Wednesday, 19 June 2013

ASGRA to recognise Strathclyde genealogy course

ASGRA, the Association of Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (, has decided to recognise the value of the Strathclyde University Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical, Heraldic and Palaeographic Studies ( as a means to becoming a probationer member of its organisation. Probationer membership lasts for 2 years, and at the end of this probationers are required to be assessed by members of ASGRA for competency before becoming full members. The full announcement is at

I've not signed up myself in the past, simply because I think the achievement of a two years studied university postgraduate diploma course demonstrates a degree of competency in its own right, but I know friends and colleagues who are members who feel they do benefit from membership. The only question mark I really have is that the agreement to recognise diploma students apparently only applies to those who pass from July 2013 onwards, which does seem slightly prejudicial to anyone who has passed the same course in the last six years who may be equally interested to sign up, though I suspect that's not what was intended.

On the Strathclyde course itself, I've had a lot of fun working as a tutor on the postgrad certificate this year, with a great bunch of students slowly working their way towards the finishing line! Due to commitments next year (including two books on the cards and being out of the country for a bit) I'll not be doing so for the next session, but I hope to step back again into the role in due course. If you wish to sign up, please visit for full details on how to do so, and to see a timetable etc. Entry to the diploma is then by successful completion of the certificate the following year, and you can also take your studies to a Masters in a third year.

Certainly as someone who has been through both the cert and the diploma I've recognised their value to refocus me from being a keen amateur to someone who wished to professionalise his skills to do this job for a living. It is hard work, and the course will not make you an expert on everything - for no-one is an expert on everything! - but it will open your eyes to what you don't know about genealogy within the British Isles and beyond, as well as affirm what you do - and help provide you with a confident path towards a truly rewarding career.

(With thanks to Bruce Bishop)


My new book, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet, is now available from Pen and Sword. My Scottish land and church records ebooks are available at, whilst my next Pharos Scottish course, Scottish Research Online, starts Sep 4th - see Time to smash a few brick walls...!

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