24 November 2009

I'm Guilty! A Challenge

I must admit that I'm guilty. I know it and I've done little to change my ways. I've been neglecting all but the tip of the genealogical iceberg. In other words, I'm basically an internet genealogist.

OK, so I'm not 100% glued to the internet. There are a few non-internet research methods I've used: mailing off for death certificates and a few social security apps, walking cemeteries, researching in the books at the local library, looking up obits on microfilm at the local library, driving down to the Atlanta library to look at City Directories.... and that's about it. I haven't visited an archive (30 miles & 60 miles), I haven't visited the local Family History Center (2 miles), I haven't written or visited any of the Churches of my ancestors, I haven't requested any of the many different types of records available from the national archives, I haven't interviewed any relatives outside my immediate family, etc.

There are a great many resources that I've been ignoring - partly because there are so many records available online. My main areas of research are Georgia and South Carolina. Both have a decent amount of records online. For Georgia, the Georgia Virtual Vault is an amazing resource. I've found tons of marriage records, death certificates, land records, war records and photos from the Georgia Archive. For South Carolina, the South Carolina Department of Archives and History has supplied me with wills, war records and land records. On top of that, both states have a good amount of records online at Ancestry.com - a site that I've been subscribing to as long as I've been researching my family history.

So, I'd like to try and expand my research strategy. I want to challenge myself to pursue at least one new non-internet research strategy each month. I might mail off for a record, I might right a letter to a relative or an organization, I might visit an archive or a Family History Center, I might interview a relative.

I have a few goals in mind while pursuing these avenues of research.
  • I'd like to find more information about my relatives. That is the purpose of genealogy research in general and, by ignoring these resources, I'm ignoring a lot of information.
  • I'd like to expand my knowledge of these different research tactics in general. Part of the reason that I haven't try these research methods is because I don't quite know how they work. Once I try them, I'll have more knowledge of research strategies.
  • I'd like to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone. This applies to my entire life, not just to my genealogy research.
To start with, I'd like to contact my Boatright ancestor's church (Hawhammock Missionary Baptist Church near Swainsboro, GA) and find his revolutionary war records. Does anyone have any advice for these avenues of research?

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