How to Use Family Genealogy Databases

By Charles Hopkins Published 01/19/2007 | Genealogy

The world has become a much smaller place thanks to the advent of the internet. The internet not only provides a multitude of retail sales services, but it also offers all manner of businesses including family lineage search functions. Many of these family genealogy databases are self service entities. In other words, the person who wishes the information is going to have to perform the search for the information himself. While it might seem like a daunting task to have to perform such a search function, but the reality is that performing such a search is much easier than people would think.

First, one needs to locate a genealogy database that has access to a variety of records. Pertinent records that will be necessary to review would include census bureau reports, death files, birth documents, and international databases to name a few. It is always best to use the services of a database that has the most expansive database search areas as picking a database that is limited may yield less than positive results.

Keep in mind, many of these records are not organized nationally, but by state instead. So, in order to be thorough, one might be required to search through the records of all fifty states. This might seem like a tedious task so it is well advised to search through the states where the odds are more likely that success would be likely. For example, Sicilian immigrants settled primarily in the northeast of the United States, but there were also huge populations of Sicilians in New Orleans. So, it might be wise to look and see where members of ones ethnic heritage primarily settled.

Most genealogy databases are designed in a user friendly manner. That is, they do not require sophisticated search procedures in order to effectively deliver the required information. Usually, the skeleton of an online database search function will involve simply typing in first name and last name as well as common possible locations of where the members of the family may have been located. It is, however, very important to make sure that the name is being spelled correctly and there are no typos. Such an accident could lead to the fatal mistake of missing out on receiving the proper information related to the search.

There is something else that must be taken into consideration when it comes to properly using a family genealogy database. Sometimes, it may be wise to also type in alternate spellings of names. For example, type in Smith, Smythe, and Smyth. Manner times, last names were phonetically spelled by census takers et al and alternate versions of a spelling might be entered or, sadly in some cases, a completely erroneous name may be entered in the place of the correct name. As such, it is wise to also include alternate spellings so as to avoid such problems.

Using a family genealogy database does not so much require technical proficiency as much as it requires thoroughness. If one is thorough, then the search through the databases may turn out to be a fruitful venture.