The advent of Internet genealogy has made genealogy much easier. Numerous websites such as Ancestry.com, FindMyPast.com, FamilySearch.org, Fold3.com and USGenweb.org provide access to transcriptions of and/or digitized images of original records that was unthinkable just a few decades ago.
These include images of vital records, probate and land records, military and pension records and census records. Still other websites such as Google Books, Hathitrust.org and Archive.org provide digitized images of a wide variety of published materials of use to historians and genealogists. Among them are town and county histories, genealogies, abstracted vital records, and summaries of appellate court cases from a variety of states.
It is important to remember that information you find online must be carefully evaluated. Biographies of relatives published in late 19th and early 20th century town and county histories should be used with a grain of salt. Generally, names, dates and relationship given in these are reliable. However, stories such as the achievement of distant ancestors may have been embellished for the reading public. Can the information be corroborated from independent sources? How historically accurate is the information? Do stories of migration agree with documentary evidence about the settlement of a given area? For example, settlement of Kentucky did not begin until the 1770s. Sources that state someone was born in Kentucky prior to this time should be considered with caution.
Staff genealogists put together a presentation that provides an overview of various online sites and provides guidance on evaluating information found therein. We strongly encourage you to watch this video before beginning in-depth research online.