Researching our ancestors can be a daunting task, figuring out which records have survived over the years as we try to document major events in an ancestor’s life.

One must always keep in mind that county boundaries change. That is why you need to determine the approximate location of your ancestors’ land and then which counties it might have been a part of.

Looking back over the past 40 years since this column began, the changes in access to genealogical information and research sources are immense.

In May 1977, when we started, genealogists had to research by visiting a records center in person.

And that visit was only after they had mined whatever family sources they turned up from interviews or searching family materials.

Genealogists often talk with people who believe misinformation about genealogy. In “Busted!,”a feature in the May/June issue of “Family Tree Magazine” by Julie Cahill Tarr, the author lists 10 genealogy myths and sets the record straight.

Myth No. 1 is surnames were changed at Ellis Island. Actually, lists were compiled in Europe. So any changes happened in Europe, sometimes by the immigrants themselves.

“Start Here,” by Sunny Jane Morton in Family Tree Magazine’s January-February issue, starts off the new year with the 25 websites that she says are a must to use.

I will mention here first the ones I was not familiar with. contains a lot of how-to articles, many for beginners. The Genealogical Learning Center at is recommended and contains research materials.

Cyndi’s List is one of those staples of genealogy research, the place to go to find information and web links for any subject you are researching.

This month, it celebrates 20 years since being founded in 1996 by Cyndi Ingle.

The site and the Internet have grown tremendously since then. Hopefully, readers check her site from time to time for leads on where to go.

Today’s genealogists have lots of options as far as the ultimate goal for their efforts.

There are other options besides just locating one’s ancestors and kinfolk, and putting them on charts and on a genealogy computer program.

One is creating a family website to share the information, or placing them on or You could create a Kindle book on

The DNA program recently added two new features that make it possible, for the first time, to really compare results and understand how you might be related.

When you click on a DNA match, you will see a small “i” in an icon. When clicked, it shows the total centimorgans (cMs) you share with your DNA match.

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