All this has made the tracking of an individual’s ancestral roots more popular over the years.
Saving documents is often one of the first steps a novice genealogist will undertake. Sifting through old family photos and birth certificates will turn up clues to missing information.
These documents can turn up in various conditions. Old photos stored in a shoebox may be in surprisingly great shape. The lack of UV light exposure has kept the photographs from fading.
According to the National Archives, paper preservation is the most tricky and requires specific storage conditions for long-lasting survival. The temperature should be kept between 60 and 70 degrees, with average humidity (40-50% RH).
Air circulation is also critical to prevent mold or pest growth.
Accessing digital content
Many family historians are turning to digital versions of documents to track data and preserve existing documentation. Digital content is a popular way to browse through old documents and photographs with ease.
Libraries are using increasingly advanced technology to scan and retrieve data through the use of OCR technology for easy tracking. The machines can scan surnames and locations and catalog them for quick genealogical referencing.
According to the Waterloo library in Iowa, digital microfilm readers are radically replacing old newspaper microfilm machines. There’s also been a substantial increase in reference desk questions relating to genealogy.
Technology that links historic clues
The increase in digital technology is also responsible for creating new interest when old tales are laid to rest in family history. It seems ironic that modern technology is responsible for the massive growth in historical interest among librarian patrons and home genealogists.
According to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, researchers should first research what is already known about a family lineage, to remove assumptions before making an online search. Digital technology is changing historical preservation in a few other ways:
1. Questions are raised that can either slow down or speed up research
The number of technological advances in family research is massive. The heavy use of computers has created the requirement that instructs users to stay in one database at a time. According to the magazine Yotta Fire, even technology to track DNA evidence of ancestry is questioning the complexity of family knowledge.
2. Documentation requires a trace to the root of a fact
Scanning of documentation is often compared to the trace of the original document. For example, many online researchers are being told to double-check records such as a deed or title online against the actual birth certificate of the old title owner for verification.
3. Social networking and family ties
Social networking sites are being used in a relevant manner to connect to old surnames and last names of relatives from hundreds of years ago to find documentation. This historical fact-finding mission is being used as a personal activity, and many historians argue it shouldn’t be laid down as a fact when a common surname and location are initially found.
This is only one step in the process.