Lost Relatives and Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide

Lost Relatives and Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide

“Collecting Dead Relatives and Sometimes a Live Cousin” and “My Family Tree is Lost in the Forest” are just some of the catchy slogans found printed on the shirts of genealogy enthusiasts. These avid researchers are looking to fill the holes in their family trees. It’s work that most have been at for decades.

My wife and I wanted to get started finding our lost relatives, but we didn’t know where to begin. She had a binder full of information that one of her relatives had put together, but other than that, we were the ones who were lost.

We started by going to the Genealogy library at Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library, but you can also do this online.

The first step to finding your lost relatives is to download all the information that has already been compiled. We did this by using the Ancestral File database that is indexed at the world’s largest genealogy library, The Family History Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. We remotely accessed the database and first found my wife’s records. We saw on her pedigree chart that some relatives had already compiled information on her mother’s line, but her father’s line was empty. After downloading my wife’s pedigree chart onto a GEDCOM file, we did some research on her father’s line. The family history consultant told us that it’s possible that there has been work done on her father’s line, but it just hasn’t been connected to my wife’s file.

By typing in her paternal grandfather’s name into the search, we were able to find much more information. The consultant told us that we needed to download his pedigree chart, take it home to our computer and merge his file with my wife’s file. That would associate all his information with my wife’s.

The best computer program for compiling Family History information is Personal Ancestral File (PAF) which is currently in the 5.2 release. The software is free, so you should be able to find it in any search engine.

Check back again for the next installment which will deal with doing your own research.

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