State Historical Society of Missouri releases free online genealogy series

COLUMBIA, MO—The State Historical Society of Missouri has released a series of 12 workshop videos aimed at teaching basic genealogy techniques. Hosted by Bill Eddleman, a professional genealogist and associate director of the SHSMO Cape Girardeau Research Center, each episode explores a different resource used to locate ancestor information and trace family history.

Bill Eddleman Photo courtesy State Historical Society of Missouri

Earlier this year, the U.S. National Archives released the latest census records allowed by law–those from 1950. Census records are an important tool in family history research, and Bill discusses the census, its history and its use in genealogy.

“The census is really the workhorse for many genealogists,” Bill says in part three of the series. “We learn a lot from the census, and it’s generally pretty accessible.”

Free and available online, Basic Genealogy explains how to use land, court, probate, and vital records to find and follow the chronicles of an ancestor’s life. Bill also details a variety of popular online services and touches on how DNA testing has impacted genealogy research. Additionally, he dives into using newspapers and manuscripts to expand upon a person’s story and illustrate the life beyond the records.

“We get an idea of the past and what it looked like from manuscript collections,” Bill says in part 10 of the series. “You might get insight into your ancestor, what they were doing, where they were located, and even what sort of person they were if it’s a really good manuscript source.”

The series closes with a discussion on how to organize and preserve the research gathered. Find all 12 episodes online for free at

Bill returns later this year with a series of specialty genealogy topics. The first takes place virtually on Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. CDT when he will discuss researching Civil War ancestors and highlight critical resources to explore. Registration is now open for this free workshop:

Recordings of each specialty presentation will also join the Basic Genealogy series on SHSMO On Demand.