Saturday, June 16, 2007

One Page Genealogy

During the past month, I have worked on the lineages of several of our sons-in-law, distant cousins and other interested parties. So many research resources are now on the web, that my research from home was amazingly more fruitful than just a few months aga. Follow the links and tips from my earlier posts and learn how to use Google and other search engines to improve your own web-search results.

After gathering the data and sourcing the various events for all of the 'found' people, I created ancestral book reports for our sons-in-law and friends. The books were
wonderfully long, full of names, places and dates. Good stuff - Right? Yes, it is 'good stuff' but after reading the third or fourth page of these reports, we are soon flipping pages back and forth trying to remember which parents belong to which child and visa-versa. It is obviously time for a graphical chart.

That isn't a problem. All of our genealogy software can produce a pedigree chart. Most applications let you produce 4, 5 and 6 generation charts and when the lineage extends farther than that, the charts are all numbered and referenced to each other so you can follow the lineages.

But what if you want a BIG pedigree chart?

In days gone by, we would go to the local genealogy supplies store and buy one of the big
blank pedigree charts and then spend days writing the names of all of our ancestors in the appropriate places ---- in pencil at first because we all goof up sometimes --- or at least I do.

Fortunately, we can now produce these huge pedigree charts using our computer. Go to the BYU OnePage Genealogy Printing site and download the free OnePage Genealogy Software application and install it on your computer. Now you can easily create one of those 'monster' charts in just a few minutes.

To create the chart, launch your genealogy program, highlight the starting person, (probably yourself right now) and then create an 'ancestors' gedcom file. I recommend you keep the export no larger than 20 generations. More than that won't fit on one of the big charts.

Next, open your OnePage Genealogy software and find the gedcom file that you just created (file > open). Find yourself or the starting person by clicking on the down arrow in the 'Root' field, then remove the check mark in the 'spouse' box. If you have a large number of folks in your gedcom, go to the font size settings and set the largest font size to 10. Now choose the size of the paper that will eventually be used by the printer. In my case, I chose 3.5 ft X 6 ft - the largest size offered.

The software doesn't offer a preview of the report, but it will give you good advice by clicking on the 'Suggest' button. If the suggestion is to print fewer generations, accept the suggestion. Click on 'Create' and in a few seconds you'll have a beautiful large scale pedigree chart in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format. If you want it printed, just send the file to the OnePage Printing location on the website. If you want to share your masterpiece with others, save the file and e-mail it to them as an attachment and then listen to the 'ooohhhs' and 'aaahhh's'....

Since the chart is in .pdf format, everyone will see the same chart. You can enlarge it on screen to read the individual details or zoom out to see the graphical picture. Because you created a chart without the spouse box checked, your ancestors are colored using the Mary Hill format, so you can follow your lineage easily.

Now that our sons-in-law, cousins and others have their large pedigree charts, they can easily follow their ancestral book reports. I'm sure you'll enjoy having large pedigree charts too.

While you have OnePage Genealogy running, create a time line chart using the same steps. If you create an ancestors gedcom starting with your child, you can also create a report starting with them that shows all of their lineage. While you are in 'in the mood', select the spouse box and see how the resulting chart looks, then change the starting person and try it again.

Wow.... magic on your computer. Oh, by the way, the charts make great Christmas presents for those of you who like to pick up 'interesting' gifts along the way.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Search by Subject

I've been contacted many times over the last few weeks by folks asking where they can find websites to help in their research. FamilySearch has a fairly good index to useful sites by topic. Most of us haven't thought to look for it there but rather focus on the IGI, Pedigree Resource File and Ancestral File data.

Here's the link to the 'Browse Web Sites'. From here you can drill down by subject.

As an example, you want to know where the boundaries between the 48 states were at a given point in time. Look at Land and Property. Choose the United States. Click on 'Boundaries of the Contiguous United States' and watch the animated map show the boundary lines appear starting with 1650 and continuing on to today. Now you can see why your great grandparents are found in Alabama, but they actually lived in what we now know as Mississippi.

Two more webpages arranged by topic are found on the Family Genealogy and History Internet Education Directory
and the Regional Genealogy and Local History Research pages.

Hopefully, you will find some information from these links to help in your own family history research