I have exciting news: I have received a Postgraduate Certificate in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee in Scotland. I started in September 2020. I actually met the requirements for the certificate a few months ago but thought I could not claim it yet because I did not receive any paperwork. The university just confirmed that I do indeed meet all the requirements. They don’t send you a certificate if you continue on to the diploma, like I did, but that does not make it any less valid.
I have successfully completed the following modules:
- Skills and Sources for Family and Local History in England
- Skills and Sources for Family and Local History in Scotland
- Understanding and Reading Latin
- House History
- English Palaeography and Diplomatic
These last two were not necessary for the certificate and will count toward the diploma. I am now working on the final two modules for the diploma which I hope to finish by the end of the year. I intend to continue with the Master’s after that. The whole program is three years, part-time (180 European Credits), though you can take breaks like I did last summer. I took time off to do an institute at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research that normally is not offered remotely. The Family and Local History program is always offered remotely so it is no problem that I am in the Netherlands studying at a Scottish university. It sometimes leads to funny situations, like receiving coupons for free pizza during lockdowns. Those only work on campus, unfortunately!
The modules have all been interesting and taught me different skills. Before I started, I wondered if it would be worth it since I already am an experienced genealogist and am board-certified, but it definitely is. The focus in this program is more on academic writing and specific skills, like transcription and translation (depending on the modules you choose), while certification focuses more on evidence analysis so I think they complement each other well. The previous academic writing I practiced was while studying computer science, which had different standards than the humanities, and I am learning a lot. Several of my clients are from the UK and it helps to know more about genealogy there, to understand their frame of reference but also to research people who moved between the UK and the Netherlands. In terms of sources and history, the UK shares many similarities with the Netherlands and that has been helpful to teach me the correct English terms for historical concepts and sources.
My favorite module so far has been House History, for which I wrote my final report on a house in Bredevoort that is part of my one-place-study there. I have just started a heraldry module, where I hope to learn information that will help me with my 12th century research into my line back to Eleanor of Aquitaine. The Latin module has also been helpful for reading the original documents of that period.