Do Research At An Archive…I Dare You!

Archive img.3  Researching at any archival institutions is where a genealogist earns his/her wings. Modern genealogy has become so easy and efficient for this current generation of genealogy researchers that for some they don’t know what it is to have to leave their home and actually have to research. Unless you have spent hours upon hours in a dimly lit, cramped, musty smelling basement going through docket books that are tattered, torn, and fading HOPING to find any clue that will help you break down a brick wall, then you can not call yourself a genealogy researcher. Todays genealogy researcher has developed what I call Attention deficit Genealogy! In other words if they can’t find something sitting at home on their computer they will just push it aside and input another name in the search box and see what comes up. I’m not saying that todays researcher doesn’t have skills to research, they just don’t have the patience to spend the hours upon hours in a State Library going through an index file, or at a state or county archive placing their order for a microfilm roll or a box of old civil war letters and having to wait an hour just for it to be delivered at their desk. Not to mention the hours it may take to go through these and not find any clue at all. It takes years of patient step by step research at these archival institutions to appreciate how good we have it today with all the wealth of information online 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I personally do not get the satisfaction of getting a record online in mere minutes that I have had when I researched in a an archive for days or weeks to find that one document I was looking for. The satisfaction of knowing how hard you have researched and slowly pieced together a line and to finally get that document that is the holy grail you have been looking is so much more appreciated when you do the research hours at an archive. When I talk to new researchers I like to tell them to take at least 25 percent of your research to the archival institutions so you can enhance not only your research skills, but learn what all these institutions hold. After all these are the places that the genealogy websites go to get their records! I propose that if you are a regular researcher (at least 2 days a week) then spend 1 day a month manually researching at an archive. Who knows you just may enjoy it!

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Have fun!

 

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