So how does today's stay-at-home mom that lives far away from her homeland conduct research? Through the joy of the Internet and the lightening quick speed of the U.S. Postal Service. I must admit that I am proud of what I've accomplished on my family research without having left my desk. Here's some of my favorite tips:
1. Subscriptions. I couldn't live without my Ancestry.com subscription. In fact, I maintain my family tree on the site publicly. Through this I've received numerous queries on family that have led to massive brick wall destruction. I also maintain subscriptions to fold3.com, Newspaperarchive.com and genealogybank.com. But you don't always have to pay for these subscriptions. Check out your local library for genealogy sites they subscribe to, sometimes you are able to access them from your home. Some large genealogy libraries also offer library cards to "out-of-towners" for a fee, which grants you access to their subscription sites at a cost less than purchasing your own subscriptions. Keep in mind that Ancestry.com is usually only available from within your library.
2. Google. Have you Googled your ancestors? As part of my research checklist I always do a Google search for each ancestor. You never know what other researchers have posted online. And don't just look at the first page of results, flip through a few pages. I've found worthwhile links on the fourth and fifth pages of results. Also try a search in Google books.
3. WorldCat.org. WorldCat.org is a website that lists the catalog of libraries from across the world that I have already sang the praise of here. If a library includes their catalog on WorldCat.org, it will list all their holdings which could include books, articles and archival material. I found letters written by my third great-grandfather through a catalog listing on WorldCat.org. Can you say Sah-weet?
4. FamilySearch.org. What can I say, it's a great resource. Of course you can look for your ancestors through their searchable database. But also check out records that haven't yet been transcribed. FamilySearch has countless record images for viewing that are not yet available in their search engine. I was able to locate the birth record of my fourth great-grandfather in Norfolk, England, just by browsing through FamilySearch's Norfolk Bishop Transcripts, 1585-1941. It does take a little more time, but it is well worth the effort. A good way to locate these types of records is to visit the FamilySearch wiki, which is yet another great option from the FamilySearch folks. And this may make your head explode, but you can also conduct a search for genealogy books from their homepage.
I can see that you are agog with the opportunities available from sitting on your bum. Nothing here is rocket science and you are probably using them now, but I hope that I have shared some new uses from some old friends. These are just some of my old friends. What sites have worked for you?