Research during my first 10 years of genealogy research sure has been different than the past 10. I tend to think of my research in the 1990s as the first 10, and in the 2000s as the last 10. Which was more fun or more rewarding or easier? Pretty hard to say. Advantages apply to both time frames, as the entire 20 years have been fun.
To me, nothing beats getting mail from a town hall with my super inexpensive copies of B-M-D records, town clerks taking the time to help on the phone, and finally finding somebody else who shares your passion (there weren't that many around or at least we couldn't find them, many didn't have computers we could connect with). Cemetery employees were more than happy to help you. It was even fun preparing group sheets and I sure used a lot of white-out. I even saved a few group sheets, before entering all the data into FamilyTreeMaker. Several, friends took photos of cemetery stones, had the film developed, and snail mailed the photos to me. Gas used to get to a cemetery and Xerox copies of books were so inexpensive. Looking back, even trying to find a seat in one of the major libraries (DAR and NEHGS) was exciting, and when you did, you felt like you were on the king’s throne. The NARA in Waltham, MA (outside of Boston) was always packed. that on a Saturday; there was a time limit for using the microfilm readers. There were so many people doing research at these people, but not a whole lot of talking, quiet in the libraries and quiet at the NARA. Oh yes, even Ancestry.com was free. What were the drawbacks, at the time, I didn’t think there were any, as there was no idea of what the future would bring.
Update on the NARA, they took out ¾ of the microfilm readers, and most of their census rolls. When I went rather recently, there were four people there, all using computers and doing their research on Ancestry! Such changes.
The last 10 has been filled with many changes in ways to do data entering into a genealogy software program, finding material online and connecting with others…you all know about that. Every service that we use is getting so expensive, copies of this and that from town halls; subscriptions to software or databases go up every year, as well as memberships into societies, and conferences. This past year, I've had to cut back, dropped one society membership and then Ancestry for the time being. What I like is the researching from home, and connecting with people. I hope that doesn’t change. I am so glad for the bloggers and social networks, because I don’t feel so isolated in my little world any more. Nothing is more fun than reading a genealogy magazine, periodicals or blog.
You can still combine the best from both the first 10 and last 10 methods, but it might take a little more work. Taking the time to write a formal letter to a city hall or cemetery with the all important self-addressed stamped envelope takes a little time and effort, but oh the rewards could be great. Want to try it?
My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.
For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.
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