I’ve always had a passion for learning. When I was a child, the library was a safe place to travel the world and learn more about any subject I chose. When I discovered audio books on cassette as a teen, I was able to read a hardcover in bed at night while listening to another title in the car during the day. While cassettes are bulky by today’s standards, I felt ahead of my time as I raced to change cassettes and continue my story before the light changed.
Audio books are still a favorite, but when podcasts launched in the early 2000s, I was an early subscriber. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a podcast is like an online radio show, downloaded from a computer or smartphone. When the genealogy bug bit, podcasts were a convenient way to sharpen my skills during my morning commute. Now, working from home, I listen while pulling weeds or enjoying a glass of wine on the porch.
There is an abundance of genealogy podcasts to choose from, but if you’re looking for a place to start, here are some of my favorites.
Lisa Louise Cooke is a rock star of the genealogy world. Always ahead of the pack, Cooke’s podcast was one of the first of its kind (offered since the mid-2000s). Episodes are about forty-five minutes and loaded with helpful content, including interviews with genealogy’s household names. Detailed episode notes are available at lisalouisecooke.com.
Amy Johnson Crow’s podcast covers a wide variety of topics such as DNA, military records, search strategies for female ancestors, and preservation techniques for photos and documents. Each episode is ten to thirty minutes and full transcripts are available at amyjohnsoncrow.com.
Maple Stars and Stripes
Given my proximity to the border, I meet many people researching French-Canadian ancestors, like me. On her show, Sandra Goodwin shares different record groups and repositories as well as ways to navigate French records for those who don’t speak the language. Monthly episode notes are available at maplestarsandstripes.com.
The Genealogy Guys
George G. Morgan and Drew Smith have been sharing genealogy news, listener mail, book reviews, and other related topics since 2005. I particularly enjoy their light-hearted interviews with genealogy’s biggest players. Each weekly episode is about twenty-five minutes and will interest beginners as well as experts. Learn more at genealogyguys.com.
Research Like a Pro
Diane Elder and Nicole Dyer, a mother-daughter team of professional genealogists, share professional grade knowledge, advice, and best practices to benefit any researcher. Each weekly episode is about thirty-five minutes. Recent topics include case studies, DNA, and German research. For more information, visit familylocket.com.
Scott Fisher’s extensive radio background is evident to listeners of his weekly podcast. A long-time morning show host, Fisher packs his shows with interviews and current genealogy news. Segments with “preservation authority” Tom Perry have taught me how to preserve my own family treasures. Find show transcripts and more at extremegenes.com.
Family Tree Podcast
Lisa Louise Cooke also hosts Family Tree Magazine’s monthly podcast and interviews the magazine’s editors and experts about the best tips, tricks, and tools in genealogy today. Each episode has a theme, such as Irish ancestry, researching indentured servants, or how to handle difficult facts uncovered by DNA. Learn more at familytreemagazine.com.
These are a sampling of the many available offerings, not to mention several discontinued podcasts with information still relevant to today’s researchers. (A recent Google search for “genealogy podcasts” yielded more than forty results.) Plus, new podcasts are introduced all the time so you’re sure to find something of interest. Happy listening!
Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits is a National Genealogical Society member, Association of Professional Genealogists member as well as a guest lecturer and freelance writer. Carol is also a board member and President of the Niagara County Genealogical Society. Send questions or comments to her at email@example.com