The Online Genealogist

John Brugliera

Archive for the tag “Internet Archive”

The Online Genealogist is thankful for… online genealogy!!

OG 01

When I began my family history research in 1989 and someone told me I’d be The Online Genealogist in 2014, I’d reply with “On WHAT line?  My paternal or maternal??

Boy, have we come a long way in 25 years!  When historians look back on genealogy as a whole, there’s probably NO other quarter-century period where SO much has changed.  I say for the better, but others mainly those stubborn non-technical types wouldn’t be so quick to jump up and down in excitement for online genealogy and what’s in store for the future.

OG 02

So I thought now would be the perfect time to compare family history research, then (1989), now (2014) and in the future.  Remember that old song In The Year 2525?  Well, we won’t go THAT far ahead… How about 2025?  Which, of course, would be all speculation on my part.

OG 03

Then:  The majority of genealogical research is conducted in libraries.

Now:  A large percentage of genealogical research can be conducted via the internet.

Future:  The MAJORITY of genealogical research can be conducted via the internet.

Then:  The research you’re undertaking is heavily dictated by what repositories you can physically visit and when.  You’re at the mercy of the hours they’re open and when you can get there.

Now:  The research you’re undertaking is heavily dictated by the research path you’re following online – 24/7.  A MUCH more natural and efficient way to conduct ANY type of research!.  The “old” method is seriously backwards and counter-intuitive.  Instead of going with the flow, you’re often swimming upstream; researching what you can where you’re at when you can.

Future:  Even more “now” research and less “then”, which is inefficient and “highly illogical”.  Thank you Mr. Spock!

OG 04

Then:  A specific research plan can take weeks – even MONTHS – to complete.

Now:  A specific research plan can take a few hours – even MINUTES – to complete.

Future:  A specific research plan can take minutes – even SECONDS – to complete.  OK, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you surely get the gist.

Then:  Roots.

Now:  Who Do You Think You Are?, Finding Your Roots, Who’s In My Line?

Future:  Instant Connections, Ancestral Challenge, Genealogy Update.

OG 05

Then:  Hours and hours are spent traveling to and from each research repository.  Which adds up to dollars and DOLLARS.

Now:  You only travel for research if you can’t find what you’re looking for online.  And more often than not, you won’t be leaving your chair.

Future:  You only travel for research if you absolutely MUST.  More will be found online, thus less time spent in your car or on a plane.

OG 06

Then:  You’re overwhelmed with paper copies.

Now:  You’re overwhelmed by all the original records online.

Future:  You’re overwhelmed by immediate access to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING genealogy.

Then:  You need to make the most of your library visits; often working on several ancestors at once.  See counter-intuitive above.

Now:  You can research your ancestors ONE AT A TIME online.  Which is 100 times more productive and a whole lot less confusing.

Future:  You’ll research your one ancestor with much more ease and less mouse clicks.

OG 07

Then:  You either transcribe a document or make a paper copy of it.

Now:  You either download an image of a record or physically take a digital photograph of it.

Future:  99% digital, bay-bee!

Then:  Correspondence is mainly done via the United States Postal Service.  You can expect a reply in maybe a month or two.

Now:  Correspondence is mainly done via email.  You can expect a reply in maybe a week or two at the most.

Future:  Less and less correspondence will be required, with the immense amount of online offerings available.

OG 08

Then:  NOTHING is online because there IS no online!

Now:  5% of genealogical records are online.  Pffffft!

Future:  More than 6% of genealogical records are online.  Heh.

Then:  DNA is unreliable and not accepted as evidence in court.

Now:  DNA is heavily used in our justice system as well as for genealogical research.

Future:  More and more people will have their DNA tested, thus making it a more reliable and essential research tool.

OG 09

Then:  An Everton’s Genealogical Helper subscription is a MUST-HAVE.

Now:  An ancestry.com subscription is a MUST-HAVE.

Future:  An All-Access Online Genealogy subscription is a MUST-HAVE.

Then:  “Dear local genealogical society…”

Now:  Dear Myrtle!

Future:  “Dear XJ-1B Automated Genealogy Assistant, please locate for me…”

OG 10

Then:  “I found dozens of ancestors!  But it took me an entire YEAR.”

