Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions not covered here, please contact us at [email protected].

What is the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research?

The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research is an educational venue that offers a wide variety of Institute-quality courses in a virtual format. The virtual format allows students to advance their genealogical skills in a cost-effective manner, without the costs of travel and lodging associated with many other educational opportunities.

Does the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research have a physical location?

No. All classes are offered virtually using GoToWebinar.

What equipment do I need to use GoToWebinar?

All you need to use GoToWebinar are the following:

  • Windows or Mac computer
  • Internet connection (broadband is best)
  • Microphone and speakers (built-in or USB headset)

Most computers have built-in microphones and speakers, but you will get much better audio quality if you use a headset. You can also call in on your landline or mobile device.

See for more information.

What is the Standard course format?

Each Virtual Institute course consists of

  • Four 90-minute lectures by an expert instructor (six hours of total instruction);
  • Extensive syllabus material to supplement each lecture;
  • At least one practical exercise designed to provide experience with the concepts being taught.

What is the Plus option for courses?

In addition to the Standard course lectures, syllabus, and exercise(s), students who register for the Plus option also receive

  • An additional one-hour Plus lecture on the topic, usually held on an evening mid-week;
  • Individual feedback on a practical exercise, either the same exercise provided to all students or an additional Plus-only assignment at the discretion of the instructor.

All Plus students who complete the assignment and return it to the instructor for feedback will also receive a “Certificate of Completion.”

Plus sessions are recorded and provided to registered students; however, these extra sessions are not included in the recording packages for later purchase. To get the most information from the instructor, be sure to register for the Plus option at the time the course is offered live!

What if my payment comes from an account in a different name? Can I change the name on my registration?

Yes. When you add  course to your Shopping Cart, you have the opportunity to input the email address to which you would like to have course materials sent. This will be the email address that we use, not the one associated with the PayPal account used to purchase the course.

What happens if I miss a lecture?

All registrants will be provided with a video recording of each lecture, usually within one or two days after the live session. This will enable a review of the class(es) that you missed prior to the next session.

What kind of assignments will be given and how will the assignments be submitted for evaluation by the instructor?

Practical exercises will vary by course at the discretion of the individual instructor. Students registered for the standard course do not receive any feedback from the instructor, but completing the assignment is still beneficial as a means of putting into practice the concepts being taught. Students registered for a Plus course receive individual feedback from the instructor. Instructions on submitting the assignment will be provided by the instructor.

How will students interact with the course instructor?

Each of the four lectures will have at least one question-and-answer session. These Q & A sessions may occur at different points in each lecture, at the discretion of the instructor.

Students registered for a Plus course also receive individual feedback on their completed assignments from the instructor, and have a separate one-hour Plus session with the instructor that includes additional information and time for questions.