Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: I is for … you guessed it … the INTERNET

I admit that I was initially stumped for ideas when thinking about my ‘I’ post for the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge, but then it hit me …

I is for … INTERNET

How did I not think of it before? I know why … it’s because the internet is now something that we take for granted. We get up, turn the computer on (that is if we actually bothered to turn it off), and log on. Then check emails, Facebook,  Twitter, blog posts and maybe a few websites while we’re at it … well, that’s me anyway.

But seriously, can any of us imagine what life would be like without the internet? I’m sure having difficulty doing so.

I’m not a person that needs the latest tech-toys – I don’t have a iPhone or Smartphone even, but as I’m addicted to the internet (yes, I admit it), not having one gives me at a forced break away from the net. But I admit, that when I went on the 1st Unlock the Past History & Genealogy Cruise back in March 2011, it was a tough 8 days, having limited internet access.

I’m sure a number of the older generation would say that life without the internet would (or could) be a good thing. And no doubt in some respects they’re right. But to be able to correspond with people quickly, to send photos and videos, to check the latest world happenings … it wouldn’t happen without the internet.

And without the internet I wouldn’t hear the common quote of ‘I’ll just look that up’ which Mr Lonetester is famous for. This could be anything from checking an email address, to who was in that movie we saw last week, to some programming query – or any of the numerous  never-ending other things we look at.

Now when it comes to genealogy and the internet, there is no doubt that the interest in genealogy has grown as a result of it – together with the records that are online. And I can imagine that ‘doing it the old fashioned way’ would be offputting for many. If you had to contact a genealogy society in Germany or France, and write them a letter asking if they had any records relating to your great great grandpa – would you know how to go about it? I’m guessing many of us wouldn’t.

Instead we have the internet, and we use Google and Cyndi’s List to find places online, to then send off an email, or check indexes that are online. If we’re lucky enough there might even be some original images of documents online. [Note to self – need to check FamilySearch again!]

While the internet has its good sides, it also means that there is a bad side. And that is the amount of ‘false data’, or unverified data that is online, that then gets copied and replicated, as well as the amount of copying without request (which really amounts to stealing). But I won’t go into this further here – as it really requires a whole post.

But who doesn’t love having a day or weekend off, and being able to sit at home in your trakkies and research online? While it doesn’t replace going to the archives, it sure does make a lot of the researching a whole lot easier.

And the internet has allowed me to gain so many wonderful online friends through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ (though I’m still a newbie there), and the geneablogger scene. So for me … I … is for the INTERNET, and as well, I must say that I find my genie friends to be such a source of INSPIRATION.

8 Responses to “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: I is for … you guessed it … the INTERNET”

  1. Jill Ball says:

    I’ll second that! Great post.

  2. Fi says:

    I had a giggle about your comment on incorrect information. My son put a family tree on Ancestry when he was 12. Part of a school project, there are no records attached. I’ve just noticed it is now being used as a source!

  3. Alona, I have nominated you for the Illuminating Blogger Award. Please read about it here:

  4. Kerryn says:

    My sentiments exactly Alona. Without the internet I think I’d be in a loony bin 🙂 We have a small rural general store and often people are looking for roads in the area that we haven’t heard of. Just grab the laptop and bring up google maps! I don’t even look up the phone book for phone numbers any more … not because I can’t read the small print of course but its quicker to look up whitepages or google search a business number.

  5. Sharon says:

    Your post got me thinking about the last time that I went a day without the internet. Over 7 months ago when we holidayed overseas (and I still managed to check emails and facebook a few times while we were away)!
    I communicate via email with an Aunty who is in her 90s but I can’t get my parents interested. A microwave is too high tech for them!

  6. Alona says:

    Jill – Thanks for the lovely feedback.

    Fi – Wow, it’s scary that people will use info without it being verified isn’t it.

    Kerryn – Just ask my hubby what I’m like when the net is down, or the power is off. It’s such a way of life – it’s so hard to live without.

    Sharon – I’m in awe of older people have embraced technology like your Aunty. Good on her. My grandma sadly hasn’t embraced a computer or even a microwave – she says “they’re evil”. Oh well, I still show her things online from time to time.

  7. Alona says:

    Jill, I can’t believe you’ve nominated me for an Illuminating Blogger Award. Wow, I am really really honoured. Thank you. Seriously, I’m just chuffed if anyone even reads my posts.

  8. Catherine says:

    Agree with you 100% Alona. How sad that months ago, and thinking my old computer was about to crash, bought a new “super duper” update but the thought of Internet “downtime” puts “fear into my heart” so haven’t swapped over yet. Very embarrassing. Congrats on your nomination… very well deserved indeed! Catherine.

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