PhD History with Genealogical Studies Shannon Combs-Bennett

I studied the MSc in Genealogical, Heraldic, and Palaeographic Studies at The University of Strathclyde in 2019. This followed the successful completion of the Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies (PLCGS) in American Records and writing my independently published book; Genealogy Basics in 30 Minutes (published 2017). I am now a Qualified Genealogist (QG) who spends much of my time researching, writing, and lecturing on a wide variety of topics ranging from genetic genealogy to methodology.

In my spare time, I enjoy crochet, painting, and stained glass. I also developed a new interest in gardening during the pandemic and now grow an impressive range of herbs, vegetables, and flowers in my yard.

What inspired you to undertake the PhD in History with Genealogical Studies at the University of Strathclyde?

This is the only program like it in the world and this was the biggest draw. Also, the price was more reasonable than universities in my local area of the US. Which, is a big draw for me as I have a child at University and another one there in a few years. The freedom to set my schedule for workshops, lectures, and learning opportunities makes it very easy to fit my education in around my work and family schedules.

Tell us about your chosen area of research.

I have always been fascinated by lineage societies in the United States. Later as a staff genealogist for an organisation, I was amazed by the amount of genealogical and historical information preserved in their archives. Looking at other groups, and speaking to my fellow professional genealogists, I was amazed that so many did not know about these wonderful collections. My research looks at a variety of aspects of lineage societies focusing on how they evolved in the United States, their role in genealogical and historical preservation, and how perceptions have changed over time.

How did you find the support available to you at the University (resources, tutors, teaching etc)?

The support has been excellent. Everyone wants to see you succeed and will do their best to help you in your journey. I am a remote student who is five hours behind the University and it has never been a problem finding times to meet or people willing to work around odd time zones.

What would be your advice for people considering a PhD?

Have a plan on what you want to do and the outline of a proposal ready before you start. This will help find the right supervisors for your project and make the acceptance process faster.