There is nothing like sitting in an old, dusty courthouse or library poring over documents in search of your ancestors. I enjoy holding them in my hand; studying every word and line to decipher its meaning, or looking for familiar names. As a student, I rarely have the opportunity to travel around the country to research, and to be honest, I trust my eye better than anyone else. In lieu of giving in to my wanderlust I rely on the increasing amount of online resources available to help in my search for my ancestors.
Keep in mind that there are still many archives and repositories you should visit because there is a lot of information that has not been digitized, but it makes it more convenient for those who cannot physically travel or have a lot of time. It can also be a great tool for those just starting their family tree research. There are step-by-step guides to follow that will teach you how to make the most effective use of your time and effort. You can plan your next research trip, or order documents and photographs online from local historical societies, and even large repositories like NARA.
In this article I have listed some of my favorite online resources that I use regularly, as well as some local ones that may be of use for researchers in the state of Wisconsin. Visit my blog at rootstories.wordpress.com to find out how I incorporate these resources into my research, and perhaps find inspiration to discover your own family history.