Family Tree

Ancestry: Discovering Our Heritage

By | 5.28.2014


I Wanted To Learn About My Great Grandmother

I had always planned to spend some time discovering what I could find about my great grandmother. When I retired a couple of years ago I decided to see what kinds of help might be available on the web.


One of my aunts had collected some information about our family history and her notes had been passed on to me. Actually, my Daddy pressed them on me, telling me he thought they might "be of some use." Since they were from him, I carried them with me from one home to the next over the years. I could not ever throw away, and dared not lose, something my Daddy wanted me to have.


A Shoebox Full Of Old Family Photos

I have a shoebox full of old family photos. I thought I would be able to find out about some of those long gone people. Besides, there was a chance I might find a cousin or two still living. We could get reacquainted and share stories.


I started with

I started with and found it easy to set up an account and begin tracking my people. The best part is there so MANY people tracking their ancestors and posting their discoveries. Sometimes other people I have never heard of have information about my people.


A Lot Of Information With A Free Account

On, there is census data, birth and death records, newspaper articles and lots more. It's really fun. Much of the information is free and I began with a free account. In time, I wanted more information about ancestors in other countries and was asked to pay for that. The fees for extra services are quite reasonable and fit into my entertainment budget just fine.


I Made New Friends And Found A Couple of Cousins

I didn't know about the experts before I started this adventure, but there are folks who have spent a lifetime finding out information, digging in old libraries and church records, and scanning and posting photos. They are often awsomely helpful, so don't hesitate to email questions. You can send emails through to other users without revealing your true email address or even your name. I actually found two cousins this way. One of them is retired like me, and the other is an award-winning romance novelist.


AncestryDNA offers a DNA test and it's really easy to use. To get started, you get a kit with easy instructions, send the kit in with a saliva sample, experts analyze your DNA and within a few weeks, you discover new information about your heritage through your online account. As they will tell you at, you can find out if you are"part Irish, Native American, or maybe Cameroonian."



In time, I wanted more than I could find on and I began to explore other resources. It was as though a whole new world opened for me. Read more.





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USGenWeb Project Is Operated At All Levels By Volunteers


This amazing program began with a few volunteers developing genealogy resources in Kansas in 1996. Today the program involves every state and every county in the U.S. All of this work has been contributed by volunteers and the information is entirely free. You can volunteer too. The USGenWeb Project is still growing, and there are always opportunities for new volunteers to adopt a county or stte pages or participate in a Special Project. More information is available at the USGenWeb site.



10 Years of Family Tree Magazine: 2000-2009 DVD
10 Years of Family Tree Magazine: 2000-2009 DVD
We've packed 10 years of Family Tree Magazine's genealogy tips, tools and tutorials onto one easy-to-use DVD —...[Read More]
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Fascinating To Children Of All Ages

By | 5.26.2014


Looking at your heritage can include a few people or a lot of them. It can be a fun project to begin with children. Young people are often fascinated by the names and stories of their grandparents and great grandparents.


Think about this for a minute. If you have two parents, you have four grandparents, eight great grandparents and sixteen great greats. They could all have brothers and sisters who have spouses and children.


Some kind of a chart is useful for keeping track of all of them. If you really want to track back to a significant event in history, or to find out if one of them was Lady In Waiting to a Queen, then there will be quite a few people to learn about.


There is software available for managing this with your computer and there are online services like


Charts like this one are available to download and print. Just Google, or make your own!


Lee Family Tree

Lee Family of Virginia and Maryland

from the collections of the Library of Congress


The Library of Congress has one of the world's premier collections of U.S. and foreign genealogical and local historical publications. The Library's genealogy collection began as early as 1815 with the purchase of Thomas Jefferson's library.



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