This whole discussion about what records are on-line and which are not has got me thinking. So I decided to take a look at my own family tree and determine what percent of documents I have obtained from on-line resources and what records I have obtained through other sources. To make this study manageable, I focused only on my Father’s paternal line. I decided to review all of the documents that I have collected for my father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, and my great-great-great-grandfather. The documents I have included for this study include vital records (birth, marriage, and death), census records, church records (baptism, confirmation, and death), immigration and naturalization
records, probate records, military and land records. This does not include the many photos, newspaper articles, and stories I have collected and added to my family tree over the years to help me better understand my ancestors.
Below is a table representing the documents I have collected for each ancestor mentioned above. Less than half of the documents I have gathered have been obtained from on-line resources. This is not to say on-line resources are not useful and ever-growing. Clearly they are. However, you will need to utilize more traditional methods as well as you collect records to tell the story about your family. It’s definitely not all on-line. In a future bolg, I will share some techniques that I have utilized to gain access to a variety of off-line records.