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JanW.
10-02-2007, 06:25 PM
When climbing the family tree, we always start at the bottom and with ourself. You will be familiar with this information, and in gathering it you will learn the steps of gathering the information (without much headache to start) that you will need for each generation. Begin with your name, your date and place of birth, graduation date and place, marriage date and place, etc. and don't forget to write down special accomplishments or things of great interest.

We will do this for each generation until you can put the family tree together. The special notes that you make will help add some meat, or life to the story. It will also make great journaling for the digital heritage albums.

To keep your notes organized, you might get a 3 ring binder and some Family Group Sheets. As you complete these, put them into the binder for safe keeping. I keep a copy of my family group sheet and my source documents in plastic sleeves in the binder.

You may dowload a Family Group Sheet here in PDF format for free:

http://c.ancestry.com/pdf/trees/charts/famgrec.pdf

For those who already know about family trees, this lesson is a refresher. I wanted to start at rock bottom so that everyone can join in.

PLEASE feel free to post any questions here and I would love to hear what "you" are all waiting to learn. It will help organize the lessons.

TrishF
10-08-2007, 07:22 PM
Writing things down this way definitely helps the researcher to stay organized and even though those that know you and your family may be familiar with your personal accomplishments, future generations won't so it's important to keep this kind of a written record. Great advice Jan!

janalyn
10-10-2007, 08:17 PM
Sounds like a great plan. I always try to start with older generations and never quite know where to start so I just never start. I have a lot of information but I just never get it organized like I want it organized.

grambie
10-10-2007, 10:45 PM
I am trying to do our family history but it has been hard to even start. But thanks for the information and how to start. I am contacting my sister in the morning and we're going to try to get the dates together. I will be a frequent visitor to your section. I am trying to leave something back for my descendents since we are few between because of lack of information. Thanks again. HUGS!

Joba2
10-11-2007, 12:13 AM
I have sierra generations geneology software which is no longer supported and am concerned for this reason to even bother with another program.I think good old fashion paper records is sometimes the best! Easier to share with others who don't have computers and in places computer is not.

sharpli
10-11-2007, 09:17 AM
I have sierra generations geneology software which is no longer supported and am concerned for this reason to even bother with another program.I think good old fashion paper records is sometimes the best! Easier to share with others who don't have computers and in places computer is not.

My problem with specialty programs like this is that they only save things in their own format - and in ten years will we even be able to open those files?

Laser
10-11-2007, 10:38 AM
I am going to start my family tree. I have downloaded the Family record sheet and will do my best to get some filled out.

Any tips you can pass along to this novice on genealogy will be most welcome :)

I am using a Mac and would also welcome input on what applications you find the best for a Mac.

TrishF
10-11-2007, 09:23 PM
Joba2, I also use Generations Family Tree software for my genealogy. I have had no trouble with the program in any way and I've had it for several years. Sharpli, as long as you save your files as a gedcom there will always be viewers available that can read them.

While I agreee Laser, paper is an effective means of preserving your genealogy, transferring it to a program that you can share online with others is an exceptional benefit. Uploading your gedcom to places like RootsWeb where they can be viewed by others can introduce you to people that are researching the same lines as yourself and in many cases can add valuable information to what you already have.

There are several free genealogy programs available online that you can download. One that comes to mind is Personal Ancestry File (PAF) located at FamilySearch.org. It was created by the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) who are very involved with tracing their roots.

Pillowgirl
10-11-2007, 09:34 PM
So a Question or two...

1. Should I start with filling this out for me and my husband, then go up to my mom?

2. My mom has been married 4 times. My biological father was her 2nd husband, but I never knew him and don't really care about him. My mom's 3rd husband was my "Dad" and they were together for all of my childhood until he passed away. She is now married to someone I will never call dad, or even Stepdad really, I am too old for that :) How the heck am I to fill this form out for my next "branch up" as one would say?

TrishF
10-11-2007, 09:55 PM
I started with myself and my husband since these are the people you know the most about to begin with. I've also been involved in tracing his roots as well even though he is not the father of my children. I figure they can ask his family if they have questions about them. His Uncle has traced those lines already. Then I filled out a new one for each of my parents and it goes on from there.

