I spend an inordinate amount of time researching my ancestry and am familiar with most primary and secondary source materials on the shelves of libraries and online. For some unfathomable reason, I often neglect to search the massive source materials on Google Books.
I don’t know why. Is it because I pay for subscriptions to sites that offer source documents and I subconsciously think they are resource of all knowledge? No, that isn’t the case because I always tend to have three tabs open to various records on the free FamilySearch site. I always search through Google Books for vital record books in Massachusetts but oddly enough have thrown mental walls up for any records beyond New England.
That is a grievous error on my part. I hope you haven’t fallen into the same trap.
A frequent Sunday night activity in my research life is to glean any missed data from notes and copies I made at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. When you make the trip there, you don’t stop to fully digest all of the information you captured because your time on site is too valuable for just that purpose. You act like a locust on the move …. gathering copies and notes of everything in sight that may contain something to help in your ancestral quest. When you get home, you spend the requisite hours scanning through the data with a fine tooth comb ‘gleaning’ all the nuggets for consumption in your database. The brief notes and limited highlights on the pages that you made at the library act as an index or brief prompts.
How great is it to have the resources from worldwide source books at your finger tips on Google Books any time of the day?
Tonight, I inexplicably slipped out of my research blinders long enough to wonder if the church records for Edwinstowe, England could be found in the Google Books inventory.
Whoa. They are! Home many times have I pulled the microfilms for them at the Family History Library? How many miles and how much expense have I incurred over the years making the pilgrimages to pull the films yet again when further research exposed more family members who lived there but who I didn’t know to search for when the microfilm was on the reader?
Yes, there will be more records that I need to search at the library about these families and no the data in my Google Books find is not all inclusive, but on this and in future evenings, I’ll sit in my office, surrounded by monitors that display the Edwinstowe and other source records, my library notes and my database. That sure beats freeway and city traffic and the expense of traveling to the library to read the same data.