Online research part 2.

My last post discussed using some valuable online resources available from your local library such as Heritage Quest, Fold3 and Persi.  I neglected to mention other great online sources of information, so here is a list of possible places to check:

  • Local library electronic resources
  • State libraries and archives
  • Genealogy libraries – Latter Day Saints, Daughters of the American Revolution, etc.
  • Historic heritage organization websites – VA Historical Society, etc.
  • County websites – some have volunteers who post old county records
  • County and town historical societies
  • USGenWeb series of websites
  • Find-a-grave

The above listed sources will have the most accurate information,  images of historical documents and headstones and official lists of taxes, land ownership, marriages, births/baptisms and other legal documents.

You will certainly find great nuggets of information on other websites, personal blogs and what not, but you must verify them.  They can also point you in the wrong direction!

So you found just what you were looking for, now what?  Most people try to make a print out with various results.  Now if you are at the public library, that may be your only recourse.  Users with a bit of computer savvy can take a different approach.

Create a directory on your hard drive named something like “genealogy”.  Under this directory you can make other directories to hold your data.  I have directories like Census Records, Military Records, Baptisms, etc.  Next, when you save your file give it a descriptive name.

Windows allows long file names so go wild…1830census_book200_page155  or even better something like Amos_Peters_Eliza_Hardy_Roll 1351_Book1_Page 687.  That way you don’t have to open a bunch of files to find the one you want.

The next step is key…the index of documents.  You need to develop some method of tracking where these documents are in relation to the families you are researching.  An excel spreadsheet or text document for each family line you are researching makes it easy to gather all the documents together, find them when you wish to share them or refer to them when writing.  Software such as Legacy Family Tree or Family Tree Maker is also a huge help because they allow you to enter notes alongside of the names.

Check this link for the best programs:

Well thats it for this post.  Remember, genealogy is a never ending search.

Rob Andrews
I’m a mutt with a pedigree