So far, my attempts at using the internet to get started working on my family tree have been unsuccessful. Maybe I am using the search engines on the genealogy websites incorrectly. Perhaps my living relatives and ancestors are just incredibly difficult to find. In any case, I haven't been able to find anything of significant value so far.
It seems to me that one can find absolutely everything through the Google search engine. Don't know how to spell a word correctly? Google it! Trying to remember the name of the actor in that movie you just watched? Google it! Thinking about this made me wonder what would happen if I tried using Google to find information about my relatives and ancestors.
Just for fun, I decided to start by googling myself. I typed my first name and unmarried surname into the box, and surrounded them by question marks. Not too long ago, Google started using this autocomplete feature. Today, it wants to autocomplete my name, by adding the word loyola after it. I'm fairly certain that Loyola is a college. It's not one I've ever attended, though. So, thanks, Google, but no thanks! I wont be needing you to autocomplete that for me.
What results did I get from Google? The first two links are for women with my name who have an account on LinkedIn, and who are not me. Next, is a link to a series of images for, well, my name. Interesting! None of the photos turned out to be me. I'm fairly certain that I found an image from the “Twilight” movie in there, somewhere. There are people with my name from colleges I never attended, and a few who are on Facebook, Classmates.com, Reunion.com, and whatever MyLife is. None are me.
Switching gears, I decide to back up a generation. What happens if I put my father's name into Google, surrounded by question marks, and hit enter? I get a link to 123People.com, which wants to charge me money before it shows me the records it found. There is someone with my father's name on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reunion.com. There is an obituary for someone with his first and last name, but the wrong middle name.
What happens if I back up another generation, and enter my father's mother's name? Two Facebook pages, which are not her's. She passed away before Facebook even existed. There is a link for her name to something called WikiWorldBook, which turns out to be for a young, blond, woman, who is not my grandmother. There is a list of marriage records, from a few years before she was born, and an obituary for someone with her name, who died a few years after she did. This was an interesting little experiment, even though it didn't provide me with any useful information.