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The Family

The Internet: Random Reflections of an Old-Timer

Contributed by Stuart A. Raymond

When I wrote my first genealogical book (English Genealogy. A Bibliography) twenty years ago, the internet had not been invented, although I had been able to access a US library catalogue from a computer in Australia. The family historian's research at that time depended almost entirely upon archives and books. Now, researchers can press a few buttons and almost instantly obtain digitised copies of census returns, civil register indexes, wills, and a whole host of other sources. Commercial internet data-providers are flourishing. The problem facing researchers is no longer gaining access to relevant information, and searching unindexed sources. Rather, it is knowing which sources to use, and which indexes to consult. A huge amount of information is available. The question now is, where to start? And how to judge the quality of the information? My purpose in writing Netting Your Ancestors: Tracing Family History on the Internet (Family History Partnership, 2007) was to help family historians find a route through the maze.  

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