Researching your family history online is like being a child in a candy store. There are so many neat things that catch your eye that it's difficult to decide which one to try. That's where this book comes in. We try to help you become a discriminating candy eater — well, a discriminating researcher, anyway — by showing you not only the locations of useful genealogy sites but also how to effectively use them to meet your research goals.
Having said that, you're probably asking yourself how this book differs from the many other genealogy books on the shelf. Some books tell you only the traditional methods of genealogical research — which have you traveling hundreds of miles to visit courthouses and archives in other states. Unfortunately, these books neglect the many opportunities that online research provides. Other books that do cover online genealogy tend to group resources by how users access them (all FTP sites are listed together, all World Wide Web sites are listed together, and so on), rather than telling you how you can integrate the many Internet resources to achieve your genealogical goal. As genealogists, we understand that researchers don't conduct searches by trying all the FTP sites, and then all the World Wide Web sites, and so on. We search by looking for surnames or places anywhere we can find them — through World Wide Web sites, e-mail, or whatever.
Some books become too computer-heavy — overkilling the ins and outs of each kind of Internet resource, and neglecting to help you with basic research techniques online and offline that you need to successfully meet your goal. We don't want you to have a bad experience online. So rather than focus on just one thing — genealogy or online resources — we try to balance the act. In this book, we show you how to integrate genealogical research with the use of online resources so you can learn to effectively and efficiently use your computer and the Internet in your family research.
Now that we've explained a bit about the book, are you ready to get started and to become an official genealogist? You might be asking yourself, "What are the requirements for becoming an official genealogist?" It's simple — just say out loud, "I declare myself an official genealogist." There you go. Of course, if you prefer, you're welcome to drag your family or pets into the room to witness this historic event. Whether you make your proclamation in a private ceremony for one or you have witnesses, it's official — you're a genealogist, and it's time to start pulling together the puzzle pieces of your family history.
Seriously, being a genealogist has no formal requirements. You simply need an interest in your ancestry and a willingness to devote the rest of your life to pursuing information and documents.
Was this article helpful?