... 1,500+ individuals, 10,693 records and more
Everyone wonders about their roots. I got involved in 1996 when my Aunt Eloise sent me a box of papers and photos. I bought an old DOS Family Roots program and started entering information. The program did not allow inserting photos, and space for each file was limited.
I created four forms and started mailing them to all my relatives, requesting that they provide any information they might have. This was not very effective although some did provide info...enough to keep me searching.
People are funny. All have good intentions but never seem to find the time to sit down and fill in the forms. Oh, I know it requires lots of time as I had problems with my own father and mother, not to mention their parents.
Gradually information began to trickle in, and I was kept pretty busy for a time. Unfortunately lots of the data supplied was limited, and in most cases I had to write two or three times to get the missing data. Not only was this time consuming, but it became rather expensive. Mailing three or four forms to a large number of people was not cheap.
For several months the forms trickled in and finally nothing. I still did not have much information and began making phone calls. After the first phone bill came in, the phone calls came to a screeching halt. My bill was outrageous, and the information I got was minimal.
Now and then one of the relatives would return the forms. Soon I lost interest in them, then began searching the net. I found a bit of information and got involved again.
In 1998 I bought the Windows version of Family Tree Maker, ver 4 (FTM). I exported the DOS Roots program to the FTM and added what I had found on the net. Then I spent a few months searching and could not find any further information. I sent Bruce, my brother, what I had as he had gotten interested also and provided links to more sites. No new information was found, and I finally gave up and the FTM sat idle until December 2000.
Bruce had stayed current with FTM. He upgraded from time to time and was able to do more with his version 8 than I was with version 4. Bruce continued searching, found relatives in central Georgia and filled in some of the missing data. He sent me the email address of one, and I contacted her. Although I have not been able to get past my GrGrGr Grand Father, born 1788 in central Georgia, several hundred names were added to my FTM.
In January 2001 Bruce published his Family Tree to Family Tree Maker on the World Wide Web and emailed me to check it out. Nice, so I decided to publish mine, which now contained 1,500+ individual names and 10,693 text records and photos.
It was published, but nothing like what Bruce had. We talked, and I discovered FTM version 8 provided many more options than version 4. I ordered it, and a week later I republished my file. It included all the info that Bruce had in his. Also, when I published, I was asked if I wanted to publish my family tree with the "World Family Tree Project" genealogy community. Participants in the WFTP protect the family history. It becomes part of a readily accessible database and will be archived at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Naturally I agreed. The information will also be added to upcoming CDRoms available from Broderbund to assist others searching for information.
Visit my FTM site Bob Ross Genealogy Family Tree Maker"
FTM provides space for photos but not an album. Each photo is uploaded to a separate file. I already had a photo album and just created a link to it. I now have five photo albums with nearly 200 photos available to relatives. I'm compiling additional photos and building two more albums at this time.
I have learned much because of the photo albums. Few photos have dates or locations to identify them, and none of my relatives who were adults when the photos were taken are alive today. I have gone through boxes of photos the last month and attempted to add dates to those of my immediate family. It is not that easy to determine when a photo was taken. From now on, dates will be added, and captions added on all photos I get on disk. At least my descendants will be able to identify who and when. This is something anyone reading this might give some thought to. If you question this, look at some of the photos when you were a youngster: How many give any dates? If yours are like mine, very few.
Today email really comes in handy. I notify those family members who are online and have began to get additional information, names, dates and locations for the individual files and for photos. My problem now is locating other members who are online, so I can keep all posted when new data is entered.
Initially I have to use U.S. Mail to notify them of the site and hopefully get their email addresses to keep in touch. It will be a slow process, writing letters, but in time I hope to let the children of my aunts and uncles know that the site is available.
Letter to Mother from James A. Ross 1864 during Civil War
From the nearly 200 photos I have entered, the two below are a couple of the oldest photos I have of my grandparents .
May 4, 2,001