Thomasville Chapter DAR Features Technology For Genealogy

The April meeting of the Thomasville Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) featured a program by Melody Porter about the use of technology in genealogy research. Chapter Regent Charlotte Brown introduced the speaker.

Porter’s background is in IT as a software business analyst and project manager but she has been researching her genealogy for over 30 years. She specializes in Florida, Georgia and Native American research. 

Porter spoke about the use of technology and the digitization of records which is changing the way genealogy is done. She said FamilySearch has been doing genealogy since the early 1900s and has the largest collection of records. The organization began digitizing records in 1998 which are available for free on their website. These documents provide helpful information for individuals and genealogists doing research for family trees.

Other ancestry services such as began providing access to online documents through a paid subscription. Porter says that is more user friendly but the free service provided by has much more information available to all. 

Before documents were digitized by FamilySearch, they were only available through microfilm. Many of the digitized records haven’t been indexed yet, which doesn’t allow easy access to a record when searching by last name. This may involve scrolling through multiple documents to find the records.

In comparison uses a leaf image for hints or shows multiple records during a name search which is very helpful for the genealogist.

Digitization and online access is the way of the future for genealogy and provides access to documents without having to go to the courthouse or the archives. Websites like and have become successful because they allow you to search online for all types of records. 

Digitization has also allowed universities and college libraries, National Archives, and other organizations to better organize their records and to preserve deteriorating documents and old books which allows for easier access. This provides more storage, the backup of records and photos by uploading to the cloud and online storage servers. The quality of the digitization process is much better, which makes documents easier to read.

FamilySearch provides genealogy materials on their website at no charge and is subscription based.

Porter also recommended these genealogy websites when researching family history: MyHeritage, GenealogyBank, Find My Past,, FindaGrave, Fold3 for searching military records,, historical and genealogical societies, DAR and SAR. 

The American Ancestors website has information on Mayflower connections and immigration records can be found at Ellis Island and Castle Garden websites. Another helpful and interesting website is DeadFred which can be used to identify and search for old family photos.

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism. It’s members are descended from the patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War. With more than 190,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide, DAR is one of the world’s largest and most active service organizations.

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