A few years back I found information on one of my brick wall ancestors, Pleasant Ann (?) McClaren (01 Apr 1823 - 15 Jul 1902) of Black Lick, Indiana County, Pennsylvania on a website called "Treasures of the Past". I made very careful notes in my genealogy program and sourced my information correctly. I even wrote down the full web url.
The only problem is the website doesn't exist anymore.
I suppose it doesn't really matter. I have the data and the source. I could order a death certificate and that would be better data anyway. But there is something reassuring about being about to go back and look at the webpage where I got the information and be sure that I didn't forget to note something down.
Individual or free genealogy webpages are prone to disappearing. Especially if, when you do your research, you dip in and out of different families with long spans of time passing in between.
But don't let that fool you. It can happen on Ancestry.com as well.
I have early ancestors from Eastern New York. Ancestry.com used to have some great church records for the Columbia County, New York area. Then one day they stopped carrying the database. I had captured some of the data I needed but not all of it. That was early on in my genealogy days. I've been kicking myself ever since.
Saving Internet Information
There are two basic ways for saving what you see on the internet. (I'm sure there are many more but I'm sticking with these two. Though leave me your suggestions if you have better ones.)
- You can print it out on paper. I don't like printing because that means I now have a piece of paper that I need to keep track of. I'm not good with paper. It's guaranteed that I'll lose it. But that shouldn't discourage you if you can keep track of it better than me.
- You can "print" it to an electronic file. I'll never understand why you have to "print" to save something electronically but when you create a pdf file that exactly what you have to do. Saving as an electronic file gives you the same thing as print out without have to figure out what to do with the paper.
In order to save something as a pdf file you need to have a program that creates pdf files. Adobe Acrobat is the original program for creating pdf files. Since then many other developers have created programs to create pdf files, some of which are for free. Do an internet search for "free pdf programs" and you will find some options.
If you watched the live streaming lectures from RootsTech then you had the chance to see a very in-depth lecture on Adobe Acrobat/pdf files by D. Joshua Taylor of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). Unfortunately, that's not among the ones that are currently available for viewing on the RootsTech website.
I admit that I am much better organized in my computer than with paper file folders in my office. For that reason, I try to scan everything that I want to find again whether it is genealogical documents, annual physicals, eye prescriptions and big ticket item receipts.
I am going to have to get better at saving the webpages where I find genealogy information. It's an extra step and it takes a little extra time, but it will save my loads of time and headache in the future.