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Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree shows how rewarding and informative building a family history can be. Genealogy instructor Jeff Sengstack teaches how to find lost ancestors, connect with living relatives, and collaborate with others to grow a family tree. He explains how to use the Family Tree Maker application along with Ancestry.com and other internet sites to track down census data, immigration records, and other important documents, and then organize family tree data. Jeff also presents tips on how to scan old photos, create video slideshows, and build family web sites. Exercise files accompany this course.
Download Jeff's free genealogy tips from the Exercise Files tab.
I want to explain how Family Tree Maker is organized. You don't have to follow along inside of the software. I am just doing this to give you a sense of how it all holds together. When you open it up for the very first time, if you are creating a tree from scratch, you will see this New Tree view inside the Plan workspace. Here you type in your own name, and then your parent's names, and then you go on from there. If you already have a Family Tree file from a previous version of Family Tree Maker or you have a GEDCOM file, a standardized Family Tree data file that you've downloaded from Internet or that someone gave you, you open that in Family Tree Maker, which takes you to this Current Tree view.
In any case, whenever you start putting in a data, you go from the Plan workspace to the People workspace. People workspace is divided into two different views or tabs: the Person tab and the Family tab. We will start with the Family tab. In the center is the Pedigree view. This is the way that you look at somebody and then their ancestors. So there is a person, parents, grandparents, great grandparents. By the way, see these little green leaves popping up on people. These are hints. They are called Ancestry Hints inside the Family Tree Maker and these are actual records that Ancestry.com is providing to you through Family Tree Maker and later on, I'll talk about how you can access those hints and then put that information on those documents into your tree.
Off to the side, there is an index of all your family names, all the people inside your family tree. You will notice there is one that has a little house next to it. That's the Home Person. You can always get to the Home Person by clicking on that button. That takes you to the Home Person, which in this case is me. And then these are the ancestors, my ancestors. Down here is called a Family Group Sheet. Typically, you just show two parents here and their children, and off to the right is information about the currently selected person. So as you select somebody, you'll see a little bit of information about their births, deaths, and their marriages. If you want to get a more detailed version, you can switch over to the Person tab, the Person view, and this shows more information, facts about these people including let's say where they lived, what their occupation was, and when they immigrated, things like that.
Also, in the upper-right hand corner you see what's called a Relationship Calculator. This says how the selected person is related to the Home Person. So if you want to change the Home Person, you can see how the relationships change with that. And on the bottom, you can put down notes about this person, anecdotes, stories, just some information you want to add that doesn't really fit into one of these little fact views. The next workspace is Places, which I think is really a great place. We will start with the Road View. This is a view of Lavelsloh, which is actually where a lot of my ancestors came from in Germany, a little town in Germany. If you zoom-in on it, you can also click on the Aerial View, and see how it looks today.
On the left hand side, are all the place names that you have put into your project, into your family tree, and it could be places where people were born, where they died, where they got married, where they had an occupation, whatever. All these things are places and then the places are identified with these little thumbtacks which you can put down on street locations if you want to and this shows all the people associated with that particular location in some way and says how they are associated, via marriage or death or what have you. Let's move onto the Media View. This is where you link people to media.
You can link them to photographs or draft registration or census records, what have you, and you can link multiple people to a single document. That's really an exciting thing, because if you just click on one document, it will say all of the people that are in that particular document or photograph. Let's move on to Sources. It's a good idea for you to associate a source with every little fact you put inside Family Tree Maker. That can become a little cumbersome, but it's a good idea to do this and this is how you track all your sources. Moving onto the Publish View. This is where you can create all kinds of charts.
You start by selecting the type of chart that you want, then you can fine-tune how that chart looks inside the Detail page. And then print it out, or make an image file of it or a PDF that you can view inside Adobe Reader. You can also go to the Publish section and actually go and make a book online. You can gather up all your family tree information, click on Share, and upload it entirely to Ancestry.com where they will make a book for you for a fee, or you can print it out yourself on your printer at home.
Finally, this is probably the most exciting part of how Family Tree Maker connects with the Internet. You go to the Web Search page and Family Tree Maker fills in all this information automatically about somebody, and then searches Ancestry.com and finds hits that are almost always actually about this person. The hits at the top of the list are almost always going to be about the selected person. It's very exciting that it can track things down so accurately. So Family Tree Maker is a full- featured product that helps you organize your data, link individual images, places, and sources, research your family tree online and share what you have discovered.
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