When I first started creating my family tree (around the turn of this century in 1999/2000), I started with pen and paper. I had a set of old typed up pages from a great aunt who started recording her family history. I found some family charts at my local library and started filling in everything I knew of my family, starting with my son first. As I continued on, I used the internet to aid in my research. This lead me to some wonderful websites full of not only records and other data, but a community of other genealogists who were both friendly and helpful to this newbie.
Some of the most frequented sites I visited were:
There were also a few really good links that I visited often, but over the last 17 years, they have changed or closed down.
The very first genealogy software that I purchased was Family Tree Maker. They were actually on floppy disks and when I upgraded to a newer version they were on CDs. I was so amazed at everything I could enter in these programs, and I could easily search through my growing tree and work on specific families or areas. Then came Ancestry.com and its subscription-based online program. It was quite buggy in the beginning, but over time, quickly became a huge deal for everyone to store their GEDCOM on the internet, and link all of their records together. I always kept updated versions of FTM to create charts and pages/books, and to manually enter some data, but it was quite time consuming to duplicate data. Then came the ability to SYNC both Ancestry and Family Tree Maker!!! Life became so wonderful!!! Working on my family tree really took off as I could easily go back and forth between each and continue to search many records and other data.
Since I had a MacBook computer, I also invested in a Mac-based program called iFamily for Leopard, now known as iFamily for Mac. This little program was truly amazing!! There were very little limitations to it and you could really build your tree based on REAL information, instead of guided information like from FTM. Example: If you had a woman who was married multiple times and had multiple children by several different men (some married to, some not) you could specify the relationships exactly, instead of an assumed marriage or adoption relationship. Well, the creator of iFamily has passed away and his son has taken it over, but really, it is just a dying program. I wish someone would really help this guy carry on his fathers legacy and expand iFamily with better support and more updates. But I digress…..
After a hard drive crash, I luckily had the sense to back everything up on an external drive. Getting my programs back on the new drive and learning about the many changes in FTM and Ancestry, I am super excited at the possibility of growing my tree even more! At my highest, I think I had about 3500 people in my tree, but I know some of the farther out generations became jumbled, with duplications and incorrect links to the wrong families. So in 2015, I decided that since the syncing capabilities between Ancestry and FTM were so awesome, I would basically start everything fresh and build a whole new tree!
And I did just that! So here I am now working on my family tree again, but this time, I now have this lovely website that I can also use as a reference tool. Family Tree Maker was taken over by a company called MacKiev, and Ancestry is working with them on a new version of Family Sync. Boy I am excited to see how this new merger will look and act. I even signed up to be a Beta Tester! So we shall see what the future holds my gen-bugs! Until next time!