19 August 2013

Travel Tuesday - Online VS Brick & Mortar Research

Another installment of the Online VS Brick & Mortar Research . . .

The purpose of this series is to provide my husband, myself, and the reader a cost analysis of traditional VS online research and to provide a visual, if you will, answer to a most oft asked question . . . Is a subscription or multiple subscriptions to an online, for-profit, site(s) worth the yearly expense?  You can see the previous posts here and here.

During the extended weekends of 8 - 11 August and 15 - 18 August 2013, I had the pleasure of attending two LEARN family reunions.  One in Tannersville, Monroe County, Pennsylvania and the other in Cookport, Green Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.  I will be writing more about the reunions in a separate post.

What follows is an accounting of our expenses for brick and mortar - 'boots on the ground' - research and the cost of our participation in the LEARN reunions and a comparison of what the same research would have cost using our online subscription / resources and doing so from the 'creature comforts' of our home.

Brick & Mortar

1.  LEARN Family Association dues are used to offset the costs of the pavilions used - one held in a city park (Tannersville) and one held at a local church (Cookport).*  The dues are also used to defray the cost of family t-shirts for participants and main dish offerings; guests were invited to bring side dishes and deserts.  The funds were also used to pay for CD's that were given out - each contained pictures of ancestors that family members provided, updated individual family genealogies, etc.

2.  There were no hotel charges for 15 - 18 August; husband and I were able to stay with my Dad who currently lives in Somerset, Pennsylvania, about 1-1/2 hours from the Cookport reunion site.

* The church did not charge the family association a set fee; the families in attendance held a brief business meeting and it was decided at that time how much (from the treasury) would be donated to the church in appreciation of the use of their property.

Online Subscription
Final thoughts . . . 
  • Nothing, NOTHING(!) beats the experience of connecting with family - ancestoral and descendants.
  • Remember, not all documents are online and never will be; at some point, your research will require your taking a trip or many to your ancestoral homes - here in the U.S. and abroad - but it is possible to find a wealth of digitized information both on the subscription (fee-based) and the free genealogy sites at a significant savings.

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