Yeah, yeah, I know... Not everything is online

Family history has become amazing in efficiently and ability to be worked on when I have time to work on it. Usually, my uniform is a pulled back pony tail and my pajamas. Perhaps a water bottle is close by. My family is usually snoozing and I can't sleep. Or maybe, this is my idea of fun when I still daylight mommy time.

More times than I care to count, I've been told that not everything is online. It's usually folks at least 10 years older than me telling me this. And, the comment is not a joke when shared.

21st Century Family Historian by Devon Lee
I would so love to be snooty in my response but that's not going to do anyone any favors. Instead, I wrote a whole chapter in my new book 21st Century Family Historian about the two sides of the statement 'Not everything is online".

On the one hand, family historians should remember than not every record is currently available online at Ancestry, FindMyPast, or FamilySearch. Some boots on the ground work will be necessary. However, there is plenty of work we can do prior to going in-person to a home, cemetery, or repository that will enable us to be more efficient and productive. I learned this first hand in my 2012 trip to Ohio.

Check out my book 21st Century Family Historian, available at to learn about how you can use what is online to improve the quality of your in-person research trips. And the next time you hear someone say, "Not everything is online," just smile and nod. They're right, but they're also not telling a full truth.


  1. What??? Not everything is online? You're kidding, right? Okay, snark font off now, ha. I totally agree that the net is the best place to START looking. There is so much that IS online-- more by the day.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

    1. Happy Thanksgiving right back at you. I'm so glad you felt the sarcasm with a point. Yes, not everything is online, but it really is one of the best places to start.


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