Friday, June 6, 2008

Catch the Genealogy Bug!

My great-grandparents - the Bergmans.

I started working on genealogy soon after my first daughter was born. I was newly separated from the Air Force and was getting used to the idea of not going to work anymore. I loved staying at home with my new baby, but I wanted something stimulating to do. Genealogy gave me the feeling that I was accomplishing something, using my brain, and doing research. I love putting all of the pieces together and solving the family history puzzles.

For those of you just starting out, a great program to use (the one I use!) is Legacy. They have 2 versions available - the standard one is free and is perfect if you are just starting out. If you get really into it, then you'll want to pay to upgrade to the deluxe edition with all of the bells and whistles.

Another "must" I think is an subsciption. It's pricey, but definitely worth it if you're using it a bunch. They have TONS of databases - including census records (actual scanned copies), military records, scanned books, and much more.

I have enjoyed being able to use our family's history in our history studies. When we talked about the Civil War, I was able to show Ellie that we had ancestors on both sides of the war. I showed her their military pension packets which contained letters they wrote and descriptions of their ailments or wounds. When studying immigration, I was able to show her when and from where her ancestors immigrated from. It has really brought history alive.

I hope that some of you consider taking the time to start your family tree and preserve your family's history for future generations. Ask questions of your elderly family members and get their stories and first-hand knowledge before they are gone. My grandmothers both died before I started my genealogical journey and there are so many things I wish I could have asked them - mysteries that I have had to try to solve on my own. Get your kids involved in the research. It could be a family project!! There are a lot of "school" lessons in genealogy research - writing letters to courthouses, interviewing family members, recording your sources, typing and data entry, learning about the history of the area your ancestors lived in - or about the migration trails they traveled. The learning never stops :)

1 comment:

Genie Lane said...

I have just read your blog. I too have been researching my family history. I just love finding new leads.