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Monday, June 8, 2015

Blankies, Free Time, Whiskey and Find My Past

Image courtesy of iosphere a
Now that I got your attention, it’s been one of those weeks around here.  Many of you know that I have an ongoing illness and last week was a bad.  Most days found me curled on the couch with my pillow, fuzzy blankie and a mindless movie.  On the days where my head was clear enough I did work on deadlines and do a bit of research.

Which brings us to Friday.  The first day in 5 that I was feeling good.  I took my laptop out on the back porch, sat with some tea and cruised the Find My Past website.

It hit me earlier that week that I had not done any personal family history research in months.  MONTHS!  I have been writing, lecturing and doing client work but really have not had any time to do anything on my or my husband’s trees.  Well, now that I was feeling better that was going to change.  I gave myself the weekend to play and have fun.

In the past I have found some really great items there for my husband’s family in Somerset.  Plus I discovered some great newspaper articles for my father’s family from his hometown.  This time, however, I was going to try a new feature.  Well a new to me feature, their family tree feature.

You can upload a tree or start from fresh and using their new hints (it is still in Beta) feature it will
show you matches from their documents and databases.  Yeah, I know, they and every other company have this ability.  I do try them all though hoping that one day I will find one that I love.  So, seeing as this is new, with a Beta version of some features, I was up for trying a new one and seeing where it could lead me.  What’s the worst that could happen? It should be fun!  Right?!

Yes, I did upload a tree.  Yes, I have a lazy streak in me.  Well, honestly I wanted to see how easy it would be.  I have the worst luck with uploading files.  I was pleasantly pleased that it went without a hitch and I had literally hundreds of viable hints with a few minutes.  So many hints, to real DOCUMENTS, that I deleted my tree.  Don’t freak on me.  It was just a tree.

Well, I thought to myself, if I can get that many so quickly why don’t I start with myself and then start building out like, well, you are supposed to do.  I wanted to see where these documents lead me.  That thought then lead me to the decision where I sat down on Saturday and just went for it.  It wasn’t until I entered our parents in the tree that I started to get any hints.  It surprised me, really, but made me a little happy that no hints popped up for the hubs or me.  Within 30 minutes I was 4 generations back on my father’s line with census, marriage, birth and death records.  Yeah, I couldn’t believe how fast it was going.

Then the whiskey came out.  Yes, genealogy research really is heightened by a good glass of whiskey.  Okay, it also helped with the cough and aches.

I only have a couple critiques.  I prefer a sideways pedigree chart and only a top to bottom pedigree chart when I am looking at a specific family.  Unfortunately the top down pedigree chart seems to be the default setting in the family tree page. I had to keep clicking back over to the “pedigree view” from the “family view” each time I finished looking at a document.

Also, the house icon with my family tree title does not take you to the home person for the tree like I thought it would.  From the hints page (or the person you are looking at page) it take you back to the family view for that person.  You have to re-navigate back down to the home person. 

While it shouldn’t be a big deal, it was annoying.  These things are still being worked through obviously so hopefully they will come along in future versions.  Unless I am completely missing the boat then hopefully someone will point this out to me!

So yeah, a productive weekend to say the least.  With summer just starting and the kids getting out of school I think we will have some fun genealogy lessons using Find My Past.  It should keep them busy for the next 10 weeks…right?


  1. I use Ancestry and uploaded my tree with a GEDCOM and I frequently feel overwhelmed with all the 'shaking leaf' hints that are given. I'd never though of starting from scratch with it - thank you for the suggestion.

    1. You are welcome. Sometimes a fresh start is what every tree needs!