In past lessons, we have discussed how immigrants
were not alone; that they often immigrated with others, or followed
friends and family to the New World. The same is true about family historians.
Usually, they are not the only persons interested in a particular ancestor.
Others are also researching your ancestors, and especially your immigrants.
Finding those other researchers is an important part of immigrant origins
research. Indeed, the concept of locating the results of previous researchers'
efforts is a primary axiom of genealogical research. But nowhere is
it more important than with research into the origins of immigrants.
While other researchers may have used the same sources
you have access to, they may also have been able to use additional sources.
Sometimes they have access to family sources of which you are not aware.
Perhaps their research was accomplished at an earlier time period, and
the sources no longer exist, such as a lost family Bible. Previous research
belongs in the category we call "compiled records," since they are,
in reality, a compilation of the various records (sources) that other
researchers have used over the years. Such sources are usually published
in books and articles, or they exist as manuscripts in various libraries
or archives. However, an increasing amount of previous research can
be found via your computer. Some sources are on CD-ROM, some are on
the Internet, and some are available in both formats.