The Spring Courses Programme has finished.
The new Programme for the Autumn is being prepared.

NIFHS Courses on Zoom

Brief details of the Courses on Zoom in February, March and April are set out below.

About the Courses and the Booking Arrangements

The Courses

are designed to offer practical help in furthering your family research using genealogy and DNA and are suitable for members and non-members. No prior knowledge is required. Society members should note that some of the subject matter may have been included in previous courses and talks.

Although courses are scheduled to last for one hour, at most of these courses our speakers will be prepared to stay on for longer to answer some of your questions. You are of course welcome to stay on for extended questions and answers if you choose to do so.

After you book and pay for a course online through the NIFHS website you will receive a payment receipt from PayPal.  This will be followed by an acknowledgement (normally with 24 hours) to confirm receipt of your booking.

About a week before the booked course the required Zoom Meeting Link will be sent to the email address used for the PayPal payment. If it seems that the link email arrival is overdue please check your Spam/Junk folders in case it has been diverted away from your Inbox.

Please do not share this link as admittance to our Zoom courses will only be given to people who have paid to attend the course.

Course Notes

Booklets based on the content of the courses
Emigration to Australia and New Zealand’,
Understanding Heraldry’ and
From Family Tree to Family History
are available to buy from our Shop. The Notes give the numerous URL references mentioned in the course.

Late Bookings

Late bookings (within 24 hours of the start time) for some courses may be possible through the NIFHS page on Eventbrite.

Cancellations and Refunds

A refund of the fee paid for a course booking will be made where cancellation of the booking is received at least seven days before the scheduled course date. If a booking is cancelled at shorter notice we are unable to offer a refund of the fee. We may however be able to change your booking to a different course if your cancellation is received within seven days of your scheduled course.

All matters relating to course bookings should be sent to Martin McDowell (Education Officer) at

Using WikiTree – with Anne Johnston – Wednesday 17 February 2021
WikiTree is a free genealogy website that allows users individually to research and contribute to their own personal family trees, whilst building and collaborating on a single worldwide family tree within the same system. It also allows users to record DNA tests, linking them to relevant cousin profiles. This course will provide an introduction to WikiTree and by the use of practical examples it hopes to encourage you to join the WikiTree community with the overall aim of linking our shared heritage in the North of Ireland and beyond.

The Advantages of Y-DNA – with Martin McDowell – Saturday 20 February 2021
Y-DNA can be a very powerful tool to break through a brickwall and can be used on any of your family lines if you test the correct person. This class will cover the different levels of testing available and will explain how to interpret and work with your Y-DNA results.

5 Top Tips for Analysing your DNA – with Anne Johnston – Wednesday 3 March 2021

This course will include a short refresher on the basic concepts of autosomal DNA but will focus on providing practical tips to maximise successful cousin matching and provide a step-by-step guide to analysing your DNA test results.

Family Tree Maker Basics and Benefits – with Imelda McVeigh – Friday 5 March 2021

A beginner’s class on the basics and benefits of using Family Tree Maker software. Some of the points that will be looked at are installing photographs, how to create a timeline, preparation of reports. We will also look at the different ways to print out charts and family tree layouts.

The Advantages of MT-DNA – with Martin McDowell – Saturday 6 March 2021
Mitochondrial DNA is the least used DNA test within Northern Ireland however it can give you useful information about your family lines going back many hundreds – and even thousands – of years. This course will explain how it works and how it can be used to further your family research.

DNA Family Matching Tool – with Martin McDowell – Monday 8 March 2021
Using the maternal and paternal tabs on Family Tree DNA is an excellent way to make progress with your DNA matches. This session will cover how the integration of your family tree and your matches page can unveil new information that can lead you to confirm your relationship to a new match.

Emigration to Australia and New Zealand – with Mike McKeag – Tuesday 16 March 2021

Organised British and Irish emigration to these countries began with the establishment of penal colonies in 1788 in New South Wales and was followed by the establishment of the free colonies of South Australia in 1836 and New Zealand in 1839. The gold rushes of the 1850s in Australia and 1860s in New Zealand boosted the populations considerably. Both countries offered assisted passage schemes to overcome labour shortages. The course covers pointers to many useful records and where they can be found.

Course Notes are included in one of the payment options.

Understanding Heraldry – with Mike McKeag – Tuesday 23 March 2021

More grants of arms are made today than in the Middle Ages. The course looks at the origins and development of heralds and heraldry and explains the components of an achievement of arms. The official description of a coat of arms is not its image but its written description or blazon, which will be covered.

Registry of Deeds – with Matthew Gilbert – Friday 26 March 2021
Using memorials from the Registry of Deeds can be an effective tool in pushing your family tree back into the 1700s. However, navigating the online records can be confusing. With a detailed introduction, and worked examples, this course aims to show how to utilise the Registry of Deeds treasure trove.

Using X Matches in your DNA Research – with Anton Rea – Saturday 27 March 2021

We all have DNA matches on our X chromosome. We can access these from our standard (autosomal) DNA tests. Find out how! We can learn different things from brothers’ and sisters’, and cousins’, X-matches. X matches can skip generations. X matches can narrow the focus to specific families. We’ll be discussing what X matches are and how to use them.

From Family Tree to Family History – with Mike McKeag – Tuesday 13 April 2021

You have a family tree and would like to develop that into a readable family history. But where do you begin? How do you organise your material? How are you going to find enough stories about those people? How are you going to find enough illustrations? These and other questions will be addressed and the course will be based on a real case study.

The “Course Notes” booklet is available from our Shop.

Researching Military Ancestors

Between the years of 1914-1918, approximately 210,000 Irishmen served with the British Army in what was to become known as The Great War. This class will suggest where to look for clues, how to get your research started and where to turn to for assistance from some of the ever-growing sources of websites and books to aid you in your research.