The internet has now become a vital tool when it comes to tracing your family history, there is an abundance of information that can be viewed anytime you want day or night, and you can even perform an LDS family search from the comfort of your home. It also eliminates the need for endless hours of travelling all around the country just to seek out a particular piece of information that you need. While it is extremely convenient this abundance of information is not without its drawbacks. With more and more people making a mad dash to record their family trees online it is very easy for more inaccuracies to be recorded. This is the reason why I have decided to put this article together, to give you some tips when it comes to performing family history research online.
While the internet is an amazing resource when it comes to an LDS family search, it simply cannot compare to the information that can be gained from talking to your own family members. Your living relatives will have memories of your ancestors, after all they will have known some of them and they will be able to share with you their personal stories with information that you simply would not be able to find while sitting at your computer. Take the time to sit down with members of your family and ask them about the family members that you are researching. It’s very important to remember that while you are talking to your family members about your family history that the information you are looking for is of a personal nature and it may be quite an emotional experience for them. By all means you should ask the questions that you need to but you should always be respectful of the person’s feelings.
Another great tip when it comes to using the internet for your family history research is that you never under any circumstance want to publish information online that pertains to your living relatives. If you are using one of the free genealogy programs or websites for your LDS family search then they should come with privacy settings enabling you to set all information about relatives that are not deceased to private.
Next on the list of helpful hints is that you should always seek out documented evidence, it’s easy to find information from an online search but just because it has been recorded on the internet this does not mean that you should take it at its face value. Where possible you always want to back up your findings with documented evidence. The vast majority of online databases will almost always include a source link or at the very least will also provide you with the information’s originating source. When recording your findings be sure to record both the internet source as well as the originating source. This will help you in providing a trail so you can confirm the accuracy of your records and you will easily be able to view the original source file whenever you want.
During your LDS family search you should never rely too heavily on one particular online source of information. Just because you have performed a search in one particular location and it has come back with no information this does not mean the information has not been recorded elsewhere. Certain online databases are better than others, you should always cross check any information you find on as many different databases as you can as this can help improve the accuracy of your findings.
During your research you may find that there is already a copy of your family tree online, it is totally up to you if you are going to trust that whoever recorded this information has done as much research as you have done. This type of online family tree can sometimes give you pieces of information that you were missing, however you will need to consider whether or not the information is accurate. You will be faced with the choice of viewing this already published family tree or continuing your own research to find the information for yourself. While it may seem like more hard work there is a certain amount of satisfaction to be had when you have done all the research yourself and you know that it is accurate because you have done your homework.
You should also take the time to visit your local family history center, if you are fortunate to have one nearby. Here you will be able to access hundreds of thousands of original documents that can help you in your original LDS family search. You will find that looking through original old record books is much more rewarding than staring at a list of data on a computer monitor.
So there you go just a few handy hints to help you when it comes to performing family history research online.