Friday, February 3, 2017

2016 Best Genealogy WebSites

Thanks to Family Tree Magazine for this

People tell me, often, about how they are not researching here 'cause they plan to go to [insert your overseas home country] to do their family history research aka genealogy. So I ask a couple simple questions, and then I ALWAYS think "What a waste". Why? Well, unless you have done a tremendous amount of research to know EXACTLY which record types you will need to find in EXACTLY which archive/library/church, in EXACTLY which physical location city/town/farm, and EXACTLY which days and times each is open/closed and EXACTLY who is allowed to research there, and HOW to use each set of records - which one should be looked at first, what you are looking for, what you might find because records are all used in tandem, right? We use one record to lead us to the next, but do you know EXACTLY what each record is even named, and ... on and on and on. You should know that there is not that one spot that has the book with your family history in it!!!

Now this doesn't even take into consideration your travel, meal, accomodation costs. You know how long it can take to find the answer needed for each question. So do you really want to spend your whole vacation time in the musty, cold basement of an old building, alone, desperately wishing you could just wander around the town your family lived in - looking through cemeteries, walking in the footsteps of your ancestors confident in the knowledge you've got the right street, house, church. Maybe you see this differently, and that's your perogative.

For me I did as much research as possible while still at my home in Canada. I gathered BMDs, census reports for every available census, I found church records, court records, guardianship records, parish records, newspaper clippings, buckets of maps, and on and on until I had re-created the lives of my ancestors - as complete as possible at the time. THEN I planned my trip, and only included research in a couple record types only available 'there'. Seeing as I'm first generation Canadian I had a lot of 'away' locations to visit and I've done most of them - from areas of eastern Canada, to various US States, to Scotland, to Ireland, to Germany, to Czech Republic. I have photographs of me at specific homes, beside ancestors tombstones, inside the churches named on documents and in newspapers, and a whole lot more ... so you get the idea.

My advice? Do your research from home. Travel later. That's my advice. Can you tell I had an 'interesting' conversation with a new genealogist last night? Lol


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