Covid19 seems to be running our lives these days. I recently went to my state archives for research. I had to make an appointment ahead of time. I could only research 3 hours in the morning, they closed for lunch to sanitize, then 3 hours in the afternoon. I am grateful for the times that I had, but stopping and starting my process of thinking is a challenge in itself. Of course I had to wear my mask the entire time I was in the building. The staff were very helpful. I was the only researcher in the place. According to guidelines there could be four researchers at a time. I am assuming that most people think that it is not worth the time to venture out to their archives. I am here to say it is always worth your time. Don't let Covid keep you from doing your onsite research. You may have to make an appointment or call ahead, but it is well worth it. Don't forget that they are still there for us, even if it is on different terms. Here is to seeing you at the archives!!
I have been thinking a lot about how it is when you first get started doing genealogy. It is so different now than many years ago. I have spent many long hours in a local library/repository scrolling through microfilm, thinking at times that I was going blind. The machines made terrible copies and it took hours just to find a few things, if you found anything at all. I spent several hours looking through books and indexes hoping to find a few crumbs of information.
Now documents are at your disposal on sites like Ancestry, FamilySearch, Fold3, etc. We have gotten so used to using the computer to quickly find documents that we have forgotten that there is still a treasure trove of documents not on the internet. Sometimes the fun in family research is not, I found it on the computer in 20 minutes, but in finding the undiscovered document hidden in the basement at the local courthouse that has not been digitized and placed on a website. Yes, I use the websites above and many more, but nothing replaces the hands on experience. You cannot create a true family history without these local documents that cannot be found on the internet. So don't be afraid to take a road trip. If you can't take a road trip, consider having a genealogist in the area do the leg work for you. They are always willing to help.
Today I went to the Morgan County Archives to here Peggy Thomas and Dr. Wylheme Ragland. They were both wonderful speakers and gave us a lot of information about Old Town in Decatur and some very prominent African American Families from Morgan County. Dr. Ragland spoke of World War I soldiers and about a family from my home town as well. Ms. Thomas gave a wonderful presentation with lots of photographs. I wish you all could have been there to see and here. If you ever feel like spending a Sunday Afternoon with the Morgan County Genealogical Society, we have meeting the first weekend of every month at the Morgan County Archives. Visitors are more than welcome. We always have some kind of interesting talk going on. You might even want to become a membert. I look forward to seeing you.
I have spent today at a conference that was all about DNA. There is so much information out there that it is hard to discern what test you should take and what company is the best. After my conference today, I have come to the conclusion that one company is not really any better than the other. It is a matter of preference. Some companies have more a larger database than others but the tests are basically the same. Some use a spit test and some a swab, again, a personal preference. What you do with the DNA results is more of a challenge for some genealogists than the tests itself.