I have been working on genealogy for about 5 years.
Two or three years ago I began attending the "Genies in the Desert" Genealogy Seminar held each year in the Parker Arizona Bluewater Casino Conference rooms the first Friday of December.
The speaker has been Geoffrey Rasmussen, the author of the Legacy Family Tree Genealogy Software. He is a dynamic speaker and so down to earth and very knowledgeable on his topics.
The subject of genealogy is dear to my heart since my grandmother gave my family a brown grocery sack with pencil written genealogy information from way way back. This was the basis of my research. Nowadays one doesn't have to drive across country to find info from censuses, military records, cemeteries, and relatives. Some information is still necessary by personal visits, whether to visit relatives, cemeteries, or courthouses, but it is getting more common to find info on the internet. The seminar I attended this week was about the technology of genealogy sharing and research. I learned that cemetery info is often found on www.findagrave.com . There is also a site called www.billiongraves.com. This even has a mobile app which allows one to take pictures of a gravestone, and upload the photo along with the GPS location of the gravestone's location.
Last spring I felt privileged to volunteer to help index the 1940 census. I really enjoyed doing it and due to the hard work of many volunteers all over the world, the census was indexed in approximately 3-4 months! This was all done while sitting in the comfort of my laz-e-boy recliner in my living room. My computer was the only tool needed. When someone needs information from the 1940 census, it is readily available online. In the past it would not have been available.
I was interested in a divorce that occurred in my family in about 1925. I didn't even know where it occurred. I went to visit a cousin, and she and I decided to try the courthouse in a nearby county. The family had lived in that county when they were first married. We drove to the courthouse and went into the clerk's office. They allowed us to look but no one helped us to understand the filing system. We looked in the big books in the records room and wrote down what we found but it gave only coded info which we did not understand. We were about to leave, feeling defeated, when we spoke to another clerk, who insisted in helping us understand the codes. She explained that the codes were references to the storage boxes that the original court papers were stored in. So that clerk showed us the boxes and in them we found the original divorce papers from 1926, along with the custody battles that followed the divorce. None of this info was available online and a visit to the courthouse was the only way to get the facts. If I had been unable to go to the courthouse I could have hired a genealogy researcher to do the legwork for me, but I really enjoyed the time getting to know my cousin.
Sometimes family stories are happy, sometimes sad, but usually interesting regardless.