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Genealogy & The Internet. John LaMont Genealogy Librarian The Seattle Public Library. Objectives. Learn the basics of genealogy and how to effectively use the Internet to trace your family history. Overview. Life events discussion Genealogy basics Genealogy sources

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genealogy the internet

Genealogy & The Internet

John LaMont

Genealogy Librarian

The Seattle Public Library

  • Learn the basics of genealogy and how to effectively use the Internet to trace your family history.
  • Life events discussion
  • Genealogy basics
  • Genealogy sources
  • The Seattle Public Library
  • Internet resources
  • Online exercises
life events discussion
Life Events Discussion
  • Think of some events from your life
    • Birth, marriage, death, etc.
  • Who was involved?
  • When did these events occur?
  • What records exist for these events?
  • Where might these events be recorded?
  • Why were these events recorded?
genealogy basics getting started
Genealogy Basics / Getting Started
  • Family sources
    • Gather what you and other family members already know
  • Organization
    • Pedigree charts, family group sheets, & research logs.
  • Documentation
    • Cite your sources
  • Education
    • Learn about the types of resources used in genealogical research
primary vs secondary sources
Primary vs. Secondary Sources
  • Primary
    • Reported at the time of the event and directly involve participants of the event
  • Secondary
    • Almost everything else
    • Useful in locating primary sources
    • Need to be verified
types of sources
Types of Sources
  • Family (S & P)
    • Aunt Noreen’s
  • Print (S)
    • Libraries, historical societies
  • Original records (P & S)
    • State, regional, and national archives, county courthouses, churches, FHL
  • Electronic subscription databases (P & S)
    • Home and libraries
  • Internet (S & P)
    • Anywhere
family sources
Family Sources

- letters, bibles, photos, diaries, family stories

“My father, Theodore, died at the age of 49 from Bright’s disease in 1899. This was taken not long before he died. . . His fore fathers landed in theChesapeake Bayarea, & settled in the Baltimore County. As it was then.”

Nellie (Rusk) LaMont, 1961.

print sources
Print Sources
  • Guide books
    • Provide information on methods of genealogy research, types of genealogy sources, and addresses for locating records
  • Abstracts, indexes, and bibliographies
    • Allow genealogists to locate information in a wide variety of print and original sources
  • Family, local, and other histories
    • Direct genealogists to previous research, sources, and provide historical context
  • City directories
    • Location and occupation
original records
Original Records
  • Vital (birth, marriage, death)
    • Civil registration
  • Church
    • Membership, birth, baptism, and marriage
  • Census
    • Federal: 1790 through 1930
    • State: varies by state
    • Indexes, Soundex, microfilm, electronic
  • Court
    • Probate, orphan’s, criminal, equity
original records cont
Original Records (cont.)
  • Land
    • Homesteads, grants, and purchased land
    • Location, description, timeframe, relatives
  • Probate & Wills
    • Real and personal property, surviving descendants, estate distribution
  • Military Service Records
    • Muster, service, pension, and widow’s pension
seattle public library using the online catalog
Seattle Public LibraryUsing the Online Catalog
  • Plan your trip to SPL
    • Search the catalog from home
  • Finding family histories
    • Exact subject: Smith Family
    • Title keyword: Smith Family
  • Finding geographic material & histories
    • Subject keyword: Scioto County Ohio
seattle public library electronic databases
Seattle Public LibraryElectronic Databases
  • Ancestry Library Edition /
    • Original records viewable online
      • Census, military, directories
    • Indexes and abstracts
      • Land, vital, court, probate, military, etc.
  • HeritageQuest Online
    • Census
    • Books (family and local histories, etc.)
    • PERSI
    • Revolutionary War
internet what to expect
Search engines, directories, & link lists

Transcribed and original records

Mailing lists & message boards

Searchable databases

Personal Web sites

Locality & ethnic specific sites

Societies & groups

Research guides, tools & references

Libraries & archives

Internet – What to Expect
internet email
Internet – Email

You’ll need email for subscribing to mailing lists, posting messages, and communicating with other researchers. You can sign up for a free email account at the following Web sites:

internet pros cons

Indexes, abstracts, original records, relatives, etc.


Growth / Expansion

Active community

Anyone can participate


Missing sources


Incorrect information

Link rot

Anyone can participate

Internet – Pros & Cons
internet evaluation
Internet – Evaluation
  • Who created the site?
  • Is contact information provided?
  • Where did the data come from?
  • Are sources cited?
  • What time period or geographic location is covered?
  • Are there obvious inconsistencies, omissions, or mistakes?
  • Why was the source created?
internet search engines
Internet – Search Engines
  • Are incomplete indexes of the Internet
  • Vary in scope and quality
  • Do not index searchable databases
  • Allow basic and advanced searches
  • Examples
    • Google.
    • Yahoo.
    • MSN.
    • Teoma.
popular internet sites
Popular Internet Sites
  • Cyndi’s List
    • Indexes over 200,000 genealogy Web sites
  • U.S. Gen Web
    • County and state resource Web sites
  • Family Search
    • Mormon Church
    • Searchable databases including IGI, Ancestral File, 1880 census, library catalog
  • GenForum
    • postings for surnames, states, regions, and topics
  • Mailing Lists
    • For just about anything you can think of
popular internet sites20
Popular Internet Sites
  • RootsWeb
    • The Internet's oldest and largest free genealogy community
  • National Archives
    • Information about federal records
    • Requesting military service & pension records
    • Archival Databases
  • Ellis Island
    • Immigrants arriving in New York
online exercises
Online Exercises
  • Explore Web sites discussed in class
  • Try searching for your ancestors, the places they lived, or a genealogy topic of interest:
    • Google
    • Cyndi’s List
    • Family Search
    • U.S. GenWeb
    • Other Web sites
genealogy classes
Genealogy Classes
  • Fiske Genealogical Library
  • Seattle Genealogical Society
  • Seattle Public Library