Find My Ancestor Blog

I Am Thankful For – 18 November, 2010

Today I would like to express my thanks for many people who have been involved in all the amazing technology we have today that helps us do our genealogy.

Even though I never did genealogy 20, 15 or even 10 years ago, I know some of the techniques and ways of doing genealogy back then. Even 10 years ago we did not have most of the databases, internet websites and software programs we have today.

One of the most important things these days to help you accomplish your genealogical research are good genealogy database programs for your computer. There are dozens of programs available today that enable you to create a family tree or database of your family. Each program has pros and cons, but the most important thing when determining a software program is to use what works for you. As long as you can thoroughly document, organize and know how to navigate through your research, any program can work well for you.

The following are some of the most popular database software programs:



There are dozens of databases available today that we can access millions of records without leaving our house. These databases have changed the way we can do some of our research. Whereas before, now we can access some of the most common records such as census records, death records and newspapers directly from our home computer.

The following are some of the most popular internet databases:


The Immigration Experience

After lunch on Friday I attended Sue Clark's class on Ellis Island titled Ellis Island and the Immigration Experience.

Her class wasn't really on HOW to find your ancestors that came through Ellis Island, but rather stories about Ellis Island and the history of it. Even though it wasn't a lesson on how to find your ancestors or records, I really enjoyed the class. I definitely learned a lot from what she had to say.

I have been to Ellis Island a couple of times, the first when I was 11 and the second time when I was 18, but it just seems like there is so much to learn and see when you go there that you don't get to learn it all. You could spend days there and still not learn everything there is about the history of it. When I went, I think we only spent an hour or so each time we were there and I don't really remember anything from the first time I went anyway.

I really enjoyed hearing about the process that most people went through as the immigrated through Ellis Island and that many of them had "obstacles" on their journey here. Many of them were detained because of illnesses they had or because of physical or mental defects. There were even quite a few that got sent back to the "homeland" because of these deficiencies.

I look back now and wish that I had my love for genealogy back when I went there as I do today. I think I would have definitely payed more attention and retained more of what was taught on the island. I guess we all say that about one thing or another at some point though.

I also think it is important for us to learn the history of these places, documents, etc. of the ancestors we are searching for. I think there are many times where we search for the documents or records, but we don't take the time to learn about the history of the event. If we were to learn about why a particular event was happening, we would learn why the document was being created or why our ancestor was there in that event.

If only my high school history teacher could see what I was writing now... He would say "I told you so" when he told me to stop goofing off in class and pay attention. I guess the saying "What goes around comes around" is true.

Thanks again Sue for the great presentation!