A great resource for family history are your living relatives. Take an opportunity to call them and ask them questions. Whether over the phone, by email or at family gatherings make a record of what you learned. Ideally you could digitally record the interview, but at minimum take a few notes so the information is not lost. As you search for information further back in time your oldest living relatives will be your best source. Don't forget that a great aunt may be able to tell you about your grandparents or great grandparents. If you are the oldest living relative take time to record what you know and share it with your children and grandchildren.
To print a pedigree chart in PAF you must first highlight the individual you would like to be the first person on the chart. Usually you will begin with yourself. Once this person is highlighted you need to click on the little printer icon found on the top menu bar. It is the fifth icon from the left. Once you have clicked on the printer icon a "Reports & Charts" box will appear. There are many tabs at the top. Select the "Pedigree" tab. You will verify that the starting person is whoever you highlighted. The type of chart is usually a "single" chart. Chart options include a choice of 4, 5 or 6 generation chart. "Other Options" include "Prepared by". Always click "Prepared by"so that your name and contact information will be printed on the bottom left hand corner.
To print a family group record in PAF you must highlight the individual you would like to show as parent. Click the printer icon and the print "Reports & Charts" box will open. Select the "Family Group" tab. You may verify the starting person and select "parent". "Type of Chart" will be a "single family" and "expanded"(fewer abbreviations). The "Sources and Notes" area should have "source citations" checked, along with "Actual Text"and "Comments"also "General Notes". This allows all sources for this family to be printed. Remember we like to have sources with everything. On the "Other options" check "Prepared by".
Before you print out any of these charts or forms I recommend that you "preview" the documents. By previewing the charts you will not accidentally print something you don't want and you will assure that you have included sources and prepared by information.
Opening a GEDCOM file in PAF is not very difficult. After saving the GEDCOM file to your computer, open your PAF software. Click on the "File" button at the top lefthand corner of the screen. Choose "New". Name the file something meaningful. Say the GEDCOM contains the genealogy of your Palmer ancestors, name your file "Palmer". Naming the file is like naming the folder in which you will place the genealogy data from the GEDCOM file.
One the new file is named, click "Save". A new screen will appear and you will need to enter in preferences. When you have completed choosing preferences, close the box. Next you will notice that only 2 icons are active on your menu bar at the top of the page. The first is an open file folder and the next is an old style computer diskette with an arrow pointing inward. To import a GEDCOM file you must use the computer diskette icon. Click on the icon and an "Import GEDCOM File" box will appear. You will need to find the location where you saved the original GEDCOM file. Once you have located it, click the "Import" button. The program will quickly import the data from the file into PAF. It will notify you the number of individuals and marriages have been successfully import.
So what are GEDCOM files and how can I use them? If you are new to genealogy software you may be unfamiliar with GEDCOM files. GEDCOM stands for GEnealogical Data COMmunication file. When a person wants to share the genealogical data from their software program with someone else that may have another software program, they create a GEDCOM file. This file can then be attached to an email and sent. The recipient can then use their own genealogical software and open the GEDCOM file to access the data.
Sources are an important part of good record keeping. A general rule that should be applied is: Enter at least one source for every fact. Entering sources for every fact will help you evaluate evidence as you research. I know that entering sources for every fact may seem time consuming, however your work will be credible to others if you have sources listed.
Open your PAF file and look at each individual you have entered. Open the "Edit Individual" box by double clicking on a name. Once the box is open, look at the facts you have entered. Next to the birth date and place line you will notice a small letter "s". This is where a source is entered for the birth date and birth place fact. Double click on the small "s". You will be brought to the "Select Source" box. Since you are just beginning this box will be empty. To enter a new source click the "New" button found in the lower portion of the select source box. Another box will open, this is the "Edit Source" box. There are spaces to enter a title, author and publication information. There are more spaces but we will only use the 3 above mentioned at this point. You may easily enter the title, author and publication of your source and then click "OK". This will save the source. You will then be brought again to the "Select Source" box. The entry you just entered will be highlighted. Click the "Select" button and the "Sources" box will open. At this point you may add the citation detail such as page number. Click "OK" to save your additions and your source will be attached to the birth date and birth place fact. You will notice that when a source is added that an "*" appears next to the small "s" to notify you that a source is connected to a particular fact. Repeat this process for all the facts you have entered in PAF.
I belong to a family, I am the mother of 8 beautiful children, I am a sister, daughter and wife. I am a mother who knows. I am also an Accredited Genealogist. I have a B.A. degree in Family and Community History from Brigham Young University. I am a Masters student in Instructional Design & Educational Technology at the University of Utah. I currently teach Family History & Genealogy classes part-time at Brigham Young University and online classes at Salt Lake Community College. My research interests include: United States, Latin America, Spain & Scandinavian countries.