Online research part 1.

You’re poking around on the internet, looking for that missing link.  Suddenly, there it is!  It may be in a forum, posted on a webpage, or in a gedcom on a genealogy website.  Finally, the lineage is resolved.

No so fast.

When I talk to people about genealogy, I always tell them to be wary of online data.  Some people have  an overwhelming desire to make information say what they want it to say and not letting it stand on its own merit.  Forcing the square peg in the round hole so to speak.  Sometimes, they think that they have looked so long and hard that this must be it, there is no other data.

Sometimes, you will not find the answer. Sometimes, the records simply don’t exist. Sometimes, you have an unresolvable dilemma.  Learn to live with it, but never stop searching for the answer.

Its been said the internet never forgets and it doesn’t forget in many places as the erroneous information is posted and reposted.  These errors are compounded by poor research methods, sloppy attention to details and those who take the easy way out. The true genealogist verifies every piece of data with a source document, a verified reference and yet another road trip. Above all, genealogy is a search for the truth.

One of the best ways to begin online research is not with a subscription Ancestry.com, Genealogy.com or some other website.  It is at your public library website.  If you have a library card, usually you can access online resources(they usually call them electronic/digital resources) such as Heritage.com, Fold3.com or Persi for free.

These websites have census records, county records, newspaper listings, military and tax lists, marriage and baptism records and more.  The records are bona fide, source documents from official sources.  These websites will also allow you to download them to your computer to start your own digital collection.

So get started on your research in the right way and make your free digital resources at your public library your first stop in your research.

Rob Andrews
I’m a Mutt with a Pedigree