Shared cM Project webinar sold out!

Unfortunately, live attendance at this Wednesday’s webinar with Blaine Bettinger has sold out.

Recordings will be placed on sale as soon as possible after the webinar ends, so please check back Thursday if you were unable to register.

We will also be announcing the availability of the recording package here in our newsletter. If you haven’t done so already, enter your email address in the Subscribe box so you don’t miss the announcement (as well as announcements for our future webinars and courses on DNA and other genealogical subjects).

Last chance to register for latest DNA webinar!

The next lecture in our Occasional Webinar Series, How Are We Related? Using the Shared cM Project to Explore Your DNA Matches with Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., will be presented this Wednesday, 17 January 2018, 8:00pm (EST). Register now before it’s too late!

The Shared cM Project is a collaborative citizen science project that contains total shared DNA data from more than 25,000 relationships. This data helps test-takers determine what relationships might be responsible for the DNA they share with a genetic match.

Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., is an intellectual property attorney by day and a DNA specialist by night. He is the author of the long-running blog The Genetic Genealogist, and frequently gives presentations and webinars to educate others about the use of DNA to explore their ancestry.

Registration for live attendance (includes syllabus and recording): $9.99

Ring in 2018 with these upcoming courses and webinars!

Happy Holidays from the Virtual Institute!

It’s hard to believe that we are entering our fourth year! We are incredibly excited for the next few months. We are working on courses with some great instructors and some new formats and concepts in virtual education for genealogists.

To tide you over until these are finalized and announced, take a look at our current schedule of upcoming courses and webinars for the beginning of 2018.

Upcoming courses

Prices for all courses: Standard: $69.99 / Plus: $99.99  What is a Plus course?

10 February–17 February 2018

The Essential Copyright Guide for Genealogists” with Blaine T. Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.

24 February–3 March 2018

Pensions: Did You Stop Too Soon?” with Craig Roberts Scott, MA, CG, FUGA

10 March–17 March 2018

Uncovering Immigrant Origins” with Rich Venezia

31 March–7 April 2018

Discovering Southern Families Using Church Records and Related Publications” with J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA


Occasional Webinar Series

Registration for all webinars is $9.99. Visit for more information.

17 January 2018, 8:00pm (EST)

“How Are We Related? Using the Shared cM Project to Explore Your DNA Matches” with Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.

14 March 2018, 8:00pm (EDT)

“Researching Enslaved Ancestors in South Carolina” with LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG

Italian research guide now available!

The Family Tree Italian Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Family Tree in Italy by Melanie Holtz, one of the Virtual Institute’s co-owners and instructors, has just been published by Family Tree Books (publishers of Family Tree Magazine)!

According to the publisher’s description,

The Family Tree Italian Genealogy Guide features:

  • Basic information on starting your family history research, including how to trace your immigrant ancestor back to Italy
  • Strategies for uncovering genealogy records (including passenger lists, draft cards, and birth, marriage, and death records) from both the United States and Italy, with annotated sample records
  • Crash-course guides to Italian history, geography and names
  • Helpful Italian genealogical word lists
  • Sample letters for requesting records from Italian archives

Melanie D. Holtz, CG, is a full-time professional genealogist and owner of Lo Schiavo Genealogica, an international business that maintains offices in both the United States and Italy. She travels frequently to Italy, expanding her skills in genealogy, history, and language. In 2010, Melanie became a board-certified genealogist and has worked as a professional genealogist for fourteen years. Her love of travel and the Italian language played a large part in the vocation she chose.

Friends of the Virtual Institute can save 10% by using the code FTITALIAN at checkout (coupon code expires 31 December 2017).

Melanie also has two recorded courses available from the Virtual Institute:

She also has a very exciting lecture coming up as part of our Occasional Webinar Series:

“The Proietti: Researching an Abandoned Child in Italy” on Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 8:00pm (EDT)

This lecture focuses on a common problem within Italian genealogical research, when your research encounters an ancestor who was abandoned by their natural parents. Does this mean an end to the family line? What records might reveal the situation around the abandonment? Have you exhausted all resources that might provide information on this ancestor, directly or indirectly? Information on abandoned ancestors can be found in several different types of records, including civil, parish, and notarial records. We’ll learn about the social and political policies surrounding these ancestors, adoptions, the foster care system, and recognitions.

