Thursday, February 17, 2011

So I've decided that has got to be one of the greatest tools for people researching their genealogy.  They have a massive amount of information and it's all readily available at your fingertips.  Now at first, for me, I was hesitant to pay for because it is a bit pricey and I wasn't totally sure if it was worth it.  When I first started researching my family I was only working on my paternal grandfather's side of the family, the Panfils.  At the time I was getting most of my research done with lots of manual labor on, the website run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  My paternal grandmother was interested in finding out more about her family, so I took on another tree; the Moseleys.  Soon that sparked the interest of both my maternal grandparents so what was originally one family tree became 4, with the addition of the Meeks and Larson trees.

I soon realized that I had WAY to much on my hands to be spending countless hours on looking for documents and information person by person.  I spent some time at my local library, which thankfully had a free library edition of ancestry, and realized how much they had to offer.  After talking it over with my parents and my boyfriend I realized that paying for ancestry was going to be a HUGE help when looking for pieces of my extensive family history. has a ton of tools for you to use as you search for those that came before you, the best of which is being able to create your family tree with all the information you have.  You can create and save as many family trees as you want on ancestry, made up of as little or as much information as you have.  Based on the information give ancestry generates a list of people on each of those trees with hints.  You can then go through & analyze each hit individually, often coming across new family members or facts you never knew.

On ancestry I have gone from having my maternal grandfather's tree be at 37 people to 83 people, and having it trace back to the civil war.  I've found a picture of my great-great-great-grandfather, census records I never knew you could even find, and numerous people searching for the same people I am.  What's so amazing about ancestry is that not only do they give you historical facts, but they connect you to people who have family trees that have the same people on them.  So "Mary" in Hawaii and "Sarah" in New York have the opportunity to compare facts and stories because they both happen to be looking for "Steve Smith" from Iowa.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

who do you think you are?

Tonight I finally got a chance to watch Friday's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? and I must say, I really do enjoy this show.  Now my one complaint is that it seems they spend too much time telling you what's coming up and not enough time telling you all the stuff the celebrities are learning.  Vanessa Williams found out some really interesting stuff about both of her great-great-grandfathers on her father's side, but I wish they would have delved into where those men came from more.  It was mention that both of them are of mixed race, but they never dug into that background (at least not on the show) to see if they could find any information about those men and their parents like they did last season with Spike Lee's family.  I really enjoy this show and I think it definitely can open people's minds to finding out more about their ancestry and where their family came from.  What I also think would be awesome is if they did this show for everyday kind of people.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

snow day = free day to work on history

Hello all! I've taken this lovely snow day I was gifted due to "Snowpocalypse 2011" to work on some of my genealogy, so I figured writing my first ever blog entry would be a good way to finish off this "work" day.  I started delving into my family history more passionately after watching the first season of NBC's Who Do You Think You Are?  My grandfather on my dad's side had worked on a family tree when I was younger, but after he passed away it remained untouched in a file cabinet.  I decided that I wanted to know more about where my grandfather's family had come from so I took that family tree and brought it home.  Now I'm an obsessively compulsively organized person and I needed a better way to keep track of my family tree. I searched Google endlessly to find some family tree builder that would keep me organized. What I originally started using was the download-able builder from My Heritage, I also now keep my tree organized on but that's a later story.

What started as wanting to find out more about my paternal grandfather's family slowly turned into a massive undertaking.  I now have a binder for each branch of my family tree: paternal & maternal grandparents on my dad's side, as well as paternal & maternal grandparents on my mom's side.  I'm hoping to find interesting things out about all of my families' heritages and be able to share these findings with my family now, as well as my future children and grandchildren.