Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Number Four of my 4-Pronged Research Plan

The last item of my research plan was to investigate what resources there are online. I was amazed at how much more there is available online than just five years ago when I started this project.

As I said before, many organizations are working at a fast pace to get much of their materials online and available to everyone. The Godfrey Library ( in Middletown has a tremendous amount online and is putting more up every day. What you can access is dependent upon what level of membership you have but even at the lowest level, there is an incredible amount of information literally at your fingertips.

Another valuable online resource is Find a Grave (, and it is free. Hundreds of volunteers travel to different graveyards and record the information found on gravestones. Putting this research online is a great boon for people looking for their ancestors. If you are doing a family history or looking for an ancestor, try searching through the millions of grave records they have accumulated. That sounds like a difficult task but they have it so organized, it is not. Many family histories have to start with finding when the person died and working backwards with that information to find out more about the life of that person.

The Connecticut Historical Society ( has a number of catalogs online, including manuscripts. They have a blog outlining some of the available manuscripts at They are part of a collaborative digital collection found at

It is also possible to just Google a name. A word of caution though, what you will get may be helpful but these records need to be verified. These family histories put online by amateur genealogists are not always accurate. Some mistakes are so glaring that you cannot miss them. In one record I was researching, the person has one of their subjects being born and being married on the same day.

I have found though that they sometimes give me a clue that fits into my giant jigsaw puzzle. In one case, I thought the resource was all wrong but then realized there was a stepmother involved that I knew nothing about. Even if the rest of the record was wrong, this gave me a new avenue to follow. I see my whole project as one huge jigsaw puzzle with myriad little pieces that have to be found. Since I love puzzles, I enjoy this.

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