Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Experience With the Family History Quick Start Mini-Course (Series) Lessons 6-8*

Continuing on with the mini-course (Family History Quick Start), in lesson 6, I learned that some programs aren't   the best for creating a family tree, such as Word Perfect. If you remember Word Perfect, you may recall that Microsoft Word couldn't open Word Perfect files, and if you had a disc with a document created with the program you didn't have, you were out of luck trying to read the document. How frustrating was that? The best program I think works for me the most is Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat, because I can create multiple word documents and import them into Acrobat to make one PDF file. The PDF will preserve pictures, formatting and the text. You don't have to buy software to open this type of document, and it is accepted by the community as a standard for preserving documents.

The Rich Text Format  is a good alternative to the PDF. It can be opened by almost all word processors and is compatible across platforms. This format will preserve pictures and text. You can easily go back and edit text in this format, whereas a PDF is generally used for final, finished editions. 

Image Source

In lesson 7, the problem most people have are saving their files with descriptive names that are related to the content of the file itself. It is much easier to save the file with a descriptive name, maybe add a note inside the document that has the date that the research was done or the date that the picture or video was taken. When writing your own documents, be sure to include:
1. The date
2. Your Full Name (and full name of the person it's about if different)
3. A title for your document
4. Add some information that could be cross referenced either in your documents content or description such as your birth date, spouse's name, references to your children's names, etc.
5. Number your pages and/or put a footer at the bottom of each page just in case a page gets lost.

Remember to cite your sources so you know where the information came from- very important when trying to back up your research efforts with the facts!

Lesson 8 involves finding ancestors in your family tree that may be famous. Not everyone will have a famous person in their ancestral lines, but it's worth checking it out, in any case! As you research your family tree, the number of ancestors you have increases exponentially? That means by just going back a few generations, you're descended from millions of ancestors. Which, in turn, would actually increase your odds of being related to someone famous. You do the math! Your parents each have their own sets of parents and grandparents, and those parents and grandparents have their own set, and so on down the line.  

Steps for finding famous relatives:
1. Research your family tree as much as possible
2. Connect your family tree into one of the large ancestor databases made available online
3. Do a famous ancestor search for a common ancestor to someone famous.
It may sound complicated, but it isn't too hard if you have the right tools. 

Here is a book link from an email I received from the instructor of this course.


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