Thursday, June 11, 2009

Interesting WorldVitalRecords Online Poll has a poll on their front page titled "Which of the following services would you be most delighted to see available for free?" with choices:

* Full-featured family tree software
* Huge genealogy databases
* Professional genealogy research
* Digital reference books
* Scanned records
* Tools for tracking research efforts and sources

The poll results to date (5038 responses) shows:

Of course, most people would just love to have FREE everything, as the comments in this poll reflect.

What ONE THING from that list, or any other genealogy item, would you like to have for FREE?


Unknown said...

I'd prefer scanned records. Huge databases often contain errors, and there's no way to verify the data. And, there is no way to ensure that all of the information from the originals gets included. Several years ago, I was researching one family on The database record of the 1880 census had the "usual" information, but the scanned version of the census-taker's original sheet included a note that the eldest daughter was "wife's daughter," which led me - eventually - to discover that she had been fathered by a neighbor boy when the mother was a teenager. If I'd stuck with the database, I'd have missed that information.
I'd rather see the original record - or its digital duplicate - with my own eyes.

J. Moore said...
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J. Moore said...

I just want somebody to digitize the Agricultural and Manufacturing schedules of the census... what's thinking not getting that done?

Its a pain in the ass to have to order the film for those every time I want to look somebody up. Sure, you can't really establish much in the way of relationships with them, but, wow, some highly neat information there. Really gives you some insight into the SES of whoever you're tracking.

As as the options WVR gives in their poll, I'd have to go with scanned records of course. Agree with commenter Richard (and I'm sure just about everybody else out there) that primary beats secondary.

Alex Coles said...

I'm with Richard A - scanned records, definitely. If you can't get to the physical originals, then that's the next best thing - as well as giving you that little thrill at seeing the actual page, it helps you appreciate the context of the individual entry you're interested in.

Eileen said...

My choice would be free professional research. Most of the other items can be obtained free on the web already. Free does not mean useful. But professional research would be useful and to my knowledge, I can't get it free anywhere today.

Unknown said...

I'm torn between Richard A.'s and Eileen's comments. It's possible to get access to the scanned records (or the originals) free, or at least inexpensive, if you have the time and proximity, but when time and proximity are not available then the professional research help would be great. Personally I'd love it if I would just get responses to letters I send to living relatives (the ultimate "free" resource there is).