During my recovery, I was not able to travel in the usual ways so I got creative. I have spent the time travelling through history. It all started when I began scanning family pictures in to digital images. I had my mother's and my grandmother's pictures along with my own. I began asking my parents about some of the people in these images. I found out that this picture below is my Great Grandmother on her wedding day. Before I knew it I was on Ancestry.com working on a family tree.
This website is amazing if you are interested in documenting your family and finding more about your family. It has been so helpful in so many ways that I just cannot say enough about it. It has been helpful in connecting me to other long lost family members as well as finding documents and photos of family. I had no idea of the journey I would take right from my own comfy chair.
I have even been able to trace some of my Native American roots and history. I discovered surprising and amazing things as well as sad and even upsetting things. I was able to get a little glimpse into the lives of those who came before me.
Let me give you a few tips if you decide to set off on this journey. I definitely recommend that you start with your pictures. Scanning them into digital is just a wise thing to do in order to preserve them and so that they are much easier as well as more economical to share. As I scanned I discovered that some pictures were able to be fixed and enhanced to make them better than the original and there were some that did not scan in perfectly. I found that Picasa by Google was invaluable for helping me repair and enhance my pictures. I get lots of compliments on my photos and I have to give some of the credit to Picasa. It is my favorite free picture software. I had intended to buy one of the fancy ones but then I found this one and decided that it offered just about everything I needed at the moment. If you decide to try it and have any problems feel free to email me. I have found a few tricks that work wonders.
My next step was to ask questions of all my family members. I have visited them, spoke on the phone with them and I even uploaded family pics to Facebook so they could look at them with me as we were on the phone and online together. The little bits and pieces that I learned have been valuable in my research. It has amazed me how many times one little bit of information has opened a huge door in our family tree. As you do your research look at documents as well. Some of the best sources of information for me has been : birth/death certificates, marriage/divorce certificates, the backs of photos, old letters, burial notices, school annuals, school documents, military records, newspaper clippings, and gravestones which can be looked up here. All those historical bits of paper can really offer great information so be sure to check them out. One whole branch of my family tree opened up because of one little mysterious note on the back of a picture.
My next step was to register on Ancestry.com. It is free to use and very user friendly. It is so helpful in documenting your tree. I recommend that you upgrade to the paid service. They even offer 14 days free trial that can be easily cancelled any time you decide. The upgraded version offers clues and hints through other family trees as well as old census records and many other record databases. When I came to dead ends I also found information when I would Google the name of the person I was researching. If you are really adventurous you can even go visit some of the places you learn about in your research. Then you can check out the courthouse records, local libraries, cemeteries, and any historical places of note. Be sure to also tune in to TLC at 9/8 Central on Wednesdays to watch Who Do You Think You Are for more tips and to see the stories of others who take this journey. If you have any questions feel free to email me with your questions on any of these websites. I am not an expert but I have done enough now that I have learned a few things on social media and researching genealogy. Happy travelling.
I have received no payment, benefits or services in any form for any of the recommendations in this post.