Genealogy anyone?

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MaryMumsy

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Around 20-25 years ago I started poking around in family history (for an entirely ulterior reason). I have continued sporadically and have easily 4 file drawers of unorganized print-outs, original documents, old photos, etc.

I now have a scanner and have decided I want to put it all in a family tree program. But which one? I have one relative who uses the one on Familysearch.org. Another who uses the one on Ancestry.com. And a family acquaintance who uses Family Tree Maker. My concerns about Familysearch and Ancestry are that they are web based and searchable. FTM lives on your computer. I think I like that better. Anyone have pros or cons or other suggestions?

MM
 

lolabelle

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Personally, I love Ancestry because the information is shared with others. I've found distant relatives because our trees have linked up. In truth, I'm not sure if FTM allows you to do that or not--but it's a great (and necessary) feature if you want to try to go as far bask as possible. I'm also not the best with technology and find Ancestry very easy to use. I have also really appreciated the pictures and old photos that others have added on certain family members that I am not as familiar with so that I can see them and learn more.

Again--I haven't used FamilySearch or FamilyTreeMaker so I can't attest to them, but I've been very satisfied with Ancestry. Hope you find one that suits you best!
 

shadowsminder

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I used Ancestry when it was mostly free to use. One feature I like are recommendations. The system continues to notify me of matches. My tree was partially private, so Ancestry members had to ask for my permission to view details that weren't public. A few people asked about my early American ancestors.

Since I first joined Ancestry.com, I've burned through several computers and lost data to a few malware crashes. Not all of my notes are on paper. I like that my tree is backed up on someone else's server.

However, I don't think you'll feel comfortable with an online option if you're worried about bots or people scrawling through your tree. Maybe focus on FTM and consider if anything about it bothers you enough to consider alternate options.
 

MaryMumsy

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I'm pretty ignorant of many things computer/internet. I'm hoping to store it on "the cloud", and be able to transfer it to thumb drives to share with other family members.

I have a membership on Ancestry, but don't necessarily want to give them money for the rest of my natural life. I don't know if you still have access to your tree if your membership lapses.

I've used Family Search a little bit. There is no fee. But I don't like their displays, and I've never seen a tree where there are photos etc.

When I first started researching I started printing a hard copy of everything I found. Some of those pages no longer exist. Also printed out emails from distant relatives whose paths crossed with mine.

MM
 

MaeZe

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I got some beginner's help from the big Mormon Church here. Nice volunteer showed me all sorts of useful stuff. I haven't been back but I really want to. They use the Ancestry data base but they had other sources like gravestone search engines.

There are some murder suicides in my family, a lot of alcoholism and they were in the dust bowl in the 20s. Later I have two aunts that ran a brothel. Just not enough time in my life for all the things I want to do.
 

Maryn

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Mr. Maryn is into genealogy a bit. He's got an Ancestry membership but agrees he doesn't want to pay for it forever and ever, and they're maddeningly unclear about whether you can access your own information once your membership expires. So he is adding data to the free collaborative site WikiTree, where there is only one entry per human, as well as to Find A Grave.

My own research--I'm not nearly as interested as he is--I keep both at Ancestry and in a computer document that's not a tree, just word processing. I separate it by generation. It contains full names; dates and locations of birth, marriage(s), and deaths; parents' names; siblings' names; childrens' names; and place of burial if known. I don't save the documentation that led to these conclusions there, and there's plenty of room to make notes about dates that are hazy, or the fact that there seem to be two George Washington Shellitos born in the same year in the same county. If time and interest permitted, I'd do more than my own direct lineage, but once I got three or four generations back, researching the brothers and sisters of my line just turns up one farm family after another, with almost no additional information. Meh.

Anyway, Wikitree and FindAGrave are both free.
 

kikazaru

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My local library has a membership to Ancestry which allows anyone to research on their computer. If your library does this as well, this might be an option for those who just want to browse now and then, and not maintain a membership.
 

