Friday, March 25, 2011

How Can I Start A Family Tree?

There are so many options.  When I decided to start finding out more about our family I started to write down what I could remember.  I drew a picture of a tree, and put names on the branches.  The names I could remember that is.  After two hours of scratching I looked down and what did I have.  A confused mess of chicken scratches.  I knew I had to find a way to write it down so that I could recall the information later.  Thank God I only had a few family members.

Note: Take five minutes and think back about the names in your family.  How far back can you remember?  Most of us can remember our grand parents names.  Can you remember your great grandparents names?  I can’t remember anyone ever mentioning one of my great grand parents.  After spending two years on the family history I realized most of us can’t remember anything farther back than three generations.

After investing half a day, I was already overwhelmed.  So I got on the Internet and Googled “family history”.  Over a million hits.  (A million places to go) I looked over the first page, looked at the second page, and by the third page I was overwhelmed again. So I Googled “organizing your family history”.  Only half a million hits this time.  On the first page I found a link to a program called Family Tree Maker.  That sounded like exactly what I needed.  Something the drew the tree for me and kept track of my branches.  Great option but being financially challenged stopped me in my tracks.  I was getting discouraged.  I suppose you are reading this blog to get words of wisdom from an experienced genealogist.  I guess you could call me experienced because I made a lot of mistakes, but genealogist I had to look up in the dictionary.  You want me to tell you what to do?  If I were to start over I would do the following.

1.  Make a list of all the family names you can remember.
2.  Organize from the start.
3.  If you find out something, write it down.
4.  Interview every family member you can.

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