Internet GenealogyPlaces you never thought you could go Michael J Denis, (email@example.com)Parksville, KY, for the Boyle County Public Library 23 July 2012
Purposes and Assumptions • Learn about some Internet resources which are available for genealogists • Explore both paid and free websites • Learn how to find information in those websites • Learn searching techniques that will make it easier, more effective, and less time-consuming to find what you seek • I assume you have (1) basic familiarity with the Internet and computer; (2) have begun your family tree; and (3) understand basic genealogical concepts
Some General Suggestions • ALWAYS use your common sense. I have seen ALL these examples, and more. • An ancestor with 5 children born a year apart, with numbers 1, 3 and 5 born in Virginia and 2 and 4 born in England make no sense. • An ancestor born in 1730 is unlikely to have children born after 1800, nor are her children likely to have been born before 1740. • Find an old US History textbook at a yard sale or flea market. Using it will show you that your Irish ancestor probably was NOT born in North Dakota in 1643.
Some General Suggestions (2) • Just because YOU spell a name a certain way does not mean your ancestor or other people then spelled it that way – use metaphone or phonetic searches when possible. “SOUNDEX” does not work as well. • It’s unlikely for an ancestor to have two or even three children with the exact same name unless earlier ones died. I found one family that had four girls, same name, same birth and same death dates. • The date you have may not be correct. When searching, always use a range (+/- 2 years, 5 years) unless you are SURE, and even then, a range might yield better results.
Some General Suggestions (3) • The earlier the record, the more likely it will be accurate – birth records are better than death records for knowing when the person was born. • There ARE errors in official records; if dates are different, record BOTH unless you are sure one is wrong. • Don’t necessarily believe “family traditions” -- grandma was the grand-daughter of a Cherokee princess. She probably wasn’t.
Some General Suggestions (4) • Don’t accept someone else’s family tree as being accurate – stick to historical records as much as you can. Many researchers don’t use common sense. Using other people’s family trees for information will show you very quickly how wrong information can be propagated WIDELY and WILDLY. • Keep track of siblings of ancestors; you may find a breakthrough by way of a brother or sister. • DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT – you don’t want to go back years later to find where you learned the information. Been there, done that.
Paid Websites • Ancestry.com at www.ancestry.com is the most complete and has the greatest variety of sources, both US and worldwide. • Cost is $20 a month for the US collection, $30 a month for the Worldwide collection, but paying by the year costs less than 12 months. • Fold 3 at http://www.fold3.com is useful for military records; cost is $80 a year, but it’s FREE with membership to the Kentucky Historical Society. • There are many others, but the cost/value is not a good deal. Many say “Free” or “Free Trial” but either have less info than other sites or their free trial is so limited as to be nearly useless.
Free Websites • www.familysearch.net is probably the best free site. It is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormons), but may be used by anyone. • www.rootsweb.ancestry.com is also free and has many resources. In terms of actual records, it is not as complete as FamilySearch or Ancestry. However, its family trees and message boards are useful. • www.ancestry.org is a free website affiliated with Ancestry.com that has numerous genealogy lessons and “how to” articles. • www.cyndislist.com is the Internet’s most complete list of websites – every topic imaginable.
Free Websites (2) • www.findagrave.com is a collection of user-submitted “memorials” for cemeteries world-wide. Even with 80+ million memorials, they estimate they only have 1/10 of the stones recorded that exist; however, it IS well worth a try and it’s free. • www.facebook.com – has many genealogy “groups”. Click “Like” to “join” and find others who are searching for your people, or just to ask questions, even “how to” questions, or even start your own family “group.” • CAUTION with Facebook – privacy issues have plagued FB even more than the IPO. Set EVERYTHING to “friends only” wherever you can.
Free Websites (3) • https://www.facebook.com/genealogytip on Facebook, just what it says, tip of the day. • www.facebook.com/KentuckyGenealogy?ref=ts is a Kentucky genealogy group on Facebook. • http://www.americanancestors.org/free-databases/, the non-members accessible portion of the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s website, several free databases, concentrating on New England. • Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter at http://blog.eogn.com contains 3-5 articles daily; there is also a subscription version.
Using Ancestry.com • Go to http://search.ancestry.com/search/default.aspx? • You won’t have access to much without paying. • Type a first (and middle if appropriate) name in “First and Middle Names” • Type a surname in “Last Name.” For married women, use the maiden name; if you don’t find her, use her married name. • Where the drop-down box says “Use default settings”, click on it and change it to “Restrict to EXACT matches” and check “PHONETIC Matches”. The default setting will return hundreds or thousands of wrong leads.
