Taking a step back in time to find ancestors

Gary Burton has written an article for The Ashland City Times (TN) about his first trip into the world of online genealogy.

It’s interesting, because he brings up something that always seems to surprise people:

Although I’ve been monkeying around with the Internet even before it was officially created in 1994, it wasn’t until this month that I actually put it to use tracking down my family history with a few genealogy searches.

My search began with a yellowed Xerox copy of a history began by a distant uncle of mine in 1924. He had traced the family heritage through my mother’s grandfather back into the 1600s.

Amazingly, he got a lot of it right even without the aid of the World Wide Web.

A lot of people who have gotten into genealogy within the past few years, would be surprised at just how accurate genealogists in the past could be. The truth is, they had to be. They didn’t have “fuzzy” searches (or “ranked” if you prefer) – they had to follow definite paper trails. It wasn’t a matter of doing a search on a name and going through and narrowing it down to the right person(s), but a matter of connecting Person A to Person B, and following Person A back through time using definitive documents – in other words, it was lots of footwork for the typical genealogist.

There is something to be said for the “old” ways (or offline some would call them).

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