Technology A-Z
The Internet
Tech Hardware
Tech Software
Video Games
Protecting Your Children
Getting Help
The Online Mom Network

Learn about The Online Mom Network
Join The Online Mom Network
How Do I Become An Online Mom?

The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Five Steps for Tracing Your Family History Online

By Stacey Ross

The word "genealogy" has touched a soft spot in my heart these past couple of years. With a little digging on the Internet, my family has been able to uncover some life-changing information about our heritage, allowing us to find answers and reconnect with close relatives (like a twin brother and first and second cousins) in the most profound ways!

Today's technology offers a plethora of ways to connect with loved-ones, associates and business contacts. With Internet capabilities such as e-mail, online photo sharing and social media platforms, we now have more advanced ways of retrieving and documenting our heritage. More than ever, we are able to connect with our past and also pave the way to a greater understanding and appreciation of our existence today. It helps provide a bigger picture of our history and preserve the legacy of so many before us.

I am personally so moved by the many WWII documents, letters, first-hand stories, recordings and family trees handed down to me from my family, who were either refugees or survivors of Nazi Germany. The road ahead is exciting, but I am very grateful to have such state-of-the-art resources to help make my searches and journey easier. The following are five steps that I took to get the ball rolling:

Step 1: Take inventory of what you have

A great place to start is to ask your relatives for your family trees and piece them together to the best of your ability. Take some time to consolidate and organize what you have, as it will better guide you towards finding what you need. You can do everything online, or just start by using a printable chart.

Step 2:  Collect oral history as well as photos, stories and other documents

Get an idea of the type of things you will want to collect by understanding both the era and the extent to which you can gather first-hand accounts from your relatives. Interview them (preferably with video) and ask them to write the stories of their heirlooms and label their photos with names and dates.

Some might be comfortable with you asking generic questions to break the ice, but in my situation I was sure to ask particular questions pertaining to the Holocaust experience. Record then transcribe that information, and get it transferred to a digital format as soon as possible.

Step 3:  Organize your information

Be sure to take thorough notes and document the sources, make photocopies, preserve documents properly and organize things both offline and online in a systematic way. You will discover which genealogical filing system works best for you and make life easier for those that join you or pick up where you leave off. I can't stress enough how important it is to label everything and be sure to put your documents in chronological order.

Step 4: Check the archives

Search in one of the top ten pedigree databases. The membership-based Ancestry.com can search billions of historical records, photos and family trees for details about your ancestors. The more you add to your tree, the more they can help you grow it.

Other family members can also see the information and help you in your efforts. The most beautiful thing happened due to my stepmom's efforts: thanks to Ancestry.com she was able to connect with a very close cousin of hers whom she had lost contact with as a young child. They were able to reunite and even have a couple family reunions. It was a breathtaking experience to be part of!

Try the free websites too. Myheritage.com has a free search engine that allows you to search over 1,400 genealogy websites simultaneously. Also, FamilySearch.org is a free genealogy site that allows you to search census documents, as well as marriage and death certificates.

Step 5: Explore!

This one might involve a trip or two. It might be valuable to visit your relatives’ hometowns to try and locate wills, property and official records. Information can pop up by visiting churches, synagogues, cemeteries, etc. Be sure to map out which places are most likely to be conducive to your goals.

Professional and amateur genealogists alike can take advantage of the extensive efforts of the LDS church, located at Family History Centers around the world. An important piece of information that newbie genealogists might not be aware of is that one of the core tenets of Mormon faith is that the dead can be baptized into the faith after their passing (believed to be necessary for salvation). They believe that the family unit can exist together beyond mortal life if all members are baptized, hence "linked" together.

I wish I could go back in time and reframe my questions to my (now deceased) immigrant family members, ask even more in-depth questions than I did, and encourage them to share their experiences and knowledge more systematically. I would have explained that so much of the richness of their legacy needs to be documented and shared first-hand, so that their tragic, yet brave experiences will never be forgotten.

I am so very grateful for what was diligently recorded, saved and passed on to me that I feel obligated to research further and put together what I find to tell their stories. If we make a point to pass down our family genealogy and family stories, we will be handing something priceless to future generations!

Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of SanDiegoBargainMama.com. A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.

Thank you for submitting your comment. Your comment will appear on the site after it has been reviewed by site moderators!
Post a Comment:
Comments (max 500 characters):

Permalink | Print | Email

Share this article!
Partner with Online Mom Media
Online Mom Media specializes in building powerful communities of influencers! [read on]
Special Twitter Event
Join @theonlinemom this Thursday at 9pm ET as we introduce Thrively, a fun and interactive family web site! #Thrively
[read on]
Join the BUZZ!
Join @theonlinemom and friends this Friday at 12 noon PT as we look at Simplifying Mobile Tech. Great prizes! #VZWBuzz [read on]
The Online Mom Blog
Connecting Your Mobile Lifestyle
[read on]
Cómo encontrar en línea las mejores ofertas
Visite La Online Mom en Español! [read on]
Stacey Ross on The Online Mom
Catch up on the digital lifestyle with Stacey Ross!
[read on]
PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One: Parental Controls
Which of the new gaming consoles offers better parental supervision? [read on]
How To Make the Most of Those Daily Deals
Take a closer look at those daily deals to make sure you're getting a bargain!
[read on]
Watch Out! Your Wristband Is Tracking You…
New ways to monitor two of the most important elements that factor into our overall health: exercise and sleep [read on]
How To Beat Spam with Disposable E-Mail Addresses
There's an alternative to giving out your online information (or turning into a digital recluse): the disposable e-mail!
[read on]
Managing Your Online Reputation
There are some simple steps we can take to safeguard our online reputations [read on]
7 Apps for Finding Stuff Online
Loking to buy and sell online? Your smartphone can help!
[read on]
How to Manage Your Cell Phone Bill
Don't be overwhelmed by that cell phone bill. We offer 7 tips that can help [read on]
7 Social Networking Tips for Graduates
About to graduate? It's time to clean up those social networking accounts!
[read on]
The Best Apps for Staying in Shape
10 great apps for turning your smartphone or tablet into your workout buddy! [read on]
7 Steps to Smartphone Safety
Buying that first smartphone for your child? Make safety a top priority!
[read on]
10 Essential Apps for the Busy Mom
Turn your smartphone into your very own personal assistant! [read on]
Tweens and Facebook:
Do you think children under the age of 13 should be allowed on Facebook?

Not Sure

© 2011 the online mom, all rights reserved | site map ABOUT     MEET THE TEAM     CONTACT US     ADVERTISE     PRESS     PRIVACY     LEGAL
As you may have guessed, it is made of titanium and some stainless steel¡ªthe case is titanium and the rolex replica sale is stainless steel. The dial is brown, the watch hands are silver-toned, and there is a date window at the four o¡¯clock position. The sapphire case protects the breitling replica sale from water damage up to 30 meters. Synergy means cooperative action. This replica watches uk combines the best of the old and the new to deliver something uniquely modern. All of the classic elements are there. It has the sleek and stylish dial of the replica watches uk, the concave dot at the 12 o¡¯clock hour, and the Swiss quartz movement. But the Sapphire Synergy has something few breitling replica sale offer, a rubber wristband. Why rubber? Well, it¡¯s not a sport rolex replica sale, so using it outdoors is out of the question. But the informal band gives it a more casual look and feel, which can be quite appealing to the modern male.