MaryMumsy

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Good information from all, thank you. Like MaeZe I've found some really interesting stuff. But no brothels, yet :)

MM
 

greendragon

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I've been using Family Tree maker since it was DOS based. Yup, really. I've been doing genealogical research since I was 15 which was... uh... 35 years ago, almost. Yikes! OK, but FTM - it does have a habit of updating, and not necessarily playing nice with earlier files after a certain number of upgrades. However, as long as you save as a GEDCOM each upgrade, you should be fine. You can upload that GEDCOM to Ancestry.com or any other site. It's portable with very little loss of anything. I have used Ancestry from before when it was free. Every once in a while, I'll gather up my newest 'thorns' to untangle and pay for a month, untangle everything I can, then cancel again.
 

Ol' Fashioned Girl

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I've been on Ancestry and I use FTM... FTM used to be affiliated with Ancestry, then they sold out to "The Software MacKiev Company". The program still interfaces with Ancestry as well as FamilySearch. You get little 'leaves' for Ancestry leads and you get little green boxes with FamilySearch - both. Even if your membership to Ancestry lapses, you still have an account complete with access to your own information/uploads/trees... you even get to see a list of leads to other information belonging to other members; but you can't actually access their info without a current membership. Your access to the information at FamilySearch is free - and can be automatically downloaded into the program once you compare it to what you know and accept it as verified for your purposes.

As for the program... I've been using it for years and years. I settled on it after using several freebies and stuck with it when FTM sold out to MacKiev. They support it well. It's got some great features for both input, tracking, comparing, reporting, charting and outputting. It's got plenty of space (limited, I suppose, only by the size of your hard drive) for documents and pictures. I recommend it.
 
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MaryMumsy

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Thanks, greendragon and OFG. I remember DOS, liked DOS. I was leaning towards FTM, and now two more votes.

MM
 

Justobuddies

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I am using ancestry for mine, which I like because most of my family immigrated within the last 3 generations. It's so very hard to find information without being willing to share some of that tree to make connections with family that still live in the old countries. Also, did the DNA test to verify some of the family rumors, it helps to find a few connections that I wouldn't have found in other ways since it all integrates together it really helps to fill the width of the family tree. Another pros for me is integration with smart phone, making it easy to show my tech illiterate father interesting family stuff. I believe that the information you upload is stored indefinitely, even if you let the membership lapse. The main benefits of the membership is in getting to make those connections with others' trees.

The cons for me, are the price, and that some of the matches you may get may be full of erroneous information, since it matches based on what other people have in their trees, even if there's no support for their claims.
 

Marlys

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I use Ancestry, and a few months ago purchased RootsMagic for keeping an offline tree as backup. It syncs with Ancestry and downloads all media files (like census and other documents) attached to your tree. RootsMagic does pretty much everything FTM does for less than half the price.
 

Orianna2000

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I don't save the documentation that led to these conclusions there, and there's plenty of room to make notes about dates that are hazy, or the fact that there seem to be two George Washington Shellitos born in the same year in the same county.
Ooh! How far apart were they born? In the old days, the infant mortality rate was so high, a lot of people used to name subsequent children after earlier children who'd died. So if a baby named George died at birth, the next baby to come along would be given the exact same name. I think it's kind of creepy to do that, but apparently it was common.

Although, sometimes weird coincidences do happen. I did a census search of my name awhile back, because my first name is very rare, and my last name is uncommon. I found a handful of people with the same first name, but one person in the USA has the EXACT same name as me, first and last. That by itself is kinda weird, but according to the census info, she's also the same age as me. And she lives in a town that's not too far from a place I lived briefly as a teenager. I'm still not 100% convinced she's a legit person.
 

MaryMumsy

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Orianna: I think you are confusing the census with the commercial "find a person" websites. The most recent census available for public view is 1940. In 2020 we will be able to see 1950. Those commercial sites gather info from numerous sources, but not the census.

MM
 

Orianna2000

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Orianna: I think you are confusing the census with the commercial "find a person" websites.
MM
Whatever site it was, it either said it was census info or it said something to give that impression. It might have been intentionally misleading, I don't know. I have also found this person on glorified White Pages sites, but that's more recently.
 

Maryn

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Ooh! How far apart were they born? In the old days, the infant mortality rate was so high, a lot of people used to name subsequent children after earlier children who'd died. So if a baby named George died at birth, the next baby to come along would be given the exact same name. I think it's kind of creepy to do that, but apparently it was common.
Yeah, my records are peppered with "second of his name," in at least one case where the first child to have the name lived long enough to father a son named after himself. So there's John Smith, his son John Smith Jr., and after the original John Smith dies, his parents have another child and call him John Smith. He's about the same age as the other living John Smith, who's his nephew, and in the same town. No chance of confusion there, by cracky!

