Since my sister was here and since we talked of family memories, I have shifted gears and am spending more time on organizing the mountain of family history I have accumulated over the years. I had let it go by the wayside while working on my food storage and on my sewing endeavors. But I need to get back to preparing our family history to share with others in my family. None of my offspring or their offspring are showing signs of taking up where I leave off, but I need to remember that I was well into my 60's before 'genealogy bug' bit me.
When I got to the point where I needed a genealogy computer program to keep track of my findings, I tried out several. Some were too complicated. Others seemed like there was more interest in cool graphics than in entering information. Still others required the family information be sent on to their websites to be used for whatever purposes they wished. And still others stole information that I later found listed elsewhere.
I finally found a program that is free and easy to use and has no restrictions. It is 'Personal Ancestral File' from the Mormon website, 'FamilySearch.org.' In checking the Mormon website before writing this post I found, sadly, that they have discontinued that program and now offer online solutions. Lucky for me, I have saved my original download and when I have entered all I wish to enter, I can put the program and the information on a DVD and send it to any relatives who wish to view what I have entered.
When I first started this journey into researching my family, I found many websites where folks had uploaded their family tree information. I thought I had hit the motherlode of genealogical information until I discovered errors in the family relationships. Not only that, but specific errors were found in many different family trees. People were just copying someone else's work and claiming it as their own. I knew the work was wrong because I had personally known some of the people who were listed in error as to parental relationship or spousal relationships. Birth and death dates were often wrong. As were the names of places where the families had lived.
So I started doing my own research. Many state historical societies have websites that can be searched for birth, marriage and death information. Other websites have searchable Social Security information of the deceased. Another called 'Find A Grave' is searchable to find the burial locations of ancestors. I have found it reliable and useful.
Now I just enter into my program those that I know or knew personally and those for whom I have found to have proof of their existence. This way I know that the information I leave behind is true and accurate.
This research thing may seem as dry as dust to those who have no interest in family history, but I find it fascinating. I found details of one ancestor who, upon his arrival to North America spent a couple of years living in a cave. When he finally obtained a small farm, he was such a disagreeable neighbor that he was literally run out of town. Another has documented statements of his bravery during the Revolutionary War. And another was fined 6 months pay for being drunk on guard duty during the Civil War. It would seem that I have more rogues than heroes.
Not everyone needs to go to the lengths I have in finding my roots, but I think my grands need to know something of their history. They need to know that their great-grandfather on one side of the family carried on his family tradition of farming the land that had been in the family for generations, both milking cows and raising beef cattle. And another great-grandfather (my Dad) spent most of his adult life caring for his invalid wife, sometimes working three jobs in order to do it. Both of those men had a work ethic second to none. This is part my grand's heritage. They need to know.
Pears With Everything
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