Miriam Robbins Midkiff: Online Genealogy
Miriam Robbins Midkiff writes a blog about her genealogy research, called AnceStories. Her blog has won several awards and it’s full of tips, links and advice. She also is an Online Genealogy Teacher through the community colleges in Washington and is available for genealogy speaking engagements.
I asked Miriam these questions:
This is what Miriam had to say when I asked her these questions:
What do you think the future can bring with regards to online genealogy research?
Anyone who has done genealogical research in the past ten years has seen many changes to the sources that are available, especially online ones. Universities, libraries, and state archives have been digitizing documents and microfilms used in genealogy at an incredible rate! I believe that this will only increase in the future. As the cost of digital scanners decreases, we’ll see more and more small libraries and institutions being able to digitize and put their collections online as well. These will include items like those found in vertical files, newspaper clippings, and obituaries.
What online tools do you use to research your genealogy and why?
My main tool for researching online resources is Google. It’s simple and easy to use, especially once you learn the different search tips and operators. It’s important to remember, though, that Google and other search engines cannot search what is known as the “deep web,” those sources, images, and texts found in many online databases. However, you can use your favorite search engine to find the databases themselves. For instance, using Google I may not be able to locate letters written by an ancestor that are now located in a state archive online collection, but I can find the archive using the search engine.
What is your general opinion of the advantages and/or disadvantages of using some of these online research tools?
It’s also important to remember as we do more and more online research that not everything is available on the Internet, nor will everything someday be there. Private holdings, including items like your own personal family history collection likely will not be digitized for others to view. It’s important to remember to use courthouses, libraries, archives, and other offline repositories to find the information you need. We live in exciting, amazing technological times; with resources our predecessors could only dream about!
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