AJC file photo

Internet makes genealogy research easier now than ever

It’s a whole lot easier to find lost kinfolk, or just about anybody else, nowadays because of the internet.

Using Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org can unlock a cache of information. But Google searches also could help, as well as looking at newspapers online, or even voting records. Most U.S. counties have their property tax records online. Once you find a mailing address, verifying it in the tax record can help you determine it’s a current address. The most elusive people are those that own no property, stay below the radar of records, change their names either through marriage or creative redesign, and just don’t want to be found.

If you are really serious, you can search for someone on one of the many sites with personal information like White Pages, Radaris, Spokeo, Advanced Background Checks, and the newest one I found, Nuwber. You may find what you need for free or have to pay for a report. FindaGrave.com and the good old standby of city directories online also can be useful.

But, as helpful as the internet might be, it’s gotten many people off track. They aren’t interviewing relatives to get information, which might lead to finding out some interesting facts or personality details about people, nuggets that can’t be found in the dry records online. Talking to relatives also could allow you to gain access to a family Bible or family stories, letters, or photographs.

The annual Wiregrass Local History Conference will be held May 4 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Old Tattnall County Courthouse in Reidsville. Speakers include Robert S. Davis (unusual records found in Georgia), Dale Couch (material culture of the Wiregrass country) and Pharris Johnson (what vintage postcards reveal). Also scheduled include several talks about DNA and cemetery restoration, and a Vanishing Tattnall County slide show. The cost is $40. To register, go to tattnallarchives.org.

The Digital Library of Appalachia can be found at dla.acaweb.org/digital and includes a lot of historical and archival materials from Appalachia, in North Carolina, Tennessee and nearby. You can explore daily life, music, religion and beliefs, as well as links to college archival collections.

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Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P. O. Box 901, Decatur, GA 30031 or gagensociety.org.

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