Genealogy and creating a family tree is challenging without the internet. Today, Ancestry has digitized so much information that one is likely to find something on a person born a generation or more ago. I began before the internet or Ancestry.com.
My family provided my first data. I collared my parents, uncles, and aunts whenever I could. I scribbled down what they told me and stored it until I purchased a genealogy program. On one of my old computers is the second version of Family Tree. The program was amazing. It allowed me to enter a name, vital statistics, and see a relationship to others in the database generated. Now I use Family Tree v2014.1.
My database remained small for many years since new information came via interviewing relatives. Those opportunities came when home on leave from the Navy. When I married, my mother-in-law provided information on her immediate family and some ancestors. I had 75 entries in my database when my wife and I attended her family’s reunion.
The reunion was in Oklahoma. I brought a print out of my database and requested corrections or additions be noted. Those interested could use the blank family sheets I provided to give me their information. I added over 150 new persons to my database. Subsequent family reunions provided fewer additions and my interest in genealogy waned.
It revived when I found the internet. I discovered a college with a large collection of references including census, family bibles, family trees, and more. The college scanned the documents and made them available for download. The cost was not inconsequential to call and remain online searching. Long distance was billed by the minute. And I had blazing download speeds of 2400 bits/second. Yes, 2400. I bore the cost and downloaded many. The internet now provides access to data from many sources and locations.
My database is over 3000 persons somehow related to me, my wife, or my children’s spouses. Some entries are just a name. Others have locations lived, occupations, and relationships to church and community. The joy in discovering a new ancestor is a treasure for one interested in his ancestors.
Does genealogy interest you? Do you have a family tree?