Friday, July 26, 2013
Genealogists everywhere need to know about these new genealogical resources... I was shocked at how much I was able to find about my family lines that I have been researching for years.
The first source, although not very well organized, had file folders that were in alphabetical order... at least for the most part. Some of the information I was well aware of, but a lot seemed to be all new!!!
The second source, was extremely haphazard with all kinds of other non-genealogical material mixed in with it. This source would be the last place I would send any of our bloggers, but when I sorted through the stacks of hundreds of pages of paper - I found so much great material on many of my lines. Just a gold mine of information: U.S. census images, deeds, wills, family stories, family photos, old correspondence. Although some seemed to be known to me, most every page seemed to be totally new material!
Back to the first source - one that was widely used by genealogists prior to the explosion of computerized databases. It was something I used to the best of my ability. It was not always easy to retrieve or locate information, but if you kept at it, you usually could find what you wanted. The bad part of this system was when something got into the wrong folder. Computer databases could have the same problem with an item being placed in the wrong place, as well... with the exception of being able to use a search engine to find it. This source has been around for a very long time... I used to say that I decided to do some "original research" in my file cabinet drawers! I said this because over the years, I would forget what was in many of the file folders. This is similar to loose-leaf notebooks sitting on shelves or worse under the bed or in a box hidden from view. One big bonus of checking this source is that something you kept that its connection to your family had been dubious, may now be the missing link to prove your latest findings. The longer you have been researching the more "forgotten" information are in those old filing cabinets or notebooks... go through what you have accumulated over the years to find some new gems of information that could be just the "treasure" you have been looking for!
Now for that second "gold mine," it is the curse of the Internet of a busy genealogist, especially one that tends to procrastinate a little too often. I am speaking of when you print out great info from all types of sources from your computer. You find some census images of many in your family and you print out these to review later. You get great emails from another researcher or distant cousin that you print out... because you do not want to "lose it" among all of those less relevant messages. However, you tend to print out that great joke and the cool information on how to make something cool out of paper clips and old floppy disks that end up mixed between you genealogy data in the tray. Then, when your tray gets too full, you take the pages out and set them aside to be sorted out at a later time as you dutifully print out more volumes of all kinds of cool things and genealogy items. What a disorganized mess it will soon become. It amazes me that three or four months can quickly pass by before I even think about sorting out my "great new genealogical finds" from all of the other things. I guess I should confess and admit sometimes these stacks do not get sorted for a year or longer before I take the time to go through them. I generally will not let anymore time go past then when the stacks of printouts are as tall as my computer desk... I do have standards!
The last week or two, I have been going through these unsorted stacks of printouts finding all kinds of great stuff that I do not even remember ever finding. Then I look into the filing cabinet to file it safely away and find some other material neatly hidden in my filing cabinet folders!!!
I hate to admit my haphazard genealogical habits, but when you have so much to do and so many things to distract you, it can become easy to "print & file" or "print & stack!" I am currently working on a major project to put all of my papers into file folders and then go through these files gleaning new information into my computer database (and then to back it up on a flash drive).
Does anyone else find these two resources being overlooked in their own homes? If you do, have you found any significant revelations for your family history? Like the TV commercial states: "Don't have stacks of printouts and buried info in filing cabinets! Get rid of cable TV!" Or as I suggest, don't let your genealogy stack up or get buried in files!
Hey, let me tell you about the greatest find in over 50 years of my researching... well, maybe in another blog, someday.
- Compiled by JGWest