Now:  “I found hundreds of ancestors!!  In just a few months.”

Future:  “I found THOUSANDS of ancestors!!!  In a non-stop two-week online marathon session!”

Then:  Contacting and connecting to newly-found living relatives can be a chore.

Now:  Ancestry.com shaky-leaf hints, Facebook, email, Skype, etc.

Future:  ?????

OG 11

So, as you can see, I am VERY optimistic regarding the future of genealogical research; especially online.  The speed and sheer numbers of digital records being added DAILY is mind-boggling.

In this day and age, those not embracing all this technology are at a serious disadvantage.  Even if you visit a repository in person, the first thing they’ll have you do is get onto one of their computers to access what they’re already offering online anyway.  So, there’s no excuse NOT to be keeping up with the times and taking full advantage of EVERYTHING online research has to offer!!

OG 12

Then:  The Yugo.

Now:  The Prius.

Future:  Flying cars!!!

Eh, there’s hope yet…

 

Then:  John Brugliera, Genealogist.  Zero clients.

Now:  The Online Genealogist.  Several clients.

Future:  The Online Genealogist Co., Inc.  Hundreds of clients!!

JohnBrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

TOG WEB

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The Online Genealogist asks “How many differents ways can you spell ‘Shakespeare’?”

Answer:  THOUSANDS!!!!!

Shakespeare 01

This 1869 book goes above and beyond in exemplifying the various ways ONE SURNAME can be found in various genealogical documents.  And the author, George Wise, includes them ALL in here!

Shakespeare 02

Sheyxpeer, Scheykesspierre and everything in between.  There are 15 more full pages like this!!

Why is this overkill of Shakespeare surname variations important to family history research? Because YOU will most likely discover your ancestors’ surnames are not set in Stone.  Or Stoan.  Or Stowen, even!

I’ve heard far too many researchers swear up and down that there is only one CORRECT WAY to spell their ancestor’s surname.  While that may be true, nobody told that to the census taker, town clerk or city directory editor.  And because of this, you will have to look at any possible spelling variations of that surname in those records.  Even your ancestors themselves may be lousy at spelling and not realize that Cammbelle is NOT the “correct” Campbell.

And yes, even a world-renowned writer can have trouble with his own name in a SINGLE DOCUMENT!

Shakespeare 03

Ya just gotta love Mr. Wise’s sense of humor, as shown in the book’s title at the top of each page.

Shakespeare 04

Shakespeare 05

The bottom line here is that NOT seeking surname variations is akin to wearing research blinders where you will limit yourself and probably NOT find hoo you are looking for.

As with the author, the Wise surname is prevalent in my ancestral lineage. If I had ONLY stubbornly searched for Wise, I would’ve missed out on several records that were listed under Wyze, Weiss, Whys, etc.  “As a Whiez man once told me…”

You will tend to find that most misspellings will be a phonetic version of the name, so take a piece of blank paper, start saying the surname out loud and write down EVERY possibility you can come up with.  You may not end up with 4000 like George Wise did, but you will have at least a dozen or so likely alternate spellings to keep in mind if you can’t locate it under the “correct” Shakespeare.

In closing, I can confidently state that the surname you’re looking for WILL have variations in some of the records you refer to.  Neglecting to take into account those “misspelled” surnames would be a serious handicap in your genealogy research.

And if you have John Smith as an ancestor, don’t believe for one second you are immune from this blog post’s message.

Shakespeare 06

…Smiff, Snnith, Sumith, Smiyth, Schmith…

 

And if YOU are having trouble finding your ancestor (correctly-spelled surname or not); hire ME – The Online Genealogist!!

JohnBrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

TOG WEB

 

What’s going on in the genealogy world today?

Oh, there’s ALWAYS something happening with regard to family history research.  Here are just a few highlights…

While I don’t frequently link to others’ blog posts, there are some that simply NAIL IT with regard to what’s been going on or what I’ve been thinking about in genealogy land.  I touched upon this a few blogs back, but delves deep in the “Online Genealogy: Free vs. Subscription” debate here…

Olive Tree

As I said in my post, I fully understand that information costs money.  My gripe was with the yearly membership costs grand total I need to pay for those several websites and societies I’m a member of.  It adds up quickly!

