over your life. The course recommends 25 hours of study/work a week but I found (and others on the course with whom I have spoken) that I was doing much more than that. This is a really important thing to consider, especially if you work full time. You will spend your evenings and most of your weekends doing course work and assignments.
  2. Consider doing one of Strathclyde's online genealogy classes which are not part of the Postgraduate program but which will give you an idea of how studying online works.
  3. If you have your heart set on the Postgraduate Certificate and time is a concern, sign up for the Modular option. This will be a workload of around 14 hours a week and means you can complete the Cert over 2-3.
  4. Jump into the Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree free online course. This has just started so there'll be a bit of catching up to do, but it is being run by Tahitia McCabe from Strathclyde and covers a lot of topics and will help you develop your genealogical research skills.

So what next? Well, on to the Postgraduate Diploma from October for me. End goal is to do the MSc but that's some way aways so I won't get ahead of myself just yet. In the meantime, it'll be nice to do some genealogy just for fun. It's been a while and my ancestors are waiting.

Comments

  1. Wow, you are so inspiring. With everything you face physically, your enthusiasm for Geneology pours from every word written. I really admire your dedication and love the new look of your website. Xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh thank you so much for your comment, Sam. You're so lovely and your support means so much. xoxo

      Delete
  2. New to genealogy game. Researching in Devon area of England, mid 1700's emigrated to Darlingtin,ON,Can. You are inspiring !

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Erin
    I've really enjoyed reading your blog. Congratulations on completing the postgraduate certificate course. I too have been enjoying it and hope to go on to do the diploma next year. You must have amazing strength and determination to cope with all that you have, get through all the assignments and assessments and create a brilliant blog as well! Well done you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you Erin for this blog.

    I finished the diploma last year, and I remember how I felt after completing the course. I agree the tutors are wonderfully supportive.

    The Diploma is even more fun as you can chose your own assignment topics. One tip - try to get some idea of what you want to do your dissertation on before you start the diploma course, as the preparation starts almost immediately.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

So, Who Do We Think We Are? The future of genealogy events in the UK.

It's now been a month since Who Do You Think You are? Live was held at the NEC in Birmingham. I attended all three days and got to see and experience the event from a number of perspectives - as an attendee, as a student/professional genealogist and as a speaker.

My biggest take aways from the show this year were that attendance was clearly down, some big names were missing (The National Archives, for example) and local genealogical societies were a bit thin (where was Sussex and Kent, and also Scotland was not very well represented).

As Steve mentioned on his blog and Jane mentioned on hers, there was a high number of non-genealogical stands at the show and I felt quite sorry for the women trying to give away free wine samples at 10am. Also, while the free massage was nice, the number of orthopedic and life insurance stands was a bit of a concern. As someone who's recently turned 40 I don't like being reminded of such things.

As a genealogy nerd I loved wandering around …

So Who Do We Think We Are? The Future of Genealogy Events in the UK. Part 2

This is a continuation of my post Who Do We Think We Are? I fully expect some feathers to be ruffled by the following but also truly believe that without some harsh comments and discussions, true progress (in any field) cannot be made. I also want to preempt this all by underlining that the work of people and organisations in the previous WDYTYA? Live shows was really wonderful and everyone should be proud.




Shows like WDYTYA? Live and RootsTech need to be "shows" (to an extent). The life-blood of such events is not those of us who are already in the industry. While it is a great opportunity for us to network and meet up with friends and colleagues, in order for it to be a success, there needs to be some "layman" bums on seats and so the appeal needs to be broad.

What this means is that it needs to draw a crowd and how do you do that? By having fun and appealing things at the event. WDYTYA? Live attempted this by having "stars" from the show appear, but th…

A Forwards-Looking Genealogist

I have been rather neglectful of my blog, my last entry was around the time I moved from France to England, so I'm going to firmly blame the move for the lack of posts for the past 7 months.

There, blame shifted nicely.

I have continued my studies with the University of Strathclyde, and am now onto the Postgraduate Diploma year. Unlike the Certificate year, the Diploma focuses on a mix of learning modules and smaller assignments with larger etudes and an over-arching research project at the end. The idea is to move as seamlessly as possible from "classroom" learning to academic research - something which is essential for those of us planning on progressing to the MSc year, which is exclusively based on a dissertation.

One thing which I have noted this year, as my circumstances have changed and I am no longer working full time, is this - I HAVE NO IDEA HOW PEOPLE WHO WORK FULL TIME DO THIS!

Is it down to my time management? Or the fact that I go over things with a fine-to…