Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Genealogists' Blind Spots -- Large Online Databases
Genealogists are like horses with blinders, they plod directly ahead and fail to look to the side for valuable resources. From time to time, I have been writing about some of the very large online database programs. All of these programs contain genealogically valuable resources but are almost never mentioned by genealogists in their blogs, webinars or other publications. I just did a search on the three most active large national and international database programs with the terms "blog" and "genealogy" included and my blog was the only one that came up until the third page of results. I can only think that these very large websites are also very low on the list of places genealogists search.

When I am talking about large databases, I include those with huge numbers of documents. Of course, we have,, and, but looking at just these four as being "large data websites" is extremely myopic. Just one example. At the recent Conference, there were 339 classes listed. This should have been a fair sampling of the topics thought important to genealogists. Here is what I see in the class titles from that listing:
  • - 10 mentions
  • FamilySearch - 54 mentions
  • MyHeritage - 6 mentions
  • findmypast - 5 mentions
What about some of the other large databases?
Let me take some examples. has a website called Here is the description:
VitalChek is the #1 resource for government-issued vital records. 
For over 20 years, VitalChek has provided Americans with official government certificates of birth, death, marriage and divorce. We do this as an official service provider for over 400 government agencies throughout the United States and US Territories safely delivering millions of important documents every year.
If you want to know what LexisNexis has on you personally, you can order a free Full File Disclosure Report.

Here are some interesting statistics: has 407,690,477 Australian and online resources. is unimaginably large. 
The Digital Public Library of America now has 8,500,231 items and is growing rapidly.
300 hours of video are uploaded to every minute.

If you are asking yourself why some of these online websites are listed, perhaps you are finding out that you do have blinders. Here are some qualifications. These large websites are not "set up" for genealogists. You can do name searches, but you probably need to understand that there are additional types of documents that may help you with your research that don't necessarily come classified with a genealogical label. Let's wake up and look around; there is a whole lot of information out there and perhaps it is time we recognized that what we need to do our research may be in a resource unrelated to genealogy. 

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