Not Your Grandma’s Genealogy

I don’t know about you…but the genealogy I remember seeing my grandma do is a heck of a lot different than how we do genealogy today. Handwritten or typed pedigree charts and family group sheets are a thing of the past. With genealogy practices dramatically changing over the past 10 to 15 years there has been a huge increase in researching family history. Lets take a closer look at just how much things have changed.

How we contact people for information…

Then: A letter was sent by mail and the response time could take weeks or even months. Now: We send an email that might only take minutes, hours, or days to get a response.

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Where we search for records…

Then: First, you had to leave your house and go to a genealogy library (heaven forbid…right?). Second, you would search the IGI (International Genealogical Index) to find possible matches. Third, you would order microfilm which took weeks to arrive. And finally you would search tirelessly through each roll of film hoping to find what you were looking for. Now: We search the internet, at home, on free or paid websites and get results almost instantly.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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What method we use to track family history…

Then: Pedigree charts and family group sheets were handwritten or typed and placed into binders. Families would be alphabetized and then numbered. Now: Online family trees are used as well as genealogy software. You have a choice to keep electronic or paper files.

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As you can see, things have really changed. Modern technology has made it so much easier for anyone to participate in doing his or her family history. I have great respect for everyone who had the patience, time, and motivation to go through the lengthy process that genealogy used to be. Of course, I’m not saying it doesn’t still take all those things now, but we have such a greater advantage over genealogists of the past that we have to give them the respect and credit that’s due them. Every time I look through my grandma’s paperwork I am thankful for all the “head starts” and “clues” she left me. Although the way I do genealogy today is nothing like the way she did it, I feel like we are doing it together.

Happy Hunting!


  • Lester Larrabee April 5, 2013, 9:27 pm

    Very nice layout to your blog. Your writing style and content is great. Looking forward to more articles.

    • Kathy Lynch April 6, 2013, 1:54 am Kathy Lynch

      Lester…thank you so much. I can’t wait to spend some time looking around your blog.