A New Years Wish


A new year can lift our spirits and create a feeling of fresh beginnings; spiritual rebirth and hope. The study of our history--the widely growing hobby of genealogy--appears to be swinging headfirst into 2012. New websites are spilling forth and the "oldies but goodies" are growing even larger and stronger.

Feeding off of the rapidly growing interest in genealogy, PBS is launching a new series March 25th called Finding Your Roots. It will be a one-hour, 10 part series that like NBC, will feature important Americans and their journeys to ancestor discoveries. And speaking of NBC; Who Do You Think You Are will begin season three on February 3rd. Each program sounds enlightening and most likely, very inspiring.

Over the years, as I have delved deeper into genealogy, I have witnessed an increasing growth of new websites and blogs. But what I am seeing now excites me for the future. The granddaddies--Ancestry.com and Fold3--are taking notice of the smaller sites that are publishing digital records free for the taking.

These subscription websites are offering more free access to records. Ancestry.com has announced making the 1940 US Census free and available starting April 2012 until 2013. And they are bringing direct access to free sites such as Rootsweb, directly to their members.

Fold3 is a partner with the Federation of Genealogical Societies in their War of 1812 Project. They have been digitalizing all 1812 Pension Application Files and offering them free on their site.

The two largest lineage organizations--the DAR and NSSAR--are now providing their patriot records searchable on-line and I must not forget the wonderful website FamilySearch.org. This great organization has rapidly grown during the last year, adding new records daily. It has quickly become a leader in the field of genealogy.

As I explore the Internet, I am delighted with sites such as Archive.org-a free access site that provides searchable and downloadable ancestral books. And I have been thrilled to find ancestor's tombstone records on FindAGrave.com and Interment.net.

But what continues to stun me the most, is the little county courthouse websites with free access to land, wills and probate records. Town historical centers with archived city directories and genealogical societies with realms of free files.

These small, individual websites are flooding the Internet. They are providing all of us with our history at our fingertips.

All for free.

Which is my wish for the New Year. It is my hope that with time and the growth of more websites providing free access to digital records; some day in the new future, genealogical records will be free to all.

You never know; it's a wish that just may come true.

Keep searching for answers,




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