The invention of the internet (in the 1960's, before Al Gore had even heard of it) is arguably the best thing to ever happen to genealogical research. It can be quite easy to build up your family tree quickly online. Up until recently, I had been doing just that, using only online genealogy resources like Ancestry.com to research my family tree. Through my research, I had found mention of several books relating to my ancestors and many of them are in digitized form available through various libraries. I browsed them and gleaned the information I needed for my tree.
However, there are many of these books I have come across that aren't available yet online. So, I began to seek these genealogy books out and found some physical copies available for purchase. I got a great deal on a genealogy book on eBay and another one from Amazon. They are a wealth of information, not just in establishing connections within my tree, but in giving me a sense of what these individuals were like, how they lived, what life must have been like for them. These books gave me more than just the facts I put in my tree, they gave me background and breathed life into my ancestors that hadn't really been there before. It was kind of neat to see that all out on the printed page.
I learned one of my cousins was an inventor and mechanical genius. There were anecdotes galore about how he used his talents to build a fortune and a good life. Some of my distant grandfathers were farmers and pillars of the community. They were men of integrity and were looked up to by their peers. Then, there were some who weren't quite so honorable. Yeah, we all have those somewhere in our tree. This was all information that couldn't be found online and is information that is priceless when talking about family.
So, while we have great new technology to help us in our family research, there's still something to be said about doing things "old school". When you hit a brick wall in your search, hit your local library. You might just find an ancestor there.
A while back, my sister (whom I got addicted to genealogy) went back home to help my mother out for a few days after her surgery. While she was home, she decided to look through the boxes and boxes of family photos my mother had collected over the years. She thought maybe there would be some photos and information to use in her family tree. Well, it was a genealogist's dream. Not only were there old pictures of our ancestors, but obituaries and military records as well. It was a treasure trove of family information, irreplaceable and priceless.
She brought home a lot of photos and documents to scan and put on our respective family trees at Ancestry.com. I'm anxious to see the documents she brought home, especially the Presidential Unit Citation my grandfather was awarded for his actions during World War II and the photo of my great grandpa "Shorty", whom I've been trying to find information on and whom I've heard stories about from my father. (He used to put 11 teaspoons of sugar in his coffee and then didn't stir it! LOL.)
While there's plenty of information available online, nothing can beat the highly personal (and generally more accurate) family collection of photos and information about your family and ancestors. The best place to start your genealogy search is in your family home.