I had been using the family tree maker as a primary tool, and that was a good thing because all of the notes and documents (or "leaves" as I had started to call them) were beginning to overwhelm me. After all, in my genealogy and family tree work I was digging up all kinds of records available online and from my family members.
Photographs, enlistment records, social security death index documents, birth certificates, census printouts...oh, the list goes on and on. The thing was that I was beginning to have stacks of folders and papers and no sense behind it. That's when the family tree chart template really came to the rescue.
How? It made me begin to think about "raking up the leaves" from a big tree. You know how you don't just sweep everything to one stack but instead work in smaller clumps, that's how you keep things under control? Well, the family tree pedigree tables I was using made it essential for me to work in these sorts of manageable chunks of data.
So, this is what I suggest that YOU do as well. For instance, use the free genealogy and family tree program to establish a basic group. Let's say you start with your mother...now you enter the information into the free family tree program and then follow up by making notes for yourself about the documents that belong to that group.
For example, I noted that I had my mom's year book photograph, birth certificate, and a few other "odds and ends". When I got up to her father, I was able to take a ton of loose clippings and notes and get them altogether. I used this family chart as a basis for organizing the loose "leaves" that were so valuable to my personal history and family tree.
Consider too that I wasn't just digging around in my family's records but also using the Internet to retrieve as much information as possible too. There were computer files, paper folders, clippings, and documents everywhere. It was more like an explosion than the piles autumn of leaves, but I still began thinking of myself as raking them all up and handling them as they needed to be.
Now, I can open the family tree chart and know which folders and documents I have, where they are and can even share them with others in the family or even strangers who might contact me because they did a search of the family tree and found a connection!
This was a moment, however, when I realized that there were some missing pieces, and that's what I will go over with you in the next blog!
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