"Family history online: A wealth of research sites to investigate"By Carol Gibbs Matagorda County TXGenWeb

   Since sheltering in place is necessary in Matagorda County for the time being, especially during the Easter season, families could use some of their time to share family stories and do some online family history research.  
   Family stories are often lost because they are never written down.  
   Now would be a good time to start writing.  
   Many grandparents are limited to only using phone calls and FaceTime to contact their grandchildren.  
   What an excellent time for them to relate a story to the grandchildren from their childhoods.  
   Another good activity is to get out those old family pictures and show them to the children.  
   While you’re looking at them, be sure to label each one for future generations.
With the popularity of TV shows like “Who Do You Think You Are,” “Long Lost Relatives,” and “Finding Your Roots,” as well as DNA testing, more and more families are searching for their ancestors.  
   Libraries are still excellent places to research family history, but during the pandemic, they are not an option.  
   The internet now offers many opportunities to researchers that were not available a few years ago.  
   Some are paid sites, but the following sites are free.
   The USGenWeb is staffed by volunteers and covers the entire country.  
   There is a web site for every county in every state.
   This is the url for the Matagorda County site.
   Find A Grave was created in 1995 and is a one-stop site for burials around the world.  
   Most of the entries are for the United States, but there are also entries from other countries.  
   Searches can be by name or cemetery.  
   Sometimes it takes a few tries to find someone because it searches by the name as it was entered by the contributor.  
   Registration is free if you would like to enter some of your family members or friends.  
   You might see the face of one of your ancestors for the first time on one of the memorials.  
   You can also add photos of people or markers.  
   You can search for famous people as well.
The Portal to Texas History includes primary source materials, photographs and many newspapers from around the state.  
   It is a good place to search for your ancestors and possibly living relatives.  
   If you click the Explore by tab, you can search for resources from each county in Texas.
   A good example of a Portal resource is the Palacios Beacon which can be found at this url.
   FamilySearch requires researchers to register for a free account before using the site.  
   It has a wealth of information from around the world.  
   By clicking search, a country or state can be chosen and all of the resources for that region will appear.  
   Most are searchable.  
   For example, in Texas you can search obituaries, birth, death and marriage records, naturalizations, Civil War service records, World War II Draft Registrations and census records 1850 – 1940 to name a few.
   One of the more unique record groups is the Matagorda County School Census Records, 1923 – 1946.
   These records for Collegeport in 1910 were transcribed from one of the censuses available on FamilySearch.
Matagorda County For Kids: Young and Old is a good place to learn more about Matagorda County.
This page offers walking, driving and virtual tours.  
   The Lookup Bay City tour can be done from your computer.
Simply type 1708 6th Street 77414 into Google and you can use your “Google car” to drive around the square looking for the corbelling photos on the lookup tour.  
   Just click street view to get started.  
   While you are driving in your “Google car” go to places anywhere in the United States where your relatives might have lived years ago that your children may never have had the opportunity to visit.  
   Just like the 1918 Flu Epidemic was pandemic, the current pandemic is certainly a historical event in our world.  
   Another idea is to chronicle your family’s journey through this time with pictures and stories.  
   Your children will be telling their grandchildren some day of their experiences.
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