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All in the Family

Thanksgiving is a family holiday. Maybe you just visited — or hosted — your relatives. Maybe you thought about your ancestors and your childhood Thanksgiving dinners. Maybe you looked at your grandchildren and wished they knew something about your parents.

Expand your computer’s usefulness: invest in genealogy software and start “organizing” your family. It’s inexpensive, fun, and a great way to share what you know with generations to follow.

A handful of genealogy programs exist for under $100. For Windows, Family Tree Maker and Legacy are the most popular. For the Mac, it’s Family Tree Maker and Reunion. You can purchase these (and other) programs online and download them directly into your computer.

Once you have the software, I recommend you start entering your close relatives: siblings, parents, grandparents, spouse, children, etc. Then enlist family help with more distant relatives.

In time, you can add significant dates, milestones, photos, anecdotes, and documents. As you come across new facts, add them where they belong.

What do you do with all of the information you collect?

The possibilities are endless but you need not have a plan from the outset. As long as you enjoy the process of collecting, keep doing it.

Perhaps you will create a family tree for a reunion, make an album as a gift, or even write a book. Perhaps you will share the file with your children and grandchildren. Future generations can keep updating the data.

Even if you already have a “historian” in your family, don’t hesitate to create your own database. Your perspective is unique.

For information and reviews of genealogy software programs, click on the following links:

Let your computer help you lay out your family history.

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