What were your plans when you first computerized your genealogy?

+16 votes
When I started posting my genealogy to the web, I planned working on the descendants of four neighboring farm families in Pittsylvania County, Virginia--the Hugheys, the Criders, the Deboes, and the Waggoners.  It interested me  in that four of Robert Hughey's children married four of Martin Waggoner's children and a fifth Robert Hughey child married a Deboe.

My plans since shifted, but what made you interested in computerizing your own tree house?
in The Tree House by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
you mean there used to be a time when computers didn't exist?

In the 19th Century, computers were rudimentary at best.  Ada was one of the original programmers.  I believe she was related to George Gordon, Lord Byron, but the first programmable machines were invented in the 19th Century.  They were glorified adding machines.

During WWII, the US Army developed the World Wide Web, which was then not available to the general public.  In the 1960's, programmers were still hardwiring computers.  In more recent times, there's been a growing avalanche of computer machines and programs, including both GEDCOM applications and genealogy websites. 

I was hoping to break through my Hughey brick wall...years and years later...I'm still hoping!!  :)

7 Answers

+15 votes
Best answer
When I first decided to add my genealogy tree on another site it was to find out more about my father. When we grew up, our parents did not talk much about their earlier life and with my father being much older then most dads I always thought there was more to his life then he wanted us to know.

Found out both my parents had remarried and found out I had a "sister" that my brother and I never knew we had. It was verified through the many sources that were given... and through our new "relatives" we learned we have within a year after I posted it to WikiTree!! In addition I learned that I had a Governor, a civil war "Medal of Honor" recipent, two, no three doctors and a Catholic nun as ancestors in the Barry family among other interesting distant relatives!!!
by Dorothy Barry G2G Astronaut (2.8m points)
selected by David Hughey
+9 votes
My main interest was finding out more about my ancestor who fought for the English during the American Revolutionary War. After the war ended, his unit spent several years in Canada. The story was that his surname was MacGill and he got into an altercation with an English officer who had insulted MacGill's lady.  The officer fell after being struck, hit his head on a rock which resulted in his death. MacGill deserted promptly and came to America where he settled in upstate NY. He was said to have dropped the Mac portion of his surname at that point.

I happened to be telling this story to a sales manager in Orillia at lunch, who said that he knew a woman there whose maiden name was Gill. Later, he started to tell her my story, and she fininshed it for him. A couple of weeks later, she sent me information on my ancestor, his son, my gg grandfather, as well as the names of his 9 sons and 6 daughters, their birth years and marriage years and names of each spouse.

Some time later, I learned that a Gill cousin went to Kew, England and looked up the military record of my ancestor and ggg grandfather. The man enlisted as Gill and remained Gill, so he was never MacGill in the first place. Daniel Gill was born in England in 1756 or 1757 and is buried at Stony Creek, New York.
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.7m points)
A Great 4th of July weekend story!! Thanks for sharing Frank!
+9 votes
I wanted to be able to easily create ancestral charts for different people.  It was the early 1980's and I was using an Apple II+ with both 80 column and CP/M cards.  In the mid 1980's my system included a First Class Peripherals hard drive and B-Sider Streaming Tape backup.  I had about 12,000 individuals from the Bahamas in my database and then my hard drive crashed and I discovered the tape could only be backed up to another working First Class hard drive (and First Class was now out of business)!  As a consequence I abandoned genealogy until 2003 when I DNA tested.  By then much of what I had lost in my crash was available through other resources on the Web.  What could I do that others were not?  That question was the origin of the Bahamas DNA Project http://bahamasdnaproject.altervista.org/bahamasdna.htm
by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (726k points)
edited by Peter Roberts
+9 votes
Making my research available to other folks seeking who begat who.  Seemed a shame for the clues I’ve found, to be buried in a binder in the closet.  WikiTree is the perfect place to make it public and has been fun  connecting my twigs with other folks twigs.
by Patricia Roche G2G6 Pilot (888k points)
+8 votes
That is a really interesting question.  I wish I could precisely remember the answer!

