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GREEN VALLEY GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY

From the Green Valley News, Wednesday 26 December 2007, page B7


Genealogy Today, by Betty Malesky

Internet Genealogy in 2008

The year just ended saw many changes in the field of genealogy, some good and some not so good. Letís look at what the coming year promises for family researchers on the Internet.

Genealogy blogs are capturing more and more space on the Web. For the uninitiated, blog is short for Web log. Text is displayed in chronological order in reverse so the newest entry is at the top of the page. Remember when a diary was kept under lock and key? A blog is similar to a diary or journal but itís open to the eyes of the world. Some writers tell much more about themselves than you want to read, others feel duty bound to post a link to every interesting genealogy web site they find.

One of the better blogs is "Upstate NY Genealogy" at http://www.unyg.com/. This author spares us his personal foibles and concentrates on genealogy news, tools, and how-to tips for researchers in New York and elsewhere. You can probably find a similar blog for nearly any location you research, but if you read them all youíll never have time to do research.

Several governmental jurisdictions have followed Arizonaís lead in putting birth and death records on the web complete with images of the original certificates. Hopefully, more states will see the value of making vital records Web accessible to genealogists to relieve their staff of time spent fulfilling research requests. Others will just raise fees to discourage researchers.

Social networking sites have mushroomed and will likely continue to spread, although their value is questionable. Facebook, for instance, introduced a "genealogy tool" that is nothing more than a gimmick and hopefully wonít snare too many unsuspecting beginning researchers.

Several new sites are similar to TreeX.com, the "Ultimate solution for viewing and building on-line Family Trees," according to advertisements. A one year subscription is $95.88, six months is $59.94. I am very leery of family trees that can be changed or added to by anyone who pays a fee. It reminds me of a room full of monkeys with typewriters, garbage in and garbage out. On the Web, family tree errors are easily copied and repeated without networking help.

Growth of subscription websites is sure to continue. There is no free lunch and worthwhile free genealogy sites are becoming equally scarce. One of the better new sites, GenealogyBank is adding records at an astonishing rate. Its newspaper database has increased to over 104 million articles and now includes the Tucson Daily Citizen (1870-1890). A trial subscription is offered for $19.95 a month and the annual fee is $69.96.

Meanwhile The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is going full steam ahead with the project of digitizing its millions of rolls of microfilm for addition to the FamilySearch.org website. The database that results will be searchable and free to every user, surely the biggest threat on subscription genealogyís horizon.

The old caveat remains true for another year. While the Internet is useful for finding clues, do verify all the information you find. You really canít click and find your entire ancestry in a few hours on the Web as some celebrities claim. If you do, I have a bridge Iíd like to sell you.


GVGS
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