Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When the technology causes trouble...

We have become quite dependent on technology to be able to do genealogy effectively today. Firstly, it depends on that our computers are working properly, and that the broadband connections is working and is fast enough.

Secondly, we become also dependent that the suppliers of the sources, the church-book material, are functioning properly. And it is unfortunately not unusual that either of these fails, which leads to that the genealogical research will suffer.

This kind of hassle is a pain even for the amateur researcher who may have a few hours off and will try to keep up with the genealogy for a moment and notice that you can not access the service provider.
To me, who has genealogy as a profession, it is obviously very annoying when I am unable to work. Because even if I do have all the providers of the Swedish church book material (Genline, SVAR and AD), they are not identical.

Was it better in the past? I can remember how it was to do genealogy for 30 years ago when I had to visit the archives, standing in line, order up books (only a few at a time) and then wait until the archives staff arrived and delivered the book to the researchdesk.
It was not dependent on the technology... Writing was done with a pencil in the notebook I had brought.
On the other hand, I remember that sometimes it was archival staff who were sick and we genealogists had to sit back and wait considerably longer time than usual in order to let the decimated staff deliver. This is perhaps equivalent today when we have network problems or the computer is malfunctioning?..

Today I still visit the archives on occasional times. I don’t really do that because I miss being there, waiting for the staff to bring up the books I ordered or waiting in line to get a place to sit, no its of course because there are still lots of books that are not digitalized (yet) and that quite often I need to check things that are still considered private (70-year secrecy-rules).
But I must admit that in a strange way I do like to wear these goofy gloves and also there is the smell of "old books" that you get for free when visiting an archive...

1 comment:

  1. I haven't been researching too long but I, too, love the smell of the old books. I remember when I was a student, a professor was working on her family history. She had gone back many generations and was still writing letters to get copies of documents. By the time I knew her, she was probably in her 80s and no longer able to go search herself.

    I think online and library/courthouse searches are both great, just different.

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