TECHNOLOGY ENHANCES GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH
January 9, 2011
Research is no longer conducted as it used to be where we run to the library and write down names and dates of people in places and go home and record it in three-ring notebooks. The computer and the Internet have changed all that. We can do much of our research at home on our computers using some well-known subscription sites and free sites. Use the technological advancements to enhance your genealogical research. It saves time and money.
The major sites requiring a subscription are Ancestry and Footnote and the free sites Rootsweb and Genweb. There are other sites that also need to be utilized. Of these, the one probably most overlooked is http://usgwarchives.net that covers searchable databases as well as numerous others.
Novices beginning to search for their Native American ancestry should use Carolyne’s Native American Genealogy Helper at www.angelfire.com/tx/carolynegenealogy/. It has how-to articles that point the researcher to sites such as National Archives and Records Administration. It also has basic genealogy classes at no charge on subjects such as marriage and census records, Bureau of Indian Affairs, roadblocks and tribal information.
Retrieving information on citizenship and immigration is available at www.uscis.gov/genealogy. There is much information to be had at this site including available records and prices of obtaining documents, although there are no searchable databases.
From the Census Finder, www.censusfinder.com, you can reach free and for pay links to census sites for the United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden and Canada. It also has a few records on American Indian research. Each state census has a map of the counties. The information here varies, but is certainly worthwhile.
The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/, has searchable databases of those who fought on both sides plus records from Andersonville prison and Ft. McHenry.
The Directory of National and State Genealogical Libraries, www.gwest.org/gen_libs.htm, provides the names and links to many genealogical libraries. If you want to check out links to global libraries be sure to look at the Library Spot link.
Sometimes we rely too much on information found on the Internet. Online research can never give personal information like the stories a relative can provide. Just be sure you don’t take all the folklore as fact. Always document your sources. You will always have to separate what was factual from the fiction.
Years ago, I realized that I liked the hunt for ancestors much better than the filing and organizing all the collected documents. The filing system that works for you is the one you should use.
Recording your found information into one of the many genealogical software databases is necessary. It makes searching for data much easier and quicker and makes quick work of organization. It doesn’t matter what program you use as long as you keep it current.
Genealogy research today has many endless possibilities so keeping current on technology is foremost. Don’t let the sudden brick walls leave you frustrated. Either leave that blocked line for a time or begin searching using a completely different tact.
NATIONAL GENEALOGICAL CONFERENCE: The conference this year takes place on May-11-14 at the Charleston Area Convention Center. For more on this conference go to http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/galleries/new-gallery/NGS_CharlestonFlyer_low.pdf.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: TracingOurRoots@gmail.com.