By Pat Chadwick
I was asked by a couple of people in town to write a ďhow toĒ do genealogy Ė you know Ė get started. Most everyone knows Iíve been involved in this little hobby for years now and actually started on it after I moved to Lake Helen in 1997. I never imagined that I would have 117,000 names in my database back then but thatís what I have now.
I was on a mission Ė to find my roots and pass it on to my children. Thatís one of the greatest satisfactions of genealogy Ė being able to pass it on to the next generation and it isnít that difficult because itís just so much fun to do.
After ten years of researching I presented my off-spring with their first family tree book for Christmas last year. This family tree book was my motherís side going back to King of Scotland Robert de Bruce and it was a hit.
This year I hope to complete two more books for Christmas but itís a push. Thereíre all kinds of Indians, Outlaws, and Pirates involved so everyone should get a kick out of this Christmas present! I donít hide the skeletons because then Iíd be lying by omission. My motto is ďYou take the good with the bad because itís the truth that matters.Ē
The software I use is called RootsMagic and you can find it at: rootsmagic.com. Itís inexpensive, reliable, easy to use, plus you can download a free trial to test it out. Thatís what I did and I bought it on-line a day or two later. This is the program that I use to make my family tree books for the family and the databases I've posted. (However, the version released in 2009 is not reliable - yet.)
I would recommend that you start off using the LDS website to start your research. Itís at
familysearch.org but verify everything you possibly can to avoid the misinformation.
Another free and great genealogy website is rootsweb.com. Sometimes youíll find biographies to go with the names and thatís always good. You just copy and paste them to your notes page for that person in your RootsMagic database. Don't forget to note the author of those notes, too.
The US GenWeb Project has been around for many years and Iíve really enjoyed it. Itís at: usgenweb.org. This is where I posted the inventory I did of the Lake Helen/Cassadaga Cemetery years ago.
*copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009 - P.L. Chadwick, Webmaster
This can be a lot fun and it could open up a whole new world for you when you begin to exchange information with others who are working on the same lines you are. Everyone is very helpful and post obituaries, old newspaper articles, etc. Itís something you donít want to miss.
I do want to caution everyone not to use any website to create your family tree. Of course, this is just my personal opinion but youíll be one of the lucky few if you can remember how to delete it later when you realize you made a serious error.
There are several subscription-type genealogy websites in the web however, there are websites that are free that have most of the info anyway AND libraries subscribe to Ancestry.com so you can access genealogy data free that way.
One of these free websites that is very useful is Genealogy Links at: http://www.genealogylinks.net/
Itís a portal to many free websites containing genealogy information from all over the world like parish registers, censuses, cemeteries, marriages, passenger lists, city directories, military records, and obituaries.
Did your ancestors arrive by ship from another country? Check out the Ellis Island website at: www.EllisIsland.org. Itís an amazing website and free.
As you know, the many pioneers of our country came here for religious freedom and if your ancestors were Puritans, Quakers, or Mormons you might be able to locate some information on them through these records. One website I enjoyed and was able to use was The Quaker Corner at:
I know Ancestry.com is in the address but this particular website is free.
While tracing your ancestors you should remember to always try to trace the women as diligently as the men. If you do, youíll be more successful and have a much more complete family tree. Youíll probably run into some surprises, too. This will include when you learn that cousins married cousins. It wasnít outlawed until about 1800. If you try to hide the cousins, then youíll end up with a fairly empty tree since you wonít want to trace the women. See what I mean?
Think of your work on your family tree like putting a big puzzle together piece by piece.
It can really be exciting when you find one of those missing pieces, too.
While looking around for some genealogy websites that could help you in your search, I happened to find a really
good one. Itís at: http://www.genealogyspot.com/
I have to say I wished they would have had something like that when I was starting out. If youíre interested in genealogy, this is a must for you. It will answer all your questions and even offers lessons via the Internet! Itís new to me but Iím happy to have found it even now.
Do you want to meet others researching the same line/lines you are? Visit The GenForum at:
Here are some of the databases I've been working on:
More Albums Coming Soon!
about the people of Lake Helen, FL
For the people, by the people, &
Note: I'm changing this website so this page has a slightly different layout.