is no getting around it, as wonderful as the Internet is, you can’t always
expect to find your completed genealogy there and what you do find may not be
accurate and may not have been documented. Thousands of inexperienced and
careless genealogists are posting their findings on the Internet.
"Don't believe everything you read" could not be truer of
Internet sources. It is best to use the Internet as a tool and what you find
there only as a clue.
verify and prove descendancy, you will need to start with yourself and work
carefully backward in time, obtaining copies of birth, death, marriage, and
other records to show relationships. Even if you have a “high-speed”
Internet connection and a fancy computer, you still need to seek out primary
source documents in courthouse, census, church, military, land, immigration, and
vital records. Visit libraries, archives, and family history centers. Study the
history and geography of the area in which your ancestor lived.
of the best uses for the Internet is to locate people who are researching the
same ancestor as you – long lost cousins. You can correspond with individuals
and societies working on the same family line or in the same geographic areas.
Provide as much information as possible in your emails and be willing to share
your information. Don’t forget to submit queries to genealogical publications
as well as to the Internet.
a list of all major Internet sites that can help you with your genealogy, go to Cyndi’s List. We are highlighting just a few websites that sometimes get overlooked.
is the public interface of OCLC a nonprofit membership organization serving over
41,000 libraries in eighty-two countries and territories around the world.
FirstSearch is available in libraries and, in some cases, from home using
library card PIN numbers. Ask your local library how you can gain access.
FirstSearch is a large database used by public, special, and academic libraries
across the country. The database contains cataloging records for over 40 million
titles including books, periodicals, newspapers, and manuscript collections. You
can search this database by title, author, subject, or several other ways. You
can see which libraries have which items.
you can imagine, knowing what books are on the shelves of most libraries across
the country can be a boon to genealogists. If the library won't loan the
material through Interlibrary Loan, you might want to plan your next vacation to
stop by several libraries holding material that can advance your research. If it
happens to be the hometown of your ancestor, visit the courthouse and a local
genealogical society. Public libraries may have vertical file materials or local
publications that are not found in any other place in the world.
your library doesn’t have FirstSearch or you are not familiar with using this
database go to our Help Me! button
and ask Janna or Daniela to conduct a search for you. We can email the
information directly to you. You can then request the needed materials on
Interlibrary Loan through your local library. If the library will not loan the
material or photocopy the pages you need, you may also write to the reference
desk of the library or archive and ask them to photocopy materials for you. We
can supply you with the addresses of most any library in the United States, some
Canadian, and other foreign libraries.
is an acronym for Periodical Source Index. This index is created by the
genealogy staff of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana which
has the second largest genealogy collection in the United States. PERSI is a
comprehensive subject index to genealogy and local history periodicals written
in English or French (Canada) since 1800. This index contains over a million
searchable records. It is a catalog of over 6,000 different genealogy
periodicals, which include newsletters, journals, magazines, etc. You can search
by surname, place (which includes U.S., Canadian, and foreign publications), or
by record type (church, court, land, military, probate, tax, etc.) However, be
warned that it is not an every name index, rather an index to subjects of
articles. It is important to check
PERSI's index for collateral names and locations because the surnames you are
seeking may be buried inside the text.
Janna says in her PERSI lectures: You will find that many family genealogies
were written decades ago when research was done largely by writing to relatives.
If, since then, some brilliant discovery was made, it would be a rare
genealogist who would rush out to publish a whole new book.
But the same genealogist might write up his findings and publish them in
a genealogy periodical. This is the
power of PERSI: to find scholarly articles that correct errors and extend family
lines. When you locate an article you need for your research, check to see if it
is in one of your local libraries, if not, it can be sent for on Interlibrary
Loan or ordered directly from the Allen County Public Library for a fee.
Janna and Daniela to help you if you have not used the PERSI database before and
would like us to conduct a search for you. Just click on Help
Me! and tell us what you need.
would like to know if there is a book written about my family.
need all the published tax lists for Woodbury County, Iowa (or any other place).
I am looking for a diary written by a teenage girl during the westward
movement, so I can know what it might have been like for my great-grandmother.
To ask these or
similar questions, click on Help Me!, fill
out the form that comes up, and submit your questions.