Saturday, December 4, 2010

Digging Up Ancestors

by Pa Rock
Family Researcher

Thirty years ago when I first got interested in genealogy it was a very difficult endeavor to pursue.  Digging up my children's grandparents involved many trips to libraries, court houses, and cemeteries, as well as sending off for birth, marriage, and death certificates (all for a fee), and then waiting weeks for the documents to arrive.  Sometimes they would give me clues or even names of the preceding generation, and sometimes they contained very little of genealogical value.  It was a very time-consuming and expensive past time.

Today, as I begin to renew my efforts from three decades ago, it can still be a fairly expensive, but the advent of the personal computer coupled with the internet has made research and gratification an almost instantaneous process.  In most cases it is no longer necessary to travel beyond one's own front door in order to access copies of records held in repositories worldwide.

I have been hitting it hard today.  I spent a couple of hours going through three years of obituaries from the Neosho Daily News, and found nine that contained informational snippets about my family.  I will sift out those facts and incorporate them into my family tree computer program, Family Tree Maker.  My second activity was to type in a couple of hundred of my children's grandparents into the family tree sharing section of   Almost all of those names received "leaves," meaning that the program had hints about research options, or, better yet, the names and email addresses of others who appear to be researching the same names.  I can't avail myself of those hints until I officially subscribe to the program.

I have explored several internet genealogy programs, and I am the most impressed with - which just happens to own Family Tree Maker.  I still haven't joined this program because I want to have as much grunge work done as possible before plopping down the $200 yearly fee.  And while $200 seems outrageous, it is actually small potatoes compared to what it would cost to get out and track down all of that information over the phone and through the mail.  I will probably enroll for their free two-week trial period tomorrow, and follow that up with a full membership. is listed on the Nasdaq (ACOM) and is currently selling at just below thirty dollars a share.  Their research capabilities coupled with their hefty membership fee and substantial subscriber base lead me to believe that ACOM might be a smart investment.   If I'm going to be digging for ancestors, it makes sense to be a part-owner of the shovel rather than just renting it!

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