Monday, March 30, 2009

Expand Your Research

Over the weekend I was catching up on my blog reading and came across an interesting post at the California Genealogical Society Library blog showing an interesting graphic poster reflecting the idea that most research takes place in such areas as libraries, archives, courthouses and the like. After viewing this interesting poster I decided to create a graphic interpretation of the subject reflecting all the different avenues researchers should be taking in addition to the Internet. With the help of my of graphics program and Wordle, I created the above illustrated poster.

The Internet is a wonderful research tool and makes genealogical research so much easier than in the past. I can easily recall the pre-Internet days when I would spend hours at libraries scrolling through spools of census microfilm, writing query letters including my self-addressed stamped return envelope, filling out applications for death certificates, and scanning through hundreds of pages of un-indexed books looking for that elusive ancestor. However, even today, far from everything is online, and the researcher who doesn’t expand their avenues of research is simply missing out on valuable information.

Far from everything is online and the dedicated researcher must continue to take traditional avenues for research including using local historical societies, genealogical societies and libraries (both local and academic). Records in courthouses need to be explored and letters need to be written. Visits to cemeteries, archives and museums are also important. Simply put, there is a massive amount of information out there that will take more traditional methods to obtain. The Internet has not taken the place of more traditional methods of research - it has simply made the job of research much more easy.

Expand your research exploring all avenues by taking more traditional routes to compliment your Internet-based research. It is amazing what is available out there in collections throughout the country easily obtained by writing a letter, making a phone call or visiting the various facilities. It will be time well spent.

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