25 January 2014

The lessons learned when beginning genealogy

When I was in my early 20's and newly married I took a family history class at my church. The veteran teacher of the class told me about a free genealogy software that people are using to track their genealogy. He personally had not used it but someone younger like me should "take to it".

This software has been discontinued
I download the software and went through the motions of copying any genealogy information I had into it. I had built a rough tree of my direct ancestors. The other weeks in the class were focused on interviewing family members for information, how to fill out pedigree charts and family group sheets by hand, and trying to gather pictures to add to my pedigree chart. As an LDS class we also talked about preparing the names to take to the temple.

Looking back, I learned about fundamental tools used in genealogy. I learned the basic framework of my family tree, and I spoke to family members about genealogy and learned who had information. I think the biggest thing I got from the class was a desire to do more.

I soon registered for a class at the Ogden Family History Center. They also encouraged me to use PAF, but the teacher recommended that I add my child and my wife's family to my tree. So I proceeded to find and copy family pedigrees into PAF. They also encouraged mt to try and gather photographs of the people in my pedigrees and family group sheets.

Soon after I started taking these classes I was asked to serve as a Cubmaster in my local Pack and my attention and resources were soon diverted to Scouting.

About ten years later, I took another family history class at my church. I had worked my way through scouting from Cubmaster to Scoutmaster and I had found myself in a position where I wasn't working with the boys on a weekly basis. I had a desire to spend my time with genealogy again. This class was also taught by a veteran couple, named the Gabberts, but they used software to track their genealogy. The first lesson they taught was the importance of using software. They talked about PAF but suggested that I download a free trial from another vendor and try to use that. PAF was good but the other others offered more features.

The Gabbert's like to use Legacy and they showed the software and how they used it. They also said I could create a GEDCOM file and import the information I have from PAF to Legacy. I started with the free version of Legacy 7. After the import I immediately saw issues with my file. I had holes, loops, and duplicates. I hadn't recorded full families, place names or sources. What I had was a skeleton framework. A work in progress. The Gabbert's suggested that I keep the information from PAF in one Legacy file but that I start a new file and that I start with my oldest son as the first person.

As I started adding names to the new file and I could add sources and pictures. By no means is my file perfect but over the years I have gathered roughly 8500 individuals in over 2780 families using 717 sources.