Friday, June 20, 2008

Family History Friday: Ancestry and FTM

I've been thinking that blogging has helped me get involved and excited in other areas of my life why not carry it over into family history, my chosen field of study. This is my second week posting on family history and I have now dubbed Fridays "Family History Friday". We'll see how long I keep it up, but for now I hope you find it informative and interesting.

I absolutely love family history and the amazing application of history and people combined in one. I love a good challenge and checking off all the possibilities. I love the thrill of finding something I didn't know and putting records together to bring people alive. Our ancestors are not just names and dates on a page, they lived full, happy and often challenging lives and I love putting the pieces of the puzzle together and seeing as much of the picture as I can find.

Doing family history with children has proved a little challenging. It tends to be all engrossing (at least for me) and Josh will come home to dirty kids still in their jammies and the house a disaster because I've been on the computer finding dead people. I'm doing better at finding a balance. Someday I dream of traveling to the locations where my ancestors lived and diving into the old libraries and court archives but for now I spend time gleaning stuff off the Internet (there is new stuff just about everyday, it's amazing) and cleaning up the files I have; making sure all the information is correct and citing sources where possible. has become my number one source for finding information from the comfort of my home.

Ancestry is adding new records to their online database regularly. Many of them include images of the original records. Lately I've been doing extensive census searches (more on that next week) and ancestry has all of the years available with multiple options for searches and viewing. Most of their databases are available to members only but a few are available for free.

A year ago I bought the Family Tree Maker 16 Collectors Edition (FTM) which is a computer program for compiling all your family history information (similar to PAF with more capabilities). The program came with a 366 day trial membership to and only cost me around $30 (if I'm remembering correctly with rebate). It's a total steal when you calculate in the fact that a year membership to costs $155!

Well, my days are numbered, my account is due to end, and I'm not about to spend $155 though it really could be worth it. I went on a hunt for another version of FTM specifically for another trial membership. FTM 2008 costs more and doesn't come with a huge trial membership. I ended up finding the same version 16 in a standard edition that includes a 6 month trial membership for $15.00 on eBay. Thanks to my amazing husband and his new log in I now have another 6 months of

Anyway, the point is if you are in the market and interested in family history buying the 2006 version of FTM (which I am very happy with) with the trial membership is definitely the way to go. If you aren't sure if you would use it much or are curious what ancestry has to offer this is well worth the money. I don't think you will be disappointed.

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