Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thoughts on Genealogy Research Sites

As I stated on Facebook, since Mr. Thornton has had a missed beat I have really had some deep thoughts on our directions and maneuvers.
Many years ago, alas, to many years ago, we had little access to the internet. We had access to books, films, readers, digests, maps, each others research, libraries and archives, county libraries and on up the line to Federal data.

AHHH the internet happened, Was this a good thing maybe, was it a bad thing maybe. There was a distant cousin I met in a early chat room on Golden Gate Forum who was my first (BINGO) for a connection on a family line. He is long gone now but we shared many words on genealogy and the changes he had seen and I would be seeing. George F. cousined with this man also. He had much insight and knowledge. Because I had fifteen boxes of genealogy regarding different lines of family I had worked over the past 25 years, I was saying I could never get it all put on line. Bless him, he said a few lines at a time and hopefully they would be empty before I was gone. Well, I have since 1995 added five boxes to various files, Alas those systems are not up any more. I am not giving them away until I get the data off them. I have also added two boxes to the system of documents, pictures and data that need retained in hard copy. I have two websites and and recently added data to on husbands side.

Many other things in genealogy happened also. Had I known the sourcing would have changed I could have had hand written documents of my Grandparents for my files. I do have a few letters but not like what today's sourcing wants. So as I added the files I refound the sources sometimes found more distant kin and made many new acquaintances. So it was not a matter of data entry it was a matter of almost redoing the entire system.

I loved the interaction of the GOLDEN GATE FORUM and the care and work ethics that were put out by the chat hosts and
attendees. I can not say how many people I served or helped me but it was in the thousand's and that is no lie.
Today, I hear from at least 25 of them on steady basis and probably over a 100 on as need to know or question arises by someone. That forum has been gone over ten years so I think that is a good track record. I went on to work for Joe
and his people and was helpful in creating the first online Genealogy Conference ever held that we could find.
We covered the month of October and had many awesome Genealogists from everywhere attend and give their talks
When that system retired. I was already teaching this topic at our local library twice a month, which I have done for 8 years.

I served on my local genealogy society as: Secretary, President, Vice President, etc. I also served on boards on other local societies. I am still serving now. I also helped with the newspaper at the local society level and when on the Golden Gate Forum put out the Mid Atlantic Messenger for all those who wanted it.

Recently having gone to the Conference in Burbank I learned many new and I thought exciting things that genealogists are going to be looking at and maybe changing how we do some of our things again. I know I started using after the Burbank Conference two years ago. I think it helps us to link to our near or distant relative with out creating as much replication that happens via just email.

This time I learned about Blogging but not as a chat tool but as a genealogical tool. I find it fits into the Online Conference theme I have done before and some of those that are blogging big time now were asked to be our speakers back then so long ago. Maybe it is what brought some of this to the front today. PodCasts are obviously the wave of the future also.
I bought my recorder but that is as far as I have mastered that one so far. I had others but wanted what was recommended by one of the best.

Now the blogging agenda, we have many hundred sites of bloggers with good and interesting data, but now I wonder if all these sites that are coming up are not messing us up. Yes, that is what I said.

I love the USGENWEB.ORG system and program, would it not have been better to have taken this new concept to them and maybe making it modern and kept it within those regions bounds. I see many sites that are old and haggered looking in dire need of direction. I see some that are up and modern and putting some of the interaction with in their program.
Even the Rootsweb based program could use some of this concept I think.

My biggest concern when I first learned of the new area for posting was, how many can we handle, how many do we want, are we spreading ourselves to thin and missing the data we are looking for because we are not utilizing the sources and resources we have? I was wondering if the gentleman that sounded so excited about his site had thought of stepping up to help the state source sites with his concept instead of a general? Can one imagine how great it would be to go to the state source site,
and do the maneuvers we can do on Facebook and Genealogy-Wise ( if it holds) or let alone many others places that tend to be cropping up.

Am I really out in left field with these thoughts, I do not think so I am hoping some of my old Forum friends and family and acquaintances will respond if they had even thought of this or feel overwhelmed by the amount of data that is filtering to us,
for use as genealogists.

