August 20, 2007


The Internet has revolutionized many things, but it's hard to think of anything the web has simplified as much as genealogy. I'm not as obsessed with searching for past family records as many people, but I used to spend some time at the library and courthouse, looking over old census records on microfilm and old county marriage, birth and death records in gigantic books. I made my parents a nice, framed family tree chart for Christmas one year. Sadly, I was never able to find a link between Sevens member Mike McAfee and myself -- even though we have a lot of family names in common.

Now, it is so, so much easier. Software like Family Tree Maker is amazing. It gets you started, prints out wonderful charts and searches online data endlessly for your ancestors and cousins. I've emailed with McAfee's I never would have known otherwise. And there are many other free genealogy sites online.

Rootsweb, for example, has a Wells County website. Click on "The Good Stuff" to find lots of old pictures and information about Wells County. There's so much data in just that one spot, you could browse for hours. has a location called "GenForum" where you just click on your last name and see folks you can email with all over the country, sometimes all over the world, investigating your name.

If you didn't know, the Mormon church (LDS) maintains a huge collection of genealogical records... now they are searchable at

There are many, many other sites -- like Cyndi's list and the Genealogy Home Page and the National Archives genealogy site -- that can jump start about any search.

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