03 July 2009

Doing Without Ancestry

Warning--there is opinion in this posting.

My subscription to Ancestry.com lapsed a few months ago and I decided to just let it go until I really needed it either for my research or for an article. So far, I've found that I have enough information I have not organized as it is...so I've not re-upped my subscription.

I have hundreds of digital images from trips to Salt Lake and Ft. Wayne" that I really haven't analyzed enough or put in my database the way that I should. I even downloaded quite a few census images from Ancestry.com that I haven't done data entry on either. They are just siting there in folders, waiting. And writing "Casefile Clues" keeps me busy too. I'd rather write up and analyze the records I have instead of letting them sit "unanalyzed" and gather more to just have a bigger set of files and records that I have "collected." Each time I work up a column I realize that I have so many leads left dangling.

Someday I'll re-up my Ancestry.com subscription. But for now, I'm satisfied to synthesize what I have. And I've been getting copies of original courthouse and other records that have not been digitized. And to be honest, for the foreseeable future offline records are really where family historians should be spending at least 3/4 of their time, maybe more.

I'm not opposed to online records at all, but for the time being, www.archive.org, www.familysearch.org, and http://books.google.com and other sites are keeping me busy enough.