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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.
Why grow your family tree? Why go to all this trouble to gather names, dates, places, documents, photos, and stories? For me, it starts with simple curiosity. Where did my ancestors come from, what is my heritage? I want to learn about my ancestor's stories. What was life like for them, what prompted them to immigrate, what was life like here, after they arrived? Researching your family tree will give you a historical perspective. Before starting my family tree research, I had heard about Ireland's potato famine, but didn't know the real story.
Now, because I have learned my ancestors sent half their family members to North America to avoid starvation, I know a lot more about it. Family tree research prompted me to visit ancestral locales. It's one thing to visit some place and view it through the eyes of a tourist. It's entirely different when you consider that you ancestors live there. You might want to learn more about your family's medical history. That could be very important. Are you related to any famous people? In my research, I have discovered a family connection with a person who worked closely with several US Presidents, and had a tremendous positive influence on our society.
I would have never been able to call this man up and chat with him, but because of our family connection, we spoke several times and he ended up giving me a printout of his family tree that can stretch across my entire office wall. One likely outcome of all your family tree research is a family reunion. My research, in part, prompted a reunion where I met relatives I didn't know I had, before I started growing and sharing my family tree. The ultimate purpose I think to gathering and organizing all of this family tree information is to share it. To share the data, the documents, and images with other family members.
Whatever your reasons to do a family tree research, I think we can agree that underneath it all is a thirst for knowledge.
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