Sunday, June 27, 2010

Family Trees

I've had the privilege of compiling family trees on both sides of my family.

Just so you know - it's a massive task. But it is also very very rewarding. If you are toying with the idea - go for it.

As far as software goes, PAF is the one. It is free, easy to use and does what you need. Even as an atheist I have to tip my hat to the mormons on this one. They're big on family history and the next time they knock on my door I will personally thank them before ripping into them about the bible condoning slavery, condemning homosexuality or Lot having sex with his daughters.

So how do you start a family tree?

First, and I can't stress how important this is, find the oldest living relatives you have and ring them straight away. Chat to them. I did this and got some names and this then, combined with the internet, managed to get my family tree 15 generations back. And my Auntie Dawn died six months later. I cannot stress how important this step is. And don't wait.

After you've done this, get PAF, learn how to use it, and put in the details your great aunt has just told you.

Contact all known members of your family and get all details you can. Most importantly, record congenital diseases and how people died. This will be very useful for future generations.

Then have a family reunion, have everyone correct your family tree and also insist that any copies you give out is conditional on them providing updates of any births or death.

Their may be issues with secret adoptions or children out of wedlock. Push through that and get the facts recorded. Think of the future generations and how cool it would be if you found out your great great grandfather had an affair and there was a whole branch of the family you didn't know about. Your dad may not want to share such a story now, but you owe it to the future generations to get it recorded.

It is hard and a lot of work. But very very rewarding.

Just do it. And share it. You won't regret it.

1 comment:

  1. Well you have your first follower :) Yes, I am into the family tree though unfortunately when moving (and I have done a lot of that!) handwritten info by couple of old rellies was lost and they have now passed away.
    I recently went through a box of 'stuff' given to us when Kim's nan died and found a marriage certificate,not hers but another relative whom I didnt know about so that has made me want to do some research blogging, fbing and actually working and having a social life there just is not enough time!