Computers can make every phase of genealogy simpler, faster, and more fun. With a computer and an Internet connection, you can do the kind of research that used to demand weeks of sifting through records, not to mention thousands of dollars in travel costs. Your computer can help you organize your findings, create a
family tree, and then share your family history with your relatives.
Although automated genealogy research can't replace talking with knowledgeable relatives, it can streamline the process of doing library research. Computerized databases make rare family histories or marriage records available 24 hours a day from the comfort of your home. Moreover, searching electronic documents is easy--just a few clicks on the keyboard and you've found your family name.
You can also use your computer to plan tours of libraries, cemeteries, and your family history sites. Automated genealogy research will help you discover which library has the last copy of that rare family history, so you don't waste weeks driving from library to archive, looking through catalogs. You can also locate and communicate with fellow researchers who share your interests.
With an automated computer genealogy program, you can organize all your findings in one place. It's easy to update a computerized family tree as you discover new names, dates, and facts. If you regularly back up the electronic file to the Internet or an offsite storage, you'll never lose your research to flood or fire. Plus, you can share files with other researchers and print family trees for your relatives.
Some free sources of online data and links:
- The USGenWeb Project offers county-by-county information for all fifty states. Though the amount of information varies, this is a fine resource for discovering what other family researchers have found.
- www.ellisislandrecords.org allows you to search online for your immigrant ancestors, a vital resource for anyone whose ancestors came to the US in the great waves of European immigration from 1855 to 1924.
- Cyndi's List of Genealogical Resources on the Internet offers more than 240,000 links.
- And of course, OneGreatFamily.com is a great resource for automated genealogy. Most importantly, OneGreatFamily automatically does most of the searching and sifting of your family tree compared to the family tree of every other member, focusing your attention to truly possible matches. It also allows you to share your results with others and to connect with your distant relatives.
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