Please do not misunderstand me I love the Blogs, the sites and the data but are we spreading our selves so far apart we are missing many connections?

I try not to post a lot unless I think it's something that is viable for many because I do not want to muddy others waters that have great information and good knowledge to share. I also find the time I spend doing to much blogging cuts into my research time, which is cut into (LOL) by Family which should come first :>).

Maybe reaching 50 years of marriage has muddled my thinking but I am sure curious if the little words I hear, here and there are really more real than not and we do not want to damage our researching we always want to make it a better place.

I am really hoping to hear from many of you regarding this matter. I do not think I would have decided to ask except after this last situation I sure had to rethink about where we are going and what are we doing? or


  1. The Internet is neither good nor bad. It is another tool for genealogists to use to identify their ancestors.

    Family histories in print are the same. Would you cite one as your source? Maybe. But if the sources were listed, you should consider it as a LEAD to the sources you need.

    I find the Internet a rapid way of accessing LEADS to sources I need for my ancestors. It is also a good way to network and learn more ways to research and analyse data.

    Happy Dae·

  2. Dae I gather I missed the explanation, I was not rumbling about Internet but the fact we are scattering so many ways and maybe we could help each other more if we pooled our resources better. As I told Randy so much out there and it's hard to accomplish our work and research and read all the blogs etc. We must remember to make the data search engine findable also whether it a query or a post. With the spread of data we definitely need to keep that in mind. Thanks so much for the feedback,

  3. I agree with your thought about the GenWeb project, many sites are current and the volunteers are on top of keeping it fresh, though other sites are stale and even there coordinators do not get back to queries. I can only imagine what that site could be like if we could use it like the Facebook or GenealogyWise. Everything in one spot would be terrific!

  4. Hi Susi ~
    I can understand what you mean about being spread so thin, but I have to say that having a blog has connected me with 2 relatives that I'm not sure I would have found if I hadn't put my blog out there. What I have out there probably doesn't have much in the way of information for others - but it does come up in search engines and 2 people have found me that way.

    Also, I love the immediacy of it all - I put a "tweet" out there that I need help with Maryland genealogy and get a wonderful response that leads me to what I need.

    I often feel overwhelmed by it all - but wouldn't have it any other way. :-)

  5. Susi, it's great to read another genealogy blog. Each blog means something different to its author. I am of the opinion there can never be too many, so long as they're original and current.

    My genealogy blog is part diary, part research log, part coffee chat with other bloggers. I don't think it would fit into any category. It's not all facts, though I do talk about my family lines. I have been contacted my many new cousins this way and I would not change anything I've done blog-wise at all.

    I also use my blog to network and meet new friends. That's how I already knew so many people at the Jamboree, though we had never met. I had met them already through my blog.

    Keep making your points. I love the dialog. That's the beauty of a blog. :)

  6. Susi, with each new tool, there is always a fear that we will be overwhelmed by information. No doubt people felt that way when Gutenberg invented the press. Back in the 60s, I recall people being worried about an "information explosion", that we would all drown in information. That was long before there was a World Wide Web.

    You and I will never read all the books that ever were, or the magazines, or the newspapers, or the journals, or the web pages. Not even the ones just about genealogy. Not even the ones just about our own ancestors.

    The solution is not to discourage people from creating new blogs. The solution is to create better finding tools that can search what's out there.

  7. I just wanted to say: Welcome to the Geneablogging Community!

    Personally, I love the internet. I think it all depends on how you use it.

  8. Welcome to the blogosphere! Not to worry. The drips will drop out, the useful will be encouraged. Yes, duplication is a hassle, but so what? It's the constant digging that's important, and providing fertle fields for interest to expand.

  9. Hi Susi,

    Yes, sometimes I feel as if I need to be "defragged" because there is so much out there and it is making me feel rather scattered. I just try a few things. I can't do them all as I don't have the time. So I utilize certain ones at certain times depending on what I'm researching. But I do see what you are saying...with each new thing it seems to be fragmenting things up. New things are hard to learn to incorporate because humans are such creatures of habit.
    ~Cheri Mello