[This post is part 3 of my Getting Started series. Part 1 is here. And Part 2 is here.]
By now you're probably thinking, "I have my genealogy and/or family history goal posted in every place that I could think of and then some. I even have post-it notes on my...never mind where I have them. I have a clear idea of why I want to search. Also, I even went on the internet to get a head start and entered the name of a relative and/or ancestor in the Google search box..."
Gotcha! How did I know you did this? Well, because I've done it. Everyone does it at one time or another. How could you not? That search box is just sitting there on your screen empty and all alone with the cursor blinking and blinking at you just daring you to enter something. You've heard that quite a lot of information is available online, so why not try? After all, it always works when looking for the nearest Pizza Hut location that delivers. Right? Well, great! I'm glad you did it. Now that you've done it, are you glad you did it? Did you find anything helpful? Odds are probably not.
Entering in a name of an ancestor into the Google search box and getting information on your particular ancestor would be like driving around looking for the house of the parents of someone you knew in college without an address or any directions whatsoever except for knowing the city, and actually finding them. Probably not going to happen. I say probably because I, indeed, know someone who did actually do this and found the correct house, but it wasn't and isn't very efficient, especially for finding your ancestors. Plus, if you aren't successful in this kind of search, then you're probably more likely to give up because you don't know any other way.
Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Well, you're looking for ancestors, not pizzas or houses of college friends. Ancestors who had the same names as others, who moved a lot, married multiple times, were bank robbers, etc., and unless they were Bonnie or Clyde*, a regular Google search isn't the best way to look for them. However, don't take my word for it. If you haven't tried to look for your ancestors this way, go do it right now. Yes, you heard me correctly. Go Google your ancestors. [If they've found my site and have read this far into my post, I'm sure genealogy traditionalists' eyes are rolling in their heads right about now. But that's O.K. Maybe it'll give them a new perspective.] Anywho. When you Google your ancestors, you never know. Your ancestry might "pop-up" for you all nice and tidy with sources [snort], and I promise I won't be jealous. [Yeah right.]
Now, I'm only talking about a standard Google search. Google can be successfully used for genealogical and/or family history research, but I'll go over that later. Now, go Google and; let me know how it works for you. Go ahead. Get it out of your system.
Hey, and don't forget to let me know how it worked for you [or didn't] in the comments below.
*Oh, actually Bonnie and Clyde did not have children. Therefore, you couldn't possibly be direct descendants of them, but they did have siblings who had children. So, it's possible that you could be related to them. I Googled it for ya'. [Bonnie and Clyde Genealogy Records from CensusDiggins.com ]
Next: Part 4 is here.