Monday, February 9, 2009

Search Engines

Before you dive into the world of Internet surfing. You need to understand that everything that is on the Internet, isn't necessarily true or accurate. There are different types of records-PRIMARY and SECONDARY. Primary records are like birth certificates that were issued at or near the event and have an eye witness. Secondary records happen at a later a death certificate, obituary notice or funeral program that lists the birth date. It could be inaccurate. In fact, my husband's mother's funeral program has her wrong birth date. So it would be a secondary record for her birth and death. Her death certificate would be primary record for her death-it was issued near the time of death and is usually signed by an attending doctor. I've even seen some chiseled marble headstones with wrong information-very secondary. So be careful.

Any information you find can be a clue, but don't accept it as fact or true until you have checked it out or verified it with a primary record-if you can find one. Your aunt Matilda's memory may not be as reliable now that she is 89 years old and suffering from Alzheimers. She may have lots of home sources that can be helpful. You might put a ? by questionable info or list it as abt. 1873, if you're not sure. It's so easy to make errors sometimes just in typing in dates to the computer. So be careful and accurate. Making a TIMELINE of your ancestor's life can be helpful to know where they moved from year to year. It an aid to know where to search, and tells you more about their life and historical times. You can make your own form and fill it in.

Ready to try a GOOGLE SEARCH? There's are many search engines available. All you need is a few facts like your grand parents' or other older deceased relatives' names, birthdates and places, then you can do an Internet search. EXAMPLE: typing in "John Lemmon" 1780 NC will bring up any webpages with that exact name with the date and locality you've added. If I hadn't put in the "first name and last name" in quotes, the Internet would find all Johns and all Lemmons which would give me millions of people to sort through. Another way to type in an Internet Search would be "John Lemmon" (Abbott) 1780 NC. That gives another bit of info-(his wife's maiden name) or vice versa her info and his name in parenthesis. Play around with it and see what you find. Perhaps you'll uncover an INTERNET COUSIN or two that you didn't know. Write down and print out anything you find and add to your surname folder and Research Log. Have fun surfing the Internet.


  1. One of the difficulties of this kind of research is that there are often lots of contradictions. That's why my files are huge and I have so many records with question marks.

    I did find a cousin that I had never heard of before. And he also does a lot of genealogy research.

  2. Good points! I do a lot of music research on the WWW and when writing about it, have to be vigilant about making sure there are the appropriate disclaimers where needed!

  3. I had fun searching there are many of me, but only one me...LOL...

  4. I have to tell my sister-in-law about your site..... she's the historian in my husband's family. I think she'd really enjoy your postings......

  5. Always interesting. Trying to find Carl Carlson via the Internet should be fun. Thanks for the insight.