When you type a name into Ancestry or Ancestry Plus it searches all databases for any reference to the subject. But if your search area is small, it may be faster to search just one database. It’s also instructive to see what databases exist. Go to the Ancestry home page a click on “more” under one of the headings to see all of the databases offered. You can select one and search just it for a faster search. Try searching just by surname to locate everyone of that name– you might find relatives that you might otherwise miss. You get to Ancestry Plus through the library going to “Online databases” then to “Gale” and then to “Gale” again or go directly to http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/lakecnty and enter the password provided at the meeting. Scroll down until you get to Ancestry Plus but note all of the other databases that you have access to.
The Bureau of Land Management keeps a database of all old land grants and sales. If your ancestor received land directly from the Government, you will find him here. Go to www.glorecords.blm.gov and click on “Search land Patents”. Select from “Basic” or “Standard” searches. Standard has an option to search all states at once. Start with just a surname and if there are too many records, limit it by adding a first name or first initial.
Shopping on the Web
To find what you want, use a “shopping bot” to locate the item and find the best price. Try www.mysimon.com, www.pricegrabber.com, www.nextag.com, or www.shopping.com. You can use www.cnet.com for computer related items. For bargains, try www.dealcatcher.com, www.dealhunting.com, www.getmeadeal.com or www.overstock.com.
Make sure you know what you are getting; is it new, refurbished or used? Make sure you know who you’re dealing with; check the Better Business Bureau at www.BBB.org. Look for a BBB, verisign, or truste logo and click on it to insure that it’s real. It should take you to the organization’s discussion of the business in question.
Read others’ opinions; go to epinions.com or cnet.com or use a search engine to check out newsgroups.
Buy using a credit card on a secure line. (Look for HTTPS in the address or the lock in the status bar.) Do not use a debit card–they are not protected by Federal Law. Consider getting a credit card to use only on the Internet.
Check out the return policy and warranty. Can you take it back to a retail store? Also, check on coupon codes for the store you’re interested in–they just might have a coupon for what you want.
Publishing Your Genealogy
There are several things to consider in planning to publish your Family History.
1. Will it be about your ancestors or an ancestor’s descendants?
2. Will it be a professionally published book or a self published pamphlet or online?
3. Will you use the output of a computer program directly or edit it or type it from scratch?
4. What format will you use? The Register, modified Register or other?
Next month we’ll look at these options in more detail and hopefully hear some first hand experiences from those who’ve been there and done that.