Sunday, September 28, 2008

The reality of online genealogy research: Data is limited

As I continue on my family research project using Reunion for Mac and the Web, a cold reality has set in: There is relatively little data online, especially from important vital records and census returns. This page from the Niagara County, NY GenWeb Project sums up the roadblock I have encountered:
"Few freely available census transcriptions are online for Niagara County."
I have been able to find some family data from the 1880 Federal Census for one branch from my father's side (via the LDS website), but other branches don't have any online records from the same source, meaning they haven't been uploaded, or, for whatever reason, the family members weren't counted.

Another reality about online genealogy research is that many records from individual families or from cemetery transcriptions exist on personal websites. These can be useful but there is always the danger that they will disappear when the hosting company shuts down a page that hasn't been updated in years, or the owner decides to pull the plug. For that reason, I am saving any such pages that look remotely connected to my research, so at least I'll have them on my hard drive for future reference.

1 comment:

  1. Google is already indexing data.

    Go to and search for "Asa French" (my gggg grandfather) and the third hit is to Of course you will need a subscription to to see the data.

    (Most of the hits in the Google news archive are subscription. You can skip them by using an option in the advanced search page.)


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