One of the “parts” missing in my genealogy is many pictures of my ancestors. So it was a joyous event when I could use Google Earth, Earthpoint.com, and the land coordinates from his land patent papers to get an image of the exact tract of land where my great-grandfather John Schwans homesteaded in Aurora County, Dakota Territory in the 1880s. All traces of any farm buildings are long gone, but now I can envision where he “staked his claim.” (I’ve also used Google Earth to view Vreschen-Bokel, Germany, the town where he was born.)
And then today I helped a fellow genealogy researcher locate the farmland of her ancestor in Story County, Iowa, by using many of the same tools. Google Earth is truly an amazing tool. (Since her ancestor had not homesteaded in Iowa, I used information from the 1885 Iowa State Census.)
While it is true most genealogy records are not <yet> available online, it would be missing a lot by not using some of the new technology to scope out our past. Blending the old with the new bears results. It’s an exciting time to be researching our family history!