I recently thought back to those as I am fact-checking my current historical fiction. Needless to say my search history would not give anyone pause, but it was interesting to reflect that before the internet my searches--some already frustrating--may have been even more so. My searches have led me as far as afield as when tea, and what kinds, would have been available in Britain during the 1810s--which lead me down some rabbit holes and I now know more about the Opium Wars and how that interacts with the larger history of trade. I now know more about gin, champagne, and bourbon as well. Those led to more interesting results.
But what my searching has shown me, is there are a lot of really passionate people in this area. A lot of the culture, clothing, housing, has come from blogs in addition to other sources. A lot of digital archives of census records and museum archives has helped provide detail and depth in ways that surprised me. The internet has helped make a lot of passion projects reality. In thinking back to my librarian training days, I am reminded that the ability to access information is a privilege hard-won whether that information is on the popular form of decorating or on accurate maps.