Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kind Words & A Swift Kick

Today, while catching up on my backlog of genealogy blog postings, I happened across this Follow Friday posting about, of all things, me. I am humbled to read the words Dean Richardson wrote about me and my blog, and am honored that he took the time to do so. Thank you Dean!

He is absolutely correct in identifying where I am and what resources I am looking to use in the future. For some reason, I am really nervous about expanding my research beyond my two monitors and hard drive.  I know I need to make this move in order to tighten down my sources (a girl can only use so many census records) and access the valuable information that can be found in vital records, but I'm still nervous.

To be completely honest, I am not even sure how to order any of these records.  I now live in the DC area and have search the various records around here.  I even found a book on my Lindley line at the Library of Congress and still have yet to go.  I need to get over these fears and just do it.  So, I am making it my goal to visit the LOC by the end of the month.

I would appreciate it if you left a comment sharing any words of wisdom or advice on ordering records and visiting archives. 


  1. I tried to comment earlier on your post, which did not seem to save.

    I also use mostly internet resources for my research. I have on occasion ordered a vital record or naturalization papers from NARA. I have even ventured out to our local FHC.

    I have not gone out to any courthouse seeking to find more. I honestly would not know where to begin in doing this. I think that we need to have someone write a blog post on this, starting with what they are looking to accomplish at the repository they choose to visit.

    I hope to one day in the near future to step into the unknown.

    Good luck with your venture into the Library of Congress! I would love to spend a day there.

  2. Sara, I wish you all the luck on your first trip, I know exactly how you feel. I too am in that same comfort zone and afraid to step out of it. Even though I have been doing my family history for two years now, I consider myself a beginner for sure!

    Up until recently, I had little time to spend on researching. At times I am not quite sure what direction to go in. Thank you for this great post, it helps to know I am not alone.

    I enjoy reading your blog and your great tweets! I love Sylvia's Diary! What a treasure you have!

  3. Just go! You have to do this eventually, so just jump in head first.

    You're already ahead of my first Family History Library visit. I had no idea what I was doing. On the other hand, you have found a book! Go and see what it says.

    As for ordering records, most of the information is online about what each archive has, how to order, how much it will cost, and they often give you the order forms. Going to the archives and seeing them for yourself is another step that you will eventually take.

    Take it one step at a time and you'll get there.

  4. I've no advice as I've not gone further than my computer either...but I'll be watching closer the next few days to see what advice you do receive.

  5. But you have stepped beyond your computer before! To visit the diary! You can do it again. Just go do it!

  6. Sara Beth, I've ordered many dozens of vital records, most of them via snail mail and VitalChek. Some locales have them available online stores, such as Chicago, Minnesota, and Ohio. Using CydisList to locate the county and health department websites is invaluable.

    If you have research concentrating on one area ordering microfilms from your local Family History Center can offer a real jackpot. Ordering films is costly if based entirely on a hunch though.

    I commend you on your dedication and your blog shows the effort you have put forth. Very well done!

  7. Sara, You have some wonderful resources in your area and you just have to take a deep breath and go. I felt the same way before I went to the Allen County Public Library. I made my husband come with me one day so I could check out the parking and library. Then we just explored and I looked at maybe 2 books. It was just enough for me to know that I could do it on my own the next time. I'm at the point that I need to start visiting where my ancestors lived and although I don't want to leave my comfort zone, I know that is what I need to do to advance my research. Good luck to you!

  8. Sara, I guess in a way I am fortunate to have started my genealogical research before much was available online. I had no choice but to either go to or order from court houses, libraries, archives, etc. Now, you can usually find websites to tell you what records and date ranges are held at specific locations so you can make solid plans before you go or order.
    I'm sure you'll love this kind of research once you get into it. You'd be surprised what you can find that isn't on-line yet!!

  9. You'll be fine once you get going - the staff will be pleased to help you locate what you want, and you'll find that you get to know people once you're a regular. Everyone starts off not knowing what's kept where :-) Good luck!