In my opinion you could certainly use the man you know as your father and trace his family too if you wanted. If down the line your descendants are interested from a medical standpoint for any reason, that can cause a problem. If you decide to use a software program in conjunction with your written record, there are also allowances for additional marriages as well as any children of those marriages just like on the Family Group Sheets. Sometimes though, it is prudent to put aside any negative feelings for the sake of accuracy. You can certainly include comments that identify the man who you grew up knowing as your father to elaborate on the special bond you had with him.

That is just my personal opinion though.

Joba2
10-11-2007, 11:42 PM
Trish, it is neat to know you too are using Generations. If you are not concerned about it being unsupported then I won't be either.I did back up everything including gedcom files. I still think paper files can't be beat though cause that is what I take when I want to show relatives. I've read the newer family tree software is really improved with better charts etc.

Pillowgirl
10-11-2007, 11:44 PM
My biological father was adopted so there is no medical reason to include him that I know of. And since I know nothing about his medical issues, I just don't want to acknowledge him much, he's a jerkface meanie. Oh I can put that, right? HAHA

JanW.
10-12-2007, 11:52 AM
Pillow, if you do not want to acknowledge him in the tree, that is okay. Since you grew up knowing another daddy, and he will be the one that you share memories of, it seems logical that you would want him in the family tree. Should the need ever arise for biological, you at least have that knowledge.

JanW.
10-12-2007, 12:00 PM
So, how are we doing with the Family Group Sheets? Have you done your own? Perhaps your parents or grandparents? Did you get a binder to organize your paper sheets?

I see some reference to family tree programs here. I have Family Tree Maker, and have also use PAF (free from familysearch.org) and Generations. A file saved as gedcom should read in any program. If you are worried about being able to add information to it, that would be the way to go. If you are just worried about it being viewable, there are many programs now that will allow you to save a file in PDF format. I use it very often with my genealogy work.

Keep after the family group sheets, and keep asking questions. I'll post another lesson after the weekend, and maybe we can tie that lesson into a challenge for Heritage here at SAS!

Joba2
10-13-2007, 12:49 AM
What is pdf format? What kinds of programs do you need to write it?

TrishF
10-14-2007, 04:55 PM
PDF stands for Portable Document Format. Files in this format are only readable with Adobe Acrobat Reader. There is a free to use program called pdf995 which allows you to save word documents as pdf files as well as edit them and group more than one together as a multi page file.

PAF on the other hand is a program that is used to construct a family tree. As Jan mentioned, it is free to download and use from familysearch.org.

TrishF
10-14-2007, 04:58 PM
Jan, I know of Family Tree Maker and it is widely used among those who use genealogy programs. Like anything else, these programs have a bit of a learning curve which is why it is definitely worth the time to create a paper copy of your information before attempting to put it into any program!

Leslie
11-16-2007, 11:03 AM
Jan, I know of Family Tree Maker and it is widely used among those who use genealogy programs. Like anything else, these programs have a bit of a learning curve which is why it is definitely worth the time to create a paper copy of your information before attempting to put it into any program!

I use Family Tree Maker and found it to be a very easy program to learn. (Mine was a 2004 or '05 version and still works just fine for me!) It is very simple to use and the learning curve is not big. I am very satisfied with it. Regarding paper copies: I have all my information in both paper format and on the computer (the computer is my backup copy. PLEASE make sure you backup/make copies of your hard work!!!) By first writing the information that I find on paper and putting it in my binders then typing that information into the computer (where I put EVERYTHING - e.g. extended families that I am not working on that I will not put on paper, extra misc. info, etc. - regardless of whether I put it in my binders or not) I can often pick up on either information that I missed the first time or another area to research.

B.T.W. If a person was married more than once, reference all the marriages on the group sheets, but record each marriage on a different group sheet regardless of whether you intend to pursue that line or not. As stated previously, accuracy is what we are striving for.

TrishF
11-18-2007, 01:23 PM
Great advice Leslie! Nice to see you!

Marvelyn
12-21-2007, 12:58 PM
I made a big mistake when I first started my quest. I didn't put down where I got my inforamtion never realizing that I needed to do that for future reference. Now I have gone back and verified a lot of the information and still have more to do. I can't emphasize enough the importance of putting down your SOURCE for the information you have found.