20 September 2010

Everything I Needed to Know I Found On Ancestry...

At least that is what some people think... In my travels over the past few years I've come to realize that most people really believe that everything they need to know about researching (and finding) their family history is on Ancestry. Its as though the whole internet boils down to this one website.

I find it disappointing that people really believe that this is the only way to find anything on their family history. It's a shame actually, because there is so much more to the internet & genealogy besides Ancestry.

It's almost like people are afraid to jump out of the comfort of their "nest" and try flying errr searching on their own. With search engines there's so much more to find, and the best part? There's no cost. Try Google, Yahoo, Dogpile, Bing to name a few.

Try this: Print off ONE group sheet for a family you would like to focus on. Just one. Now sit down at your computer and spend a few hours with each of the search engines. Playing with surnames, playing with places named on that group sheet. Try searching for place names & vital records. Try searches like "South Carolina Archives" or "Missouri Death Certificates". Stay away from the commercial sites. Try using " __", try using + and - with words, don't forget ( and ) with your words as well. Be creative with your searches. Try searching for your ancestors names, with and without dates, with & without locations. How about searching for your ancestors name with & without a religion attached? Ever thought about looking for newspaper archives or obituaries without using Ancestry? It can be done.

I'm not knocking Ancestry but there really is alot more to the internet than just Ancestry. Have you looked at FamilySearchLabs? How about Cindi's List? Expand your horizons a bit and try searching using your search engines. It just might surprise you what you can find.

Happy Researching!


Michelle Goodrum said...

A good reminder for all of us. I think we tend to get into our routines, whether it be Ancestry or certain other sites. It's always good to shake the tree a little from time to time and see what falls!

Lori said...

So true! You can discover so many things just by using a search engine creatively, as well.

Travis LeMaster said...

Good suggestion to go through Family Group sheets from time to time to see what else is out there. I'm relatively new to Ancestry, love the new information - but it often leads me to check other sources offline in new locales. Everyone needs to remember that it is just one tool in the toolbox.

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

We must also remember that the information on Ancestry.com is not always correct! There are transcription errors in just about everything from source notes to indexing to . . . well . . . transcriptions of the data. We must always check what we find in Ancestry and in other sources as well with still further sources, compare the information and decide which is the best evidence, which the most correct and reliable.