Good old fashioned research #general

james gross <larklane@...>

It may be my imagination, but it seems that several people
are using surname posts as a way of making contact with
distant relatives. I have taken the trouble to go to the JGFF
and printout lists of researchers who are doing similar shtetls
and surnames. Then I see if I have already contacted them.
Some people don't reply, some have old addresses, and some
apparently have no concept of a basic tree chart. But there are
also some who reply with good tree charts.
I personally feel that a good genealogist shouldn't rely exclusively
on this forum for research material or making "hits" and that some
newcomers are doing this. The Jewishgen website, and this list are
undoubtably very helpful, but don't forget the sources available at
the local library and LDS family history center. While you may find
a social security # at the Ancestry site's death index, you still may
want to get the obit or photograph the stone.
What about the direction of your research? Are you trying to find
researchers, or relatives? If you are looking to identify unknown
relatives, they probably won't be on this forum. If they are alive, they
may not even have a computer. I believe this forum is useful when
combined with reading of other genealogy reference material, such
as local JGS newsletters and other reference items.
For those of you trying to make "hits" of new distant relatives,
you may want to consider the "old fashioned approach" to genealogy.
Namely speaking to living relatives, identifying possible select targets,
tracking down obits, calling or writing to cemetaries & funeral homes,
pulling out phonebooks, and making a few calls to potential relatives.
Marriage licenses, naturalizations, and death certificates are just a
few of the documents which are useful.
In summary, I think the reader should be careful about allowing
himself/herself to become a quasi "couch-potato" on the computer.
I know that I have become a bit complacent in the past year and need
to do more archive research. How about you?

James H. Gross
Cherry Hill, N.J.
Gross-Steinberg Family Tree

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