One more tip for those of you looking to get started in genealogy: Don’t forget the library. You know, that place with tons of books in it that you don’t want to set foot in since you discovered the Internet. The Internet’s less reliable and the information on it definitely leans towards some subjects more than others, but Google’s always open and it’s faster to turn on the computer than it is to hop in the car and drive.
The St. Louis County Library, for example, offers access to U.S. Census data and historical biographies through HeritageQuest.com and access to numerous newspaper archives. It’s arguably as good as the $80/yearly packages offered by a lot of online services, and I’m already paying for it. Some of the newspaper archives are only available inside the library from its own computers, but there’s plenty of data available from home using your library card.
It’s worth a look to see what your local library offers.
I’m going to try to post again later today, and maybe tomorrow before I hit the road and head west.