04 September 2009

Book Review - Bringing Your Family History to Life through Social History

Bringing Your Family History to Life Through Social History Bringing Your Family History to Life Through Social History by Katherine Scott Sturdevant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very informative book on looking at one's family history through the eyes of an historian. Especially like the sections on family photographs and writing letters! I wish this book wasn't out-of-print! I would love to have a copy for reference!

02 September 2009

Book Review - Stories Grandma Never Told

Stories Grandma Never Told: Portuguese Women in California Stories Grandma Never Told: Portuguese Women in California by Sue Fagalde Lick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book follows the lives of Portuguese immigrants (all are women) and their daughters. It covers the culture, education, language, and careers of these women. It was a great read for me since I am of Portuguese descent to try to understand what these women were like and what it was like to move to a new country and learn a new language. I never realized what strong work ethic they had and what resilient people they were and are. It certainly makes me proud of my heritage. It also has a great bibliography so that I can find more books on the subject.

Wordless Wednesday

This is a picture of my grandfather, Herman Rienerth (2nd from right) and his brothers and sister. Left to right: Hilda Rienerth, Paul Rienerth, Herman Rienerth, Karl Rienerth. c 1915. The location the picture was taken is unknown, but is possibly Ohio as this is where they lived.

18 August 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

These are the gravestones of my grandparents, Herman Rienerth and Arlene Rienerth (Hetrick). They are located at South Lawn Mortuary & Cemetery in Tucson, Arizona.

29 July 2009

I've switched my family tree software...

Recently, I attended the Family History Expo in Loveland, Colorado. The Exhibit Hall there had many vendors trying to sell their wares to help us all do our genealogy.

There were about 4-5 companies there selling software to organize your family tree, along with several others who had software for helping in research and organizing your media associated with your family tree.

I decided to figure out whether I was using the best family tree software for my own needs. I gathered the information pamphlets for each of the companies: RootsMagic 4, Legacy 7, and Ancestral Quest. I downloaded the free trials on all of these as well as Personal Ancestral File (familysearch.org) and The Master Genealogist 7. I was currently using Family Tree Maker 2009. I am certainly not an expert on computers or any of those technical items, but I needed to figure out which one works best for me.

I like Family Tree Maker 2009. It has a good interface and the best thing about it is how it automatically connects to the Ancestry.com website to see if there's any new records. That is probably my favorite thing about it. It makes good charts and such, but they aren't anything that are super exciting to me. That may be because I'm so new in the game, but I'm not sure.

The Master Genealogist 7 has a lot of customizations, but to be honest, it was over my head. Maybe one day when and if I get to that point I may want to make the switch, but right now it is not for me. The link on the Ancestral Quest website to download a free trial didn't even work. I tried several times to download and even waited until the next day to try again. It didn't work at all. I gave up because I just didn't have time to keep trying over and over. I also downloaded the free version of Personal Ancestral File from familysearch.org. I wasn't really impressed from the get-go.
That left me with RootsMagic 4, Legacy 7, and Family Tree Maker 2009. All of them had the same good qualities: pleasing interface, easy to use, and search capabilities. I liked the search capabilities on FTM 2009 the best, as I mentioned above. I really liked the Research Guidance on Legacy 7, especially for a beginner like me who doesn't always know all the places to look. I also really liked the to-do lists and the sourcing templates. They were much easier to use for me than the ones on FTM.
They all had the majority of the same features, but I ended up choosing Legacy 7 because of the Research help on it. So now, I am in the process of transferring everything over from my FTM file to Legacy. I may still keep the names and dates on my FTM to use the Ancestry.com search tool and will just make sure it gets onto my Legacy file. That way I can get the best of both worlds!

29 April 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Dick Throp and Jack Throp. Child at bottom is unknown. Fort Wayne Indiana. Boys are wearing their Christmas cowboy suits. About 1936-1937. This picture is adorable to me because the whole "boys as cowboys" seems to be timeless.

28 February 2009

The Beginning... For Me

My first taste of genealogy started in 2001 when I was pregnant with my son. I had posted on a message board on Ancestry.com looking for family in relation to my Rienerth surname. I knew nothing of this side of the family as we had not grown up in Ohio where my dad was from nor had we ever visited there. It was a shot in the dark. The posting was actually made at the end of December 2000, but I received a response from a relative stating she was my second cousin in early 2001. It turns out there were a ton of family members over there in Ohio. I was pretty excited and kept in contact with my new family member over the years. She sent me tidbits she had learned in her own research and it was exhilarating to learn about this family that I knew nothing about. However, raising my son and life in general became time-consuming and family history took the back-burner.

Fast forward to 2008 and I’m walking in Sam’s Club looking at their discounted software. They had Family Tree Maker 2008 Deluxe for about $40.00. Now, I do love my computer programs that allow me to anally enter information in so I convinced my husband we should buy it. I took it right home, installed it, and started entering my information. The monster called obsession was born… The software came with a membership to ancestry.com and all those little leaves were popping up next to the names I entered and it was thrilling every time I clicked on one to find out what record they had in store for me! Birth records, death records, census information… I was clicking on them left and right and merging them with my tree.

I decided that it was my place to preserve our family history (no one had volunteered for the position that I was aware of) and I was more than happy to do so. As I was also pregnant with my second child at the time, I told myself that I was doing this for my children and it was important to know where they came from. It turns out I’ve been doing this for myself as well. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction and a sense of belonging somewhere. Finding out information about my own line of ancestors that I never knew has both elated me and saddened me. I’ve always loved the personal stories of history and I wonder what my own ancestors’ stories are. I can only hope to find them…

I am fairly new to this hobby. I started out frantically collecting information without putting a lot of thought process into it. I am a reader, so I decided to buy some books on the subject. Then I realized how big and complex this hobby is. So I had to take a step back and start gathering some primary information from relatives. Every little piece of information has made me happy. Every little discovery has encouraged me to keep going. I am now obsessively collecting books on genealogy and records and information on ancestors. I’ve also realized that I need to carefully document all of my sources. So I’ve bought the appropriate books and am actually redoing a new tree to make sure every little fact has some source. I enjoy these little nitty-gritty details a lot. I am also looking forward to following the research suggestions in the many genealogy books I now own. I have already started sharing some of this information with my children and hope they one day share the same excitement that I have for our family history.