Column: Browsing Records is Easier Today than Yesterday

Between today and Wednesday, my genealogy column, Roots to the Past, is available in the following Atlantic Canada newspapers:

Saturday: The Citizen (Amherst)

Saturday: Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Wednesday: The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin (Lunenburg County)

Title: Browsing Records is Easier Today than Yesterday

Snippet: There are often only two speeds to genealogy: fast and tediously slow. Fast happens when I look for a record and find it easily. Slow is when it takes many hours—perhaps years—to locate information. Fast is also plugging a keyword into a search engine and instantly finding what I’m looking for. Browsing records—looking through them page by page—is slow research.

For better or worse, some records are still available only as browsing documents; they are not indexed and are not searchable by technology. But before you groan and think, “That’s too difficult,” let me tell you how I used to do it.

Even though many records were indexed on paper cards at the archives, I spent countless hours browsing rolls of microfiche. They contained church records, census records and many more filmed documents that weren’t available in any other format. My arm got tired from cranking the wheel, the lighting wasn’t perfect and sometimes I had to adjust the lens, reaching above my head to zoom-in to see the writing clearly. When I found information related to my family, I had two choices: copy it by hand (which I did most often) or photocopy it.

. . . To read more, pick up one of the above noted newspapers.


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