Monday, August 31, 2009

The Pace of Genealogy Research

Randy Seaver posed the question: What effects have you noticed from the increased "pace of genealogy research" in your own research? in Genea-Musings: The Pace of Genealogy Research - Post 3.

I've been on-again, off-again with my genealogy. It has been interesting to see the massive increases in resources available online each time I've come "on-again". While I wouldn't want to relinquish the resources that are now available, I sometimes think they diminish the magic of a new discovery.

Once upon a time, to find a birth, death or marriage entry in Victoria, Australia I would:
  • find a spare morning or afternoon to go to the library
  • hunt through countless microfiche for a birth, death or marriage index entry
  • send a form (and my money) away requesting a copy
  • wait by the mailbox for weeks until the certificate arrived
  • pore over every detail, feeling excited about each and every new piece of information whether it was a birth date, father's occupation or even a previously unknown middle name, and enjoy entering the information into whatever method of record keeping I was using at the time.
Nowadays:
  • I may go to the library and search the indexes on CD, or if short on time, I will sit at my computer and look at the Victorian registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Historical Indexes.
  • Having found the entry I want, I will then order the certificate online, feeling frustrated at the short delay while my credit card is processed before I can download it! You can certainly spend a lot of money very quickly that way!
As a result, I think I probably take less time but spend more money on genealogy now. I feel like a much greater proportion of my genealogy time is spent processing information or making sure my source citations are correct, rather than on the fun part where I get to feel like a detective, solving a puzzle that's just for me.

Then again, I've also made leaps and bounds in my research that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. While it's very nice to visit your ancestor's birthplaces, I'm sure, it's not really viable for me to take a research trip to another State right now, let alone to the other side of the world! I'd love to do it someday, though.

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