I know that I had handwritten family trees in my possession for many years and at some point I either bought or was given Family Tree Maker for PC.  That had to have been in the mid 90's.  Once I had the software, it just made sense to enter all the information I had into it and then gather more information to flesh it out.

At some point, I transitioned to using online trees of other users on various sites (Rootsweb, GenCircles, Ancestry, Geni, etc.) to extend my own tree, and later transitioned away from using Family Tree Maker to having "my tree" online only.

Only since I joined WikiTree in 2013 have I worked hard on sourcing and verifying the information I gathered in all the previous years.  And, of course, I've also started doing something I never did before, which is working on sourcing and biographies for individuals who were not my direct ancestors.
by Kyle Dane G2G6 Pilot (115k points)
+5 votes
I was asked a question in 7th grade that sent me looking for a simple answer to the question, "Where did your family come from? " Everyone else in class was answering Germany, France, England, etc. My answer would have been Kentucky. In April 2017, I will have been looking for that answer for 40 years. The answer was in no way simple.

I started doing genealogy before Star Wars debuted in movie theaters. By the time I had access to a computer, I had years of data, documents, stories and pictures. I hoped that I would be able to pull all of it together to share with my family in a book. By the 90's, I was printing out family trees for family reunions. Today, I am creating an online version here on Wikitree that I can share with family and future generations. That way all the hard work I've done will be available for others to build on.

Thanks to the work of others, myself and DNA I have a better understanding of where my family came from then I  ever imagined back in 1977 but I am no where close to being done.
by Sharon Ray G2G6 Mach 1 (14.3k points)
This is very similar to my experience. I have been doing genealogical research for decades. I had four (unindexed) notebooks, census records, birth, marriage, and death certificates, copies of newspaper articles and obituaries, land records, copies of wills and probate records, and letters from family members. I kept ancestor information in folders in a filing cabinet and had a book full of pedigrees and a complicated indexing system. I started with a free software program before going to Family Tree Maker and later Legacy. I was simply drowning in data and needed to organize it. My next project is to take all the little pieces (which have been scanned) and add the information to help flesh out the ancestor profiles I already have.
I don't even want to think about the information that is tucked away in notebooks under the bed, crammed into storage boxes, filed away in 6 file cabinet drawers, scanned onto CDs, saved on jump drives, computer drives and anywhere else I could find.  Plus all the information I haven't found yet on all the websites I have access too. I'm into the C's in one file cabinet.

I've tried a lot of different software packages. My favorite is The Master Genealogist\/TMG by Whollygenes. Unfortunately, they recently closed and I am on the hunt for a decent genealogy software. So far I just get frustrated when I try to do things and programs default to something that isn't right.

My goal is to get caught up with data entry in the next 40 years.
+5 votes
My first initial foray into genealogy was to find out why my great grandmother had 2 surnames. It turns out that one surname was her birth name and the other was the surname of the aunt who raised her, after her parents died - but it took me many years to find this answer. By the time I found these answers, I was hooked and I still can't stop!!!  LOL

When I got married, and moved to Canada, it was no problem for me to start my husbands family tree as well. Especially since my mother in law had a lot of documents, photos and stories, but no way to put it all in order - so I took on that job very happily!!

I did put my trees up at Family search and Ancestry but when I learned that our family details were being sold, I removed them again. This place is free - nothing will be sold - I hope. That's why I am slowly dipping my toes in again.

The other reason I joined Wikitrees last week, was because one of the first names I spotted here on the main page, was my fathers cousins spouse - Brian Barrett-Boys - who just happens to have been added to the connection finder today!!!  LOL

As for computerized records, I discovered the Legacy software back in 2001 and have been using it ever since. I think Legacy is WONDERFUL!!!!

Robynne Lozier
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)

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