Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cost of Doing Research

From: (Name withheld)
DearMYRTLE,
It's absolutely wonderful that there are so many outlets and links out there in cyberspace to help out finding family connections and I do sympathize with the "owners" of these links, but no where in this cycle of searching does it mention that you have to be rich to actually FIND anyone.

I have been searching for family members for about 6 combinations of families as I have a "step" situation in my life. Let me tell you it ain't easy when you have a very limited income and can't reach any of the information because of the monthly fees most groups charge to just get to point A. Ancestry .com used to be a very helpful link for me until the cost came into the picture and now I've lost all chances to follow up on some of the items they led me believe I could reach.

So now my searching has gone down to the luck of finding some member of the family that IS actually connected and has plenty of info and is willing to share. I've been stumped for the last 5 years thinking my grandfather's life began with him as there are no open lines for me to get the info from without dishing out money I don't have just in case there's an answer somewhere.

Life really does belong to those who have the means to pay for information.

Yes, I'll keep on plodding along but I doubt I'll ever get all the answers I've been searching for. -- Thanks for letting me vent.

DearREADERS,
About once a week Ol' Myrt here receives such an email, and every time my response is the same:

WHERE THERE'S A WILL, THERE'S A WAY. (Or a census record, a printed family history book or a...). But, let us not forget that:

-- Much of Ancestry.com is available for free through local LDS Family History Centers equipped with high-speed internet.

-- Many local public libraries provide access to HeritageQuestOnline.

-- The FHL Family History Library's surname books are being scanned and presented online at no cost to viewers.

-- RootsWeb.com, USGenWeb.com and WorldGenWeb.org provide free genealogical information, including transcriptions, maps and links to other valuable resource on the internet.

-- Thanks to the Gates Foundation, most US libraries provide free high-speed internet access.

-- One may order books, microfilm and fiche through the local public library at little or no cost through the ILL Interlibrary Loan program.

NOTE: The advisability of using ILL (inter-library loan) was a topic of discussion at our local DUV (Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War) yesterday. For one researcher, the public library is her main research tool.

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ONE DOESN'T NEED TO HAVE A HOME COMPUTER to do genealogical research in the 21st century, since it is possible to:

-- establish a free email account at sites such as Gmail.com or Yahoo.com

-- maintain your genealogy database in a public or private area at Ancestry.com or on a computer at your local LDS Family History Center.

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So, dear, DearREADER, keep hanging in there. I know that with today's economy, some people on fixed incomes must choose between purchasing their Rx medications or putting food on the table.

Maybe YOU could focus your efforts over the next year compiling a huge list of free genealogical resources on and off the internet. Then you could publish a book and THAT income would feed your genealogy research "habit."

Imagine the possibilities!

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE, your friend in genealogy.
Snail Mail Address:
227 Bellevue Way NE PMB 544
Bellevue, WA 98004
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
http://www.DearMYRTLE.com

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