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27 March 2009

Internet Genealogy – It's Just the Tip of the Iceberg

CGS member Lisa Gorrell allowed me to share this fantastic graphic created by her daughter Elizabeth.

The idea sprang from a conversation at the society between Lisa and fellow CGS-member, Tim Cox. They were remembering the "old days" before the internet and Lisa was commenting that most of her work had been done the "hard way." She explains:

During the conversation I casually said that researching on the Internet was like the tip of an iceberg – that there was so much more out there in libraries, courthouses, cemeteries, etc. Tim thought a graphic would be an excellent way to explain the idea.

At Tim's urging Lisa decided to pursue the idea of a graphic and took the idea to her daughter Elizabeth, a sophomore studying Art and Graphic Design at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. Lisa reports that Elizabeth had fun with the concept and the result speaks for itself.

Lisa and Tim discussed using the graphic as a fundraiser for the society. Lisa shared this idea:

What would be nice is to have a poster of it in every research facility – especially those with computers – to remind them that so little of their research will be found on the internet.

I was so impressed with the outcome of this meeting of CGS minds that I asked if I could share it on the blog. Any suggestions out there for ways to spread the word and use the graphic? Please leave a comment.

Elizabeth Gorrell obviously has a bright future. Great job, Tim, Lisa and Elizabeth!

Graphic reprinted with permission of Elizabeth and Lisa Gorrell.


Anonymous said...

I love this! Can I please have permission to include the image in a blog post?


Dean Richardson
[email protected]

Anonymous said...

I love this image! Please sign me up to buy the poster as soon as you have it printed.

Can I please have permission to put the image from your site in a blog post?


Dean Richardson

Janet Iles said...

What a wonderful representation of where one can do genealogical and also historical research and that Internet is still only the tip of the iceberg! Even with the growth of materials on the Internet, there is so much more out there to be discovered in the various repositories.

Debbie Blanton McCoy said...

While it would be nice to have one of these posters in every research facility, the majority of the people who need to see it, won't ever go into a research facility and will never see it. I would love to have one to put on my website and one for my blog. Of course, that defeats the idea of making money for the CGS. Maybe you could add the CGS logo to it and use it more as an advertisement.

Thomas MacEntee said...

I think that with the April 20th premiere of "Who Do You Think You Are" on NBC, many people will migrate to the Internet for their first taste of genealogy research. I think societies and associations need to somehow capitalize on this, have a web/social media presence that can channel them back to their local organizations.

What about working with Geneabloggers on this? Could I create a badge using the graphic that somehow goes to a listing of local and national groups?

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a good article title to me. How about writing an article about what IS out there and sending it to a beginning genealogy magazine (Discovering Family History comes to mind-they accept submissions). That way you would reach your target market.

Deb said...

It's a no brainer. If you want to make money, make a poster and sell it. If you just want to spread the word, put it in a format on the web where we can print ourselves and post.

Joan Wright said...

Yes, this is wonderful. We would like to use this on our genealogical society website and newsletter. Would be willing to pay fee. Keep us informed, found you on EOGN.

bjn2727 said...

I had a young fellow call me at my church about some records he needed about his family history. He could find his GG Grandfather, but not the GG Grandmother. The genealogical "Brick Wall". Told him to come down and we would take a look.

Turns out that who ever transcribed the names for the internet had misread the first letter of the last name. No wonder he could not find her. Had a happy camper.
Lesson learned.

Sharon Burns said...

Many people are visual learners and this poster will help researchers visually see why it is important to use orginial records to document events in one's life. It helps researchers understand the perspective that information obtained from undocumented sources only provides clues as to where orginal records can be found if they exist: in libraries, archives and courthouses.

I am also the editor of our genealogial society quarterly and would like to have permission to include this article and graphic in the next publication.

Dallan Quass said...

What a *fantastic* graphic! Can I have permission to post it on my blog and in our family history center?

Trevor Hanson said...

I saw this in Dick Eastman's newsletter and I'll be mentioning it in 'SussexLink' the e-newsletter of the Sussex Family History Group (UK).

Ron Filion said...

What a beautiful graphic! I think the best place would be public libraries. They attract the general public and would get the most exposure there. I would also open it to the internet to allow anyone to post it for free. Also, it would make a great t-shirt (see Cafepress). Lastly, if it's going to benefit CGS, I would put CGS' name on it! :)

Diana Ritchie said...

This is a wonderfully visual display of the idea that the internet it NOT where to find everything! I think that we should all have it posted on our computers somewhere :-)

Anonymous said...

Would love to buy a copy of the poster or have permission to use the image. It is great.

Anonymous said...

A great visual to highlight an important point. I hope Elizabeth Gowall gets credit for this work from her professors - what an asset to her portfolio!

Geolover said...

This is a wonderful graphic - thank you so much for posting it. If I could have permission to use it, it could go in genealogical responses to message board queries when the essence of the advice is "do research in local records."

Thank you so much!
frostfree12 at

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