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Sunday, May 9, 2010

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6. Start a Family History Database

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You now have sufficient information to begin using a family history database so that you can stay organized and not become overrun with paper. Personal Ancestral File 5.2 or PAF 5.2 for short is the best free database available. You can find 100% quality support in learning to use it. DOWNLOAD HERE.

You will be able to enter the names of your family, both living and deceased. You will 



be able to add your findings and document sources. With this program, you can print Pedigree Charts and Family Group Sheets with photographs. PAF will create books and slide shows. The greatest benefit to using this program will be that it will help you determine what information you have and what is missing without sifting through piles of paper.

It is a relatively easy program to learn and you can share you file with family members easily.

If you feel so inclined, you may visit the following site and take free tutorials on the features you are most interested in learning to use:
CLICK HERE.

From the menu on the left on the site above,
PAF Tutorial, you can view demos. You may want to first watch a demo on how to download and install the program. Then you may want to see demos on how to create a new file and how to add individuals.
Each demo is interactive.

I have found some family historians who shy away from using computer software to organize their findings. This is a grave mistake. PAF and other databases like it help to create the visuals which are needed to help direct you in your search. Without this form of organization, you will soon be too overwhelmed with your findings to sort out important details and leads, and it will be just as difficult for any on else who tries to help you. Family history research is a science, and we should treat it as such. Could you imagine a microbiologist refusing to use a microscope? Silly right? Well, so is the family historian who tries to keep all the facts in his head or in folders, refusing to computerize!

I do not want to sound harsh here. I have been there myself. After all the boxes and filing papers only to find several duplicate copies of the same information that I was just thrilled to rediscover each time, I became more disciplined. I found myself having greater focus and more success in less time. So do not be afraid to learn something new. Take the time now. We will wait while you begin. Each time you discover something new, stop then to record it.

We are on the road to discovering an arsenal of information. Each piece of the puzzle will bring into full view a little more about a person who is anxious to be discovered by you!

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