As we research our family history, we often narrow our search down to the family names of our ancestors, but actually broadening our searches to include the communities in which they lived will greatly enrich your family history. Whether they lived in a large city or in a small county of one of our fifty states, there is a county history message board found for every county in the United States.
You might also take a look at message boards pertaining to where you currently live. You might have that one bit of historical information someone else is looking for, and know about it only because you live in the area. It could be a historical statue in your town, a historical hotel or house in your area, or maybe the park you went to for your last family picnic where you happened to read some relative historical information.
Maybe you have lived in your county for a long time and could very easily help someone fill in a gap they might have in their family history. Or maybe you are living in a new county and would be interested in checking out the history of your new area. Either way, taking the time to check into the local information which might be able to help someone else is a great service, and someone else might do it for you.
If there is a question on one of the message boards which interests you, take an afternoon and go the library and look it up, perhaps checking as to what information your local museum might have. Almost all of the libraries in America have at least a small section dedicated to the history of the area. Become familiar with it and, remember, your reference librarian will be able to help you. Another place you might check is your local Chamber of Commerce, which might also have information that could help.
There are a few other ways which you could search for information relating to the history of a certain county, or even certain place within the county of your home. You might be looking for information on a sawmill or some early family in the area; search for it using Google and you could be surprised what you might find. In becoming familiar with sites pertaining to where you live, you might just hold the answer to someone's family history question, someone who has been searching for years about information on their family and are unable to visit your community to find that information. Every community has history to share.
Don't limit yourself to just doing research all by yourself; there are hundreds of message boards out there and hundreds of people interested in many historical events and historical pieces of America history. Search for different message boards relating to the information you need. Maybe it is the circus or maybe the railroad. There are many message boards and people on the Net that would love to have your questions and have the opportunity help.
Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2006.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.
*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.
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