Personal genealogical sites

The majority of sites that you encounter on the Internet are personal genealogical sites. Individuals and families who have specific research interests establish these pages and they usually contain information on the site maintainer's ancestry or on particular branches of several different families rather than on a surname as a whole. That doesn't mean valuable information isn't present on these sites — it's just that they have a more personal focus.

You can find a wide variety of information on personal genealogical sites. Some pages list only a few surnames that the maintainer is researching; others contain extensive online genealogical databases and narratives. A site's content depends on the amount of research, time, and computer skills the maintainer possesses. Some common items that you see on most sites include a list of surnames, an online genealogical database, Pedigree and Descendant charts (for information on these charts, see Chapter 3), family photographs, and the obligatory list of the maintainer's favorite genealogical Internet links.

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Personal genealogical sites vary not only in content, but also in presentation. Some sites are neatly constructed and use plain backgrounds and aesthetically pleasing colors. Other sites, however, require you to bring out your sunglasses to tone down the fluorescent colors, or they use lots of moving graphics and banner advertisements that take up valuable space and make it difficult to navigate through the site. You should also be aware that the JavaScript, music players, and animated icons that some personal sites use can significantly increase your download times.

An example of a personal genealogical site is the Baker Genealogy — Western North Carolina site by Marty Grant (www.martygrant.com/gen/baker.htm). This is just one part of Grant's Web site; the other parts deal with other families he is researching. The site includes census transcriptions, a narrative of Grant's findings on his Baker lines, a list of researchers interested in the same Baker families, and other sections that have personal information about Grant. The site is neat and clean, and it is very easy to navigate. (See Figure 4-1.) Another example is Janet and Richards Genealogy Homepage (freepages.genealogy. rootsweb.com/~shebra/). In addition to the family charts, census transcriptions, and maps that we expect to find on personal genealogical sites, this site contains lots of interesting resources. It has digitized booklets, transcribed vital records for certain areas in which the site maintainers are researching, old postcards showing what towns looked like historically, and transcriptions of old city directories.

After you find a site that contains useful information, write down the maintainer's name and e-mail address and contact him or her as soon as possible if you have any questions or want to exchange information. Personal genealogical sites have a way of disappearing without a trace as individuals frequently switch Internet service providers or stop maintaining sites.

Figure 4-1:

The Baker genealogy: Western North Carolina Site is an example of a personal genealogical site.

Figure 4-1:

The Baker genealogy: Western North Carolina Site is an example of a personal genealogical site.

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