Family History Academy

Skill Building for Family Historians

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Masterclass with Tom Jones

Advanced genealogical writing skills using Microsoft Word

This workshop is sold out!

In this masterclass series, comprised of four modules, Tom Jones builds on the principles presented in his 2021 short course, Adapting Microsoft Word to Genealogical Writing.

Most of us use Microsoft Word for our genealogical writing but we may limit that use to basic features. Developing a personal style guide or ‘house style’ can help take your writing to the next level by promoting a professional and consistent approach. Defining standards for writing, formatting and designing genealogy-related documents helps to send the right message to your readers, whether they are peers or family.

This masterclass gives you the knowledge, skills, and insights you need to extend your Microsoft Word expertise. Even better, you can tailor the masterclass to your needs by selecting only those modules that best suit you or you can take all four as a bundle and save $25.

Masterclass details

Note: All prices are in US dollars.

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Dates, times and cost

Each module is 3 hours (1.5 hours per session x 2).

Module 1. Focus on styles

18 and 25 February 2022 @ 7.30pm Eastern $75

Module 2. Focus on Margins, Headers, and Footers

11 and 18 March 2022 @7.30pm Eastern $75

Module 3. Focus on Tables and Figures

1 and 8 April 2022 @7.30pm Eastern $75

Module 4. Focus on Paragraphing, Subheads, and Page Layout

22 and 29 April 2022 @7.30pm Eastern $75

All Zoom sessions are closed captioned, recorded and available for viewing for 14 days following the session. Handouts are included.

Attendance is limited to 30 participants per masterclass.

Buy the four-module bundle and save $25!



Each module has two parts. In Part One (Week 1), you will learn how to create, modify and apply a particular tool/function of Microsoft Word and then apply it in an in-class exercise. You are given the opportunity during the week following Part One to create your own document styles (the ‘house’ style) and apply them to a genealogical writing sample of your choosing.

In Part 2 (Week 2), if you choose to, you share how you created your ‘house’ style, for example, the structure and layout of tables, and applied it to your genealogical writing sample(s). Your own and others’ examples will be discussed with instructor feedback given.

 If you are ready to take your skills to the next level, then one or more of these modules will be for you.

 Module 1: 18 and 25 February 2022

 Focus on Styles

In this module, you will learn how to create, apply and modify a variety of Word style types to help save time when creating consistent and well-designed documents.

 In this module, you will:

  • Understand the importance of styles and their application to your genealogical writing
  • Understand the difference between paragraph and character styles
  • Create, modify and locate your own styles
  • Learn how to copy styles from one document to another
  • Generate and modify a Table of Contents using styles
  • Use keyboard shortcuts for your own styles.

 Module 2: 11 and 18 March 2022

 Focus on Margins, Headers, and Footers

Headers and footers help to keep our documents organised and easier to read so we should be aware of the situations in which one or both may be required.

 In this module, you will:

  • Learn about the optimal size and format for document margins and how to make modifications based on the type of document
  • Know when, and how, to incorporate “running” headers and footers
  • Understand the difference between page numbering options for front matter (eg Table of Contents) and general writing
  • Know how to change from one numbering style to another.

Module 3: 1 and 8 April 2022

 Focus on Tables and Figures

Tables organise and present information while figures provide a visual addition to a document. When added to a case study, research report, journal article, blog post or other types of writing, tables and figures can improve the readability of a document.

 In this module, you will:

  • Learn how to insert tables and figures and modify table properties such as table borders, height and width of rows and columns
  • Understand the correct placement of tables and figures in the text with their respective captions
  • Add captions and numbering to tables and figures
  • Convert text to tables and vice versa
  • Create your own table style(s).

 Module 4: 22 and 29 April 2022

 Focus on Paragraphing, Subheads, and Page Layout

Words, and how we put them together, matter but the layout, design and organizational elements of a document are key to how our writing is viewed by others.

 In this module, you will:

  • Use different type sizes, weights, and styles to create your own typographic hierarchy
  • Develop typographic options for separating paragraphs
  • Know how to insert up to four levels of subheads in genealogical writing
  • Go beyond bullets and review alternatives
  • Understand the different ways in which you can view your work –Print Layout, Web Layout, Outline, and Draft.

About the presenter

Thomas W Jones, PhD, CG®, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Tom Jones co-edited the National Genealogical Society Quarterly for sixteen years. He has written the textbooks Mastering Genealogical Documentation and Mastering Genealogical Proof, twenty-eight articles in peer-reviewed and edited genealogy journals and twenty-six more articles in genealogical magazines and newsletters. A holder of two graduate degrees in education, he teaches online and in-person at genealogical institutes and seminars locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Audiences and students consistently report learning much from his lectures and interactive classes.