And not a moment too soon, it’s a new “free” website we’ll end up paying for anyway (via taxes) – MyHeritage Library Edition!

MyHeritage

Great news for the “I only use FREE genealogy websites!” crowd.

And for those doing research in the land down under {insert flute here}, Trove keeps growing and growing…

Trove

Trove is a great starting point for your Australian research.  Not just newspapers; they have books, maps, photos, videos and archives websites.  Very much like an Aussie Internet Archive…and also FREE.  And, no – I will not be trying a Vegemite sandwich any time soon.

It’s always good to see the “mainstream media” run a genealogy-related article, such as this one from the Deseret News

Deseret

I’m sure we’ll be seeing an increase of similar stories as genealogy gets a boost from shows like Who Do You Think You Are? and Genealogy Roadshow.

Happy Family History Month to everyone!

 

For The Online Genealogist, every month is Family History Month; hire me and I’ll prove it to you!

johnbrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

TOG WEB

Nothin’ like a few million FREE IMAGES to spice up your family story!

Flickr - IA

The Internet Archive folks recently posted over 2.5 million IMAGES onto the photo-sharing website, Flickr.  Extracted from thousands of books originally searchable by text ONLY at Internet Archive.  Now the images can be searched on Flickr!

Why is this a big deal for genealogists?  We get perty pictures to go with our family histories!  Even though they are mostly “old” images past copyright, you’ll  surely discover a visual gem or two to accompany your ancestors’ stories.

Whether it be something specific like a photo of a long-gone family homestead or generic such as a period steam liner used to illustrate an immigrant family’s trans-Atlantic journey – it’s probably in there.  Remember, we’re talking over two-and-a-half million images here!

So, if you had MacLarens in Windsor, Ontario around 1900, they may have been “manufacturing” cheese…

MacLaren

Or perhaps some of your family lived near Chicago’s Garfield Park.  Here’s a close-up of that area from 1921.  There are several other neighborhoods available for viewing/downloading!

Garfield

Maybe you’re the 3rd-great-grandchild of Dr. P. Edward Seguin, who set up practice in Royalton, Minnesota.  Do a Flickr search for him now and his photo comes right up!  He’s the one with the facial hair (heh).

Seguin 01

Then you hit a link and the original book is shown in its entirety; you’ll see the image in context and maybe find a few more words to go with your Man of 10,000 Lakes.

Seguin 02

Nice stash there, guy.  Oh, and check out his goateed colleague, George Allen Love, M.D. — Dr. Love!  (And yes, I love stuff “finding me” like this.)  Time to break out some Kiss!…

And while most early records aren’t OCR-friendly, they are definitely considered to be images.  Such as the below Allen County, Indiana Circuit Court Index from 1824.  (Hi ACPL!)  All images are downloadable, with Flickr’s excellent choices ranging from thumbnail to original.  I always grab the original, then re-size that as needed.

Allen 02

You can also download several stock photo-type items without the worry of being busted by the copyright police!  Like this large uppercase “C” for your the background of your Carlson Family homepage.

C

Anyway, you get the idea.  That is to NOT overlook this incredible Flickr/Internet Archive e-collection while gathering all sorts of images for your family story.

Then there’s this one image we will ALL use when we finish our family histories and they’re complete.

Adam & Eve

HA – GOTCHA!!!

Oh, and PhotoShop, etc. can also straighten images to make them even PERTIER!

 

And if YOU think that your ancestry can be traced all the way back to Adam & Eve, do NOT hire me — the Online Genealogist!!

TOG WEB

 

 johnbrugliera@theonlinegenealogist.com

 

Internet Archive is THE internet archive

Internet Archive has everything!!!!!!

OK, not really; but close to everything – and all in one place!

It’s one very impressive website and MASSIVE undertaking.

And that is not an exaggeration!

 Image

This recent Mother Jones posting nailed it.

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With regard to most of their stats, those numbers fully written out would take several pages each to print!

“Uhhhhhmm, how many digits are in a gazillion??”

Anyway, find a category on here and browse, browse, browse!

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