Although, sometimes weird coincidences do happen. I did a census search of my name awhile back, because my first name is very rare, and my last name is uncommon. I found a handful of people with the same first name, but one person in the USA has the EXACT same name as me, first and last. That by itself is kinda weird, but according to the census info, she's also the same age as me. And she lives in a town that's not too far from a place I lived briefly as a teenager. I'm still not 100% convinced she's a legit person.
My first name (which isn't Maryn) is common enough but its spelling is quite unusual. My surname is ordinary but not especially common; we're the only ones in a metro area of about a half million. Yet in Toronto there's a woman with an identical first and last name. Luckily she's fairly impressive, a college administrator and an athlete. If you're going to get confused with another person, I could do a lot worse.

Maryn, whose father had a guy with the same name who kited checks
 

akiwiguy

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I dabbled for a bit a few years ago, and thinking about it it's kind of odd how little I really knew about my ancestry before then. I didn't persevere, but so far as my great-grandfather goes, the original immigrant to New Zealand, some family member had compiled a small book on him and his family...and back from him I could trace some lines back quite a way in Cornwall. When I visited Cornwall a few years back, I did sense the special significance one feels of visiting a faraway place that was the home of so many ancestors.

Something slightly spooky, a few months ago my best friend going way back was visiting Cornwall and I noticed a facebook post of him looking in a churchyard for headstones of his ancestors. Something rang a bell about the place name, and when I googled I realised he was a few Km from the parish that my ancestors were from. It struck me as odd that after decades of being best friends, it would never have occurred to me that literally on the opposite side of the world our ancestors in small neighbouring rural villages almost certainly would have known each other.
 

Jason

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My maternal grandmother was a huge genealogist. She even went on trips back to the UK to get gravestone etchings and rubbings to help document the family tree. Through her hard work and dedication, there's now a scrolled up genealogical history of the family dating back to Lillie Langtry (maternal side) and Jesse James (paternal side). I unscroll it from time to time, and marvel at all her hard work - all before the age of the internet. Truly stunning.
 

ajaye

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Something slightly spooky, a few months ago my best friend going way back was visiting Cornwall and I noticed a facebook post of him looking in a churchyard for headstones of his ancestors. Something rang a bell about the place name, and when I googled I realised he was a few Km from the parish that my ancestors were from. It struck me as odd that after decades of being best friends, it would never have occurred to me that literally on the opposite side of the world our ancestors in small neighbouring rural villages almost certainly would have known each other.
That's really interesting. Have you checked whether they emigrated together?
 

Albedo

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Mum managed to chase one branch of her ancestry back to 16th century Gloucestershire. For the rest of the family, it's like they all spontaneously appeared in the early 19th century. I can only assume that every other one of my ancestors was fleeing the law under a false identity.
 

Kjbartolotta

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On the subject of immigration stories, uncle on my mom's side discovered we came to America mid-1700's when our common ancestor was hit over the head and stuffed in a leather sack. Apparently he had two mean uncles who didn't want him to get his inheritance, thus the sack and the unexpected trip to America.

This makes finding common ancestors easy, as they all know some form of the sack story. Quite a way to end up here.
 

akiwiguy

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That's really interesting. Have you checked whether they emigrated together?

I very much doubt it, else I'd have been aware of a connection between the families. I'd be surprised if members of the family never met or at least knew of each other back in Cornwall, but there's nothing to suggest the emigrants were friends to the degree they'd decided to emigrate together.

This thread inspired me to casually dig around amongst archives of the history of the farming community where my Great Grandfather settled in NZ, and a photo caught my eye a few minutes ago. It is of the staff of the local dairy factory c.1911, and the caption states "All of the men in the photo whose names are known were killed on active duty in WWI, except one and he was seriously wounded." Puts life in perspective somewhat.

- - - Updated - - -

 

kmarcks

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My grandparents on my mother's side came to the United States from Slovakia around 1914, leaving my aunt and uncle behind with their grandparents. After arriving in this country two more girls were born with my mother being the youngest. It wasn't until 1921 that the two older children traveled to the United States on a steamship named Mongolia when they were 15 and 9 years old to rejoin the rest of the family.
 

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