Sunday, July 10, 2011

Practice What You Preach - My Lesson Learned in Genealogy

For those of you who know me, I profess to be a Google aficionado.  I tell the story of first using Google in 2001 to search Samuel Gordge of Australia, and came upon an article from the Australian Family History Society.  What was unbelievable was that this article dispelled long-held beliefs that Samuel Gordge drowned on Christmas day.  Quite the opposite:  he died of a shark bite, but after first looting goodies from the ship he was employed as a cook.  The ship had run aground on an Australian shore, and he and his buddies stole the loot and took off in a dingy.  He was later found on another nearby shore, shark bitten, only to be identified by the trousers and shoes he was wearing.  Further emails and additional research by the author of that article provided us with some fascinating historical records and newspaper articles on the event.  I have cousins to this day who do not believe it.  I guess the “drowning on Christmas day” story is more sympathetic, but still untrue nonetheless.

Why the article on “practice what you preach?”  I had been researching some dead-end lines on my husband’s genealogy when an email came in from “Search Tip of the Day” by   It simply said, “How often do you Google?,” suggesting to do a Google search for every “stuck” person on your list.

Well, I did just that.  I have researched this one line for a couple of years without much luck, and after entering the “stuck” person’s name into Google, I found someone searching the same line, but their line went back several generations.  I will now take their genealogy information and use it to research this family line once again.  What a find! 

I preach about using Google for your genealogy research, and I was kicking myself for not practicing what I preach.  Lesson learned, but thankfully, as I now have several more family members to research and verify!
Here is a link to my handout on using Google in your genealogy research.  This handout was part of the materials accompanying my presentation at the Arizona Family History Expo in January.  Hope it helps you as well.


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