Last week I posted a geneameme called “Beyond the Internet”. I thought it would be interesting to see whether off-line resources are still being used by family historians and whether we still see value in them.
I was delighted to see people engaging with this geneameme…it was so interesting seeing people’s discoveries in the records. Some people plainly loved highlighting the records they’ve used in their research often to great effect. Others commented on it as an aide memoir for current or future research.
The jury is still out on whether old-fashioned documents still have a place in research: the sample here isn’t really large enough to know. But those who’ve used the records are in no doubt of their usefulness. An inbuilt bias to the questions perhaps? What records would you add?
Thanks very much to all those who participated. If I’ve omitted anyone please do let me know: I’ve had a google alert on this but I must be doing something wrong as they’re not all coming through.
Following on my posts about the changes in family history over the past 25 years I thought it would be good to look at family history resources beyond the internet and how we use them today. I’ve built up a list of 60 resources or activities that take our research beyond the digitised records (much as I do love them!). It will be interesting to see which resources people are using most, and perhaps tip off new researchers on just how much is hiding in archives. To draw up my list I’ve used my own experience and referred to Judy Webster’s Tips for Queensland research and the PROV’s book Private Lives, Public Records. New researchers might also be interested in theUnlock the Past bookIt’s not all onlineby Shauna Hicks.[i]
Overseas researchers may want to add to the list or replace items with ones relevant to their own research. Remember this is all about locating information from sources not on the internet (with a couple of small exceptions). Please add your responses to the comments and I’ll put up a consolidated list in due course.
Things you have already done or found: bold face type Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type
You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item
Looked at microfiche for BDM indexes which go beyond the online search dates.
Talked to elderly relatives about your family history.
Obtained old family photos from relatives.
Have at least one certificate (birth/death/marr) for each great-grandparent.
Have at least one certificate (birth/death/marr) for each great-great-grandparent.
Seen/held a baptism or marriage document in a church, church archive or microfilm.
Seen your ancestor’s name in some other form of church record eg kirk session, communion rolls.
Used any microfilm from an LDS family history centre for your research.
Researched using a microfilm other than a parish register (LDS family history centre/other).
Used cemetery burial records to learn more about your relative’s burial.
Used funeral director’s registers to learn more about your relative’s burial.
Visited all your great-grandparents’ grave sites.
Visited all your great-great-grandparents’ grave sites.
Recorded the details on your ancestors’ gravestones and photographed them.
Obtained a great-grandparent’s will/probate documents.
Obtained a great-great grandparent’s will/probate documents.
Found a death certificate among will documents.
Followed up in the official records, something found on the internet.
Obtained a copy of your immigrant ancestors’ original shipping records.
Found an immigration nomination record for your immigrant ancestor[iii].
Found old images of your ancestor’s place of origin (online or other).
Read all/part of a local history for your ancestor’s place of residence.
Read all/part of a local history for your ancestor’s place of origin.
Read your ancestor’s school admission records.
Researched the school history for your grandparents.
Read a court case involving an ancestor (online newspapers don’t count for this).
Read about an ancestor’s divorce case in the archives.
Have seen an ancestor’s war medals.
Have an ancestor’s military record (not a digitised copy eg WWII).
Read a war diary or equivalent for an ancestor’s battle.
Seen an ancestor’s/relative’s war grave.
Read all/part of the history of an ancestor’s military unit (battalion/ship etc).
Seen your ancestor’s name on an original land map.
Found land selection documents for your immigrant ancestor/s.
Found other land documents for your ancestor (home/abroad)
Located land maps or equivalent for your ancestor’s place of origin.
Used contemporaneous gazetteers or directories to learn about your ancestors’ places.
Found your ancestor’s name in a Post Office directory of the time.
Used local government sewerage maps (yes, seriously!) for an ancestor’s street.
Read an inquest report for an ancestor/relative (online/archives).
Read an ancestor’s/relative’s hospital admission.
Researched a company file if your family owned a business.
Looked up any of your ancestor’s local government rate books or valuation records.
Researched occupation records for your ancestor/s (railway, police, teacher etc).
Researched an ancestor’s adoption.
Researched an ancestor’s insolvency.
Found a convict ancestor’s passport or certificate of freedom.
Found a convict ancestor’s shipping record.
Found an ancestor’s gaol admission register.
Found a licencing record for an ancestor (brands, publican, etc).
Found an ancestor’s mining lease/licence.
Found an ancestor’s name on a petition to government.
Read your ancestor’s citizenship document.
Read about your ancestor in an undigitised regional newspaper.
Visited a local history library/museum relevant to your family.
Looked up your ancestor’s name in the Old Age Pension records.
Researched your ancestor or relative in Benevolent Asylum/Workhouse records.
Researched an ancestor’s/relative’s mental health records.
Looked for your family in a genealogical publication of any sort (but not online remember).
Contributed family information to a genealogical publication.
[i] I do not receive any remuneration from any of these people or organisations. I’ve just found them to be helpful in my own research.