Why I love the Web: Historical Documents That Find YOU edition
Last summer, I posted something here about some oral histories and photographs from the town where my grandfather grew up. Search engines crawled the posts. Someone had a document from that place. Date: 1915. Searched the web for the “Walsenburg, Colorado, genealogy” and found me. Told me about the 1915 book from the town. Was I interested in buying it? Yes, please send photos. I saw the photos, asked the price (reasonable). Sold! My check is in the mail.
So let me spell the reasons why I Love The Web:
- Search Engines crawl this site. So if I write about stuff that’s important to me (er, that’s obvious by inspection), then they’ll pick it up.
- Someone finds something and thinks, This is important to someone, but not to me. Goes to search engine. My site shows up.
- How would the person have known of my interest otherwise?
- Happy feelings all around about serendipity and the kindness of strangers
Oh, this wonderful individual does genealogy… and so knows that such an item might be of interest to someone.
This is one of the best reasons I have for keeping my genealogy blog up (despite the fact that I’ve done next to no research since we bought our house three years ago): not only have long lost cousins found me (including one who was a teacher in a school I attended kindergarten at; I always wondered if we were related, and now I know), but fellow researchers have found me as well. I can attribute pretty much everything between ~1680 and about 1800 in my research on my Italian ancestry to the fact that my blog enabled two brothers (who I eventually discovered to be distant cousins) to contact me. They had been to our ancestral village, befriended the local priest, and eventually received copies of all of the baptism records from 1697 to some time in the 1800s from the church, records that I now have a copy of and that made a huge difference in how far I could go back. Before this, I was limited by the civil records that the Mormons had microfilmed, which went back to 1810.
Search engine bait; one of the best reasons to maintain a site about your genealogy.