Using Ancestry.com(2) • Checking for phonetic matches will catch various spellings of the name, as long as they SOUND LIKE the name you type in – Harlan and Harland, Buster and Bustard, or Kincade, Kinkaid, Kincaide. • On places, start with “Restrict to this place exactly.” If you don’t get enough results, expand to “County,” “Adjacent Counties”, and keeping working out. • Under “Collection Priority”, if you’re searching the US, use the dropdown box to select “United States” and check the box that says “Show only records from these collections.”
Using Ancestry.com(3) • www.ancestry.org is a free portion of ancestry.com and has numerous helpful “how to” articles. • Their message boards may be useful for asking questions or finding out what others are researching; often YOU may find clues in the questions OTHERS ask. • If you use “Family Tree Maker” for your genealogy program, Ancestry automatically synchronizes Family Tree Maker with your tree on Ancestry.com. • Also, anyone who you invite to edit your tree on Ancestry.com, will have their updates automatically added to your version of FTM.
Using Familysearch.org • Log on to https://familysearch.org/. • NOTE this is “https” not “http”. Using “http” yields a different, but less useful, website. • Some records are searchable, others are images to browse. • Their records are worldwide with strong concentrations in the US, Canada and northern and western Europe. • Clicking “Learn” at the top gets you into free articles and courses to help you. • The articles are also in Deutsch, Español, Français, Italiano, 日本語,한국어,Português, Русский,Svenska and 中文.
Using Rootsweb • Go to http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi • Type in SURNAME • In drop-down box, select “metaphone” – that way you’ll get all names that “sound like” the surname you typed • Type in GIVEN NAME • Enter a birth, death, or marriage year and use “+-5 years” to narrow down unless you KNOW the exact year. • For PLACE, start general (Kentucky), then move to specific if needed (Danville)
Using Rootsweb (2) • Enter “Father,” “Mother,” “Spouse” if known. • Check “Has Descendants,” “Has Notes,” and “Has Sources” for the most complete results. • ONCE AGAIN, these are user-submitted family trees. Use them ONLY as a guide, not as a Gospel. • The Rootsweb discussion boards can yield much information. It is organized geographically, topically and by surname. The Boyle County board had 1045 threads with 2459 messages as of June 18. http://boards.rootsweb.com/?o_iid=33216&o_lid=33216&o_sch=Web+Property
Using Genealogy.Com • Also an Ancestry.com website, but free to use many of their services. • http://genforum.genealogy.com/index.html, their message boards, are FREE and are very useful. • Their family trees have the same issues that Ancestry.com’s trees have – lack of accuracy – so use with great caution.
Using Google and other Search Engines (most of these tips also work in Yahoo) • Typing names in quotations – “George Washington” yields fewer results than George and Washington (49 million vs. 541 million). • Adding a spouse in quotations – “George Washington” “Martha Custis” cuts it down to 69,000. • Adding “+family history” or “+genealogy” may help. The “+” means the word or phrase MUST appear in the result. Typing “George Washington” + “ family history” yielded 1,280,000 results. • Often, the first results are ads. Scroll down to get to the “good stuff.”
Other Websites of Interest • Salt River Genealogy (families of western Boyle Co) at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~kyboyle2/Index.htm • Boyle County Genealogical Association at http://boylekygenealogy.org/ • Kentucky Historical Society at http://history.ky.gov/ • Kentucky Historical Society digital collections at http://www.kyhistory.com/cdm/ includes newspapers and other historic artifacts • Kentuckiana Digital Library at http://kdl.kyvl.org/ has historic newspapers, photographs, Sanborn fire insurance maps
Other Websites of Interest (2) • Similar collections for Louisville, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and Tennessee can be found at http://digital.library.louisville.edu/, http://www.idaillinois.org, http://www.in.gov.memories, http://www.ohiomemory.org, http://www.virginiamemory.com/collections and http://diglib.lib.utk.edu/dlc/tdh. • The Internet Archive at http://archive.org/index.php has books as well as sound and moving images – all restriction-free. • Google Books at http://books.google.com/ has many free, out-of-print family genealogies and local histories online. Search for a name, then on the left click on “Free Google eBooks”