“If It’s Online…It’s True” — Abraham Lincoln

The whimsical quote above is something I found somewhere…probably online… and I thought I’d share it with you. I was hoping it would be a humourous segue into this subject.

It occurred to me as I was watching WDYTYA, that if anyone took a tally of what was discovered on line, specifically by the show’s sponsor, Ancestry.com , and what needed to be researched in libraries, archives, repositories, church records, town halls, private collections, et al, that it would clearly demonstrated that no, as a matter of fact, it’s NOT all online!

The amount of data that can be discovered at home by logging in to a variety of websites both free and subscription is quite definitely increasing, seemingly by leaps and bounds. We see numbers such as so-and-so “…has added 3,500,00 records…” with some more and some less. Without knowing how many more records there are to index and post, it almost seems as though we’re nearly done so who needs the libraries, archives, repositories, church records, town halls, private collections, et al?

I’ve seen estimates that the internet contains 5% or less of the available data. Others estimate upwards of 15%. But the fact remains that even the sponsor of a very popular program dealing with genealogical research which is itself an internet based research resource still employs dozens of professionals to get the job done. If Ancestry.com needs professionals to put their program together, how can any hobbyists or private family researcher or professional genealogist hope to do better?

I’m just sayin’!

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