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APG Members Discount on all past recorded courses

Are you a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists?

If so, then by now you are probably aware of the Continuing Professional Education requirement that went into effect at the beginning of this year. You may not know that all three founders and the current co-owners have all served on the APG Board of Directors over the years. We have long been committed to serving our professional community and that commitment continues.

Virtual Institute courses are a great way to meet the 12-hour CPE requirement. With each course providing 6 hours of education, our collection of past courses and schedule of upcoming courses will easily allow you to continue to develop your trade.

The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research now offers an APG members-only 10% discount on all course recording packages. For more details on how to claim this discount, just log into your APG Members account, click on “Membership Discount Program,” and then go to the page for the Virtual Institute. There you will find a coupon code that can be used on all recording packages. Just enter the coupon code when you check out and the discount will be applied to all recording packages—no time limits or purchase limits!

Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research Launches Occasional Webinar Series

Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research Announces Occasional Webinar Series


RALEIGH, North Carolina, 27 September 2017. The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research is pleased to announce the commencement of its new Occasional Webinar Series. The Series will supplement the Institute’s standard six-hour courses and bring further diversity to its educational offerings.

In its short three-year history, the Virtual Institute has hosted 30 individual six-hour courses from 19 different instructors. Through the Occasional Webinar Series, the Virtual Institute will periodically invite speakers to present shorter one-hour webinars featuring unique content. The Series will support the Virtual Institute’s mission to provide high-quality, low-cost genealogical and historical education on a wide variety of topics from leading subject-matter experts.

Live attendance in future webinars requires prior registration. The cost for registration is $9.99 which includes the syllabus material and a video recording of the lecture. Attendance is limited to 100 students. After the live session, recording packages with the syllabus will be available for purchase and immediate download at a cost of $19.99.

“Some topics are so specialized that a six-hour course may not be the most appropriate format,” co-founder Michael Hait, CG, CGL, stated. “The Occasional Webinar Series will allow instructors to explore some of these other topics without the need to fit them into the standard course format. Conversely, the one-hour webinar format requires less of a time commitment from our dedicated students while still providing them with access to a unique educational opportunity.”

Four webinars will be presented over the coming months:

  • Melanie D. Holtz, CG, “The Proietti: Researching an Abandoned Child in Italy,” Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 8:00pm (EDT)
  • Bryna O’Sullivan, “Luxembourg Genealogy: The Basics,” Friday, 1 December 2017, 8:00pm (EST)
  • Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., “How Are We Related? Using the Shared cM Project to Explore Your DNA Matches,” Wednesday, 17 January 2018, 8:00pm (EST)
  • LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, “Researching Enslaved Ancestors in South Carolina,” Wednesday, 14 March 2018, 8:00pm (EDT)

Additional lectures in the Webinar Series continue to be negotiated and will be announced through the Virtual Institute News mailing list.

For more information on the Occasional Webinar Series visit


About the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research

The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research offers year-round online education on a wide variety of genealogical subjects. Each course consists of six hours of live instruction, extensive syllabus material, and practical exercises. Limited class sizes and a Plus course option allow for a higher level of class participation and instructor feedback than typically offered remotely. For more information visit or email

Course recordings now available on cemeteries and lecturing

Three courses have been recently added to the Virtual Institute Store:

LaDonna Garner, M.A., R.V.T., “Where Thou May Rest: Researching Cemeteries for Genealogy, Part I

LaDonna Garner, M.A., R.V.T., “Where Thou May Rest: Researching Cemeteries for Genealogy, Part II

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, “The Fine Points of Making Your Point: Honing Your Lecturing Skills

All of our past courses can be purchased in the Virtual Institute Store for $69.99. The recording packages include all four 90-minute sessions, as well as all of the syllabus material and practical assignments.

Take time to visit our Store—and while you’re there, take a look at all of the past courses we have available!