Wednesday, 11 April 2012

I is for Internet

'I' should be for Immigration but it's probably a little premature to write about something I know very little about! I'm attending a talk entitled Scottish Immigration to Australia being presented by the Society of Australia Genealogists next Saturday and hope that I will informed enough afterwards to share more information with you then. 

Instead, I is now for Internet. As in what I spend waaay too much time on (or is it more accurate to say where I spend too much time?)! As in this intangible 'thing' rocks my world daily and has revolutionised communication and information-sharing on a global scale. As in the greatest weapon in a genie's arsenal.

I honestly don't think I would be as active in my investigations if I had started B.C (before computers). My compliments to all the genealogists, amateur and professional, (like Didi) who did it old school: writing letters to distantly related family members or local historical societies and waiting weeks or even months for responses; visiting Births, Deaths and Marriages offices to inspect and photocopy original records; heading to local libraries and fighting motion-sickness on the microfiche machines to view old newspapers. While I was one of those kids who had pen friends all over the world, who asked a lot of questions and who loved looking up encyclopaedias or dictionaries (just to know "why" or "how" or "who"), it makes me impatient just thinking about having to wait!

I'm not Gen Y - definitely Gen X - but I have become very used to information being immediately accessible and the convenience of it  literally being at my finger tips. I love the instant gratification of typing "robert AND cameron AND (newcastle OR wickham)" into a site like Trove and seeing the results appear. Of websites such as,, Scotland's People and with their vast repositories of history (my history) available for me to search at any time convenient to me. Of being able to email people like the Melbourne-based genie and, within 24 hours of first contact, have a full bio of a previously little-known ancestor complete with photos and primary source material. Many of the sites I find useful are listed to the right, filed under the original heading "Useful Links" and I am continually adding to it. 

Not everything is available online so I know I have a few pilgrimages in my future. In the meantime I will continue digging through cyberspace for the little pieces of our family's history that have been electronically fossilised. 

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