18 December 2008

Entering Data in PAF

To begin entering data in PAF you must open your file. If you only have one file it will open to that one. Otherwise PAF will open to the last used file.

Begin entering information on yourself first. This will make you the first person on the pedigree chart. Also every time you open the file it will begin with you. Double click on the highlighted box and an information form will appear. Enter your full name and birth date and place in the format discussed previously. Add any additional information you know. When you are finished click the "Save" button located at the top right corner of the box.

Next you can add a spouse or parents by double clicking on the appropriate box. Continue until you have entered all the information that you know.

16 December 2008

Beginning PAF - Selecting Preferences

Once you have installed PAF on your computer, you will need to create a "new file" and "set up" some preferences. Give the file a name that is representative of its contents. For example in my case I would call the file, "Summers". Next some preference questions will pop up. The default is usually good on most of the questions. There are a few things that I do recommend that be set up.

1 - Include your name as the "prepared by" person. Also include at least one form of contact. This could be an email address or a street address or a phone number or all. The contact information will be printed out on every form you print.

2 - Under the "names" tab, check the box for, "capitalize surnames on screens and reports". I also recommend checking the boxes for "verify surname" and "use fathers surname" . The "mark surnames" box allow you to choose the name order. Select, given name/surname/ unless you have Latin background then check, given name/ surname1 surname2/.

3 - Under the "general" tab, you may choose whether or not to "use LDS data" and to "show LDS data on reports". I also check, "edit marriage when created", "use list when navigating" and "treat enter key as tab".

4 - Under the "format" tab, you will need to select "date entry" as European, (day month, year). I have also chosen "initials" for place. In place level, I chose "smallest toward largest".

When you have finished selecting preferences hit the OK key to save your choices. If you choose to skip the set up process at first or wish to make changes in your preferences later you can alway access the "preferences" found under the "tools" tab on the menu bar at the top of the screen.

11 December 2008

Personal Ancestral File (PAF)

We are so blessed to live at a time when technology is available to us. Keeping genealogical information organized is simple with the many genealogical data management programs available. For beginners I recommend using the free Personal Ancestral File or PAF program. You may download this program by following the instructions found on the lower half of the homepage at FamilySearch.org.

PAF is a very basic genealogical management program that has not been updated for years. The PAF program was used as the basis for developing the many advanced genealogical programs now available. I use the PAF program with my students for two reasons, the first is that is it very simple the second it is free.

The Center for Family History and Genealogy at BYU has a PAF lesson: http://261.byu.edu/lesson2.html

10 December 2008

Looking for Clues at Home

After you have recorded the information you know the next step is to look around the house for clues. Clues can be found in many places. Keep your eyes open for journals, certificates, a family bible, passports, old letters and papers. Oh, and don't forget the scrapbooks and photo albums. Diaries and journals may have dates of birth or death. The Center for Family History and Genealogy at BYU has an online lesson called "Gathering Information". To work through this lesson go to: http://261.byu.edu/lesson1.html

08 December 2008

Family Group Records

A Family Group Record is a form that is used to organize detailed information about each family unit. The form has spaces for the father, mother, and children born to this couple. There are also spaces for basic event dates and places, such as birth, christening, marriage, death or burial.

A new family group record should be used for each couple on your pedigree chart. You may also use a new family group record for additional marriages. For example, if your grandfather married again after the death of your grandmother another family group record would be used.
A family group record will also contain a place to list the preparer of the family group record and contact information. This allow someone who is interested in your family group record to contact you.
There are two additional pieces of information that are part of the family group record, they are notes and sources. I use the notes section for biographical information and research notes to myself. The sources section is probably the most important section of this whole form. In this space you will include specific information about how you know each fact on the form to be true.

05 December 2008

Pedigree Charts & Family Trees

Now that you are collecting family information you will need to become familiar with the charts and forms used in genealogy. The first is a pedigree chart or family tree. It is used a map to your genealogy research. Some pedigree charts are decorative and others are basic. For research purposes a basic chart is best.

The first person on the chart should be you. Next the chart branches into two. These spots should be filled with the names of your parents, with your male ancestor on the top and the female ancestor below. The tree then branches again from each parents' name. On the top lines you will write your paternal grandparents, on the next lines below you will write your materal grandparents. You should begin to see a surname pattern. Remember to use the maiden name for women. This is the surname that the women were born with.

Each group of lines represents a generation. You are the first generation, your parents are the second generation and your grandparents are the third generation.

21 November 2008

Names, Dates & Places

What information I will need to collect for myself and my family? You will need complete names, birth, marriage & death dates and places of each. You already know these dates and places for yourself. Do you know them for your siblings and parents?

Begin by writing the full name of each person in the order that the name is spoken. For women use their maiden name or the surname they used before they married. I also like to capitalize surnames to aviod any confusion.

A name is written as follows: Joseph Thomas WINTERS. First name first and last name last. Surname written in all caps.

Record dates in this format: 11 Oct 1986. The date goes first, then the three letter month followed by the complete year.

The place is written by writing the smallest place or town first, followed by the county and then the state and country. Never use abbreviations in the location. An example is: San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA

Now you know the name, date and place format used in genealogy.

19 November 2008

Where Do I begin?

Family History can be fun and exciting. At the same time it can seem overwhelming. The most common question a beginner has is: "Where do I begin?" The answer is simple, begin with yourself. Record what you know and build on that foundation.