Category Archives: learning

Free genealogy stuff!

A quick post to tell you about..

Here is a website link especially for those starting out as new genealogists who want to get some free family tree stuff such as charts and work sheets.

Click here.

If you haven’t visited this site before, please spend some time looking through the various freebies – then bookmark or favorite them and use them!

Do you know of any other free genealogy stuff that can be found? Tell me! I am currently on the lookout for other good shares for new genealogists, but I still might miss something.


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Family history for the little ones

What age did you start researching your family history? I was a teenager when I started and haven’t looked back since. I can’t remember doing any sort of family history at school but I now wish I had. I could have caught the genealogy bug earlier, and started asking questions earlier but that’s something we hear a lot from genealogists. Perhaps it’s because we feel the more time we have the better results. So, how do you get the youngsters involved in something that’s not Facebooky/musicy/sporty/Twitterish?

0-5 years old
I know what you’re thinking, but it’s never too early to start the journey of a lifetime. How about telling stories about grandma as a child, or about grandad’s journey to a different country, or visiting aunts and uncles that share a family link.

5-10 years old
This is the start of school for most children and they enter a world of learning. Try using the following site for some ideas to make genealogy fun: Family Tree Kids.

10-15 years old
Here come the teen years and the attitude. Introducing technology here is important as they can incorporate history with modern tools. Softwares, mobile applications, forums, and social networks are great for enticing teenagers. Also, trying to make history seem relevant to them so they are not seen to be given lectures.

15-20 years old (yes, this IS young to a 40 year old genealogist)
I’m not so sure about this category. However, I would like to point out the Who Do You Think You Are? TV documentary that is very popular viewing. Let’s face it, visuals do really help with enticing young people.

Ofcourse it helps to have a genealogist role model in the family. Someone who can offer advice and guidance to a newbie and hopefully somone who has made a start already so you don’t have to start from scratch!

Lastly, I’ll use the example of the recent census in the UK. I’ve heard many people say they don’t even know what the census is and they ranged from 16-30 odd year olds. I was glad to explain what it was all about but also was slightly worried that somewhere down the line they had not been told about the census or perhaps they just didn’t remember.

Let’s do our best to get more people involved in family history!

P.S. UK readers: Remember to fill in your census forms and return them. (I have :P)

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How to Organize Your Files

Here is a website I found that shows you how to organize the bits and pieces of paper that you have regarding your ancestors. gives you a guide on how to organize your information so you can easily find what you’re looking for without rummaging through piles of paper. It has a system for Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree, MyTrees Online (haven’t heard of that one) and Personal Ancestral File software. I would suggest looking through these guides just to see what kind of ideas there are to try, maybe something will appear interesting. I found the explanation MRINs AND RINs really interesting as I didn’t know what they were before.

If you’re like me and you don’t have much papers to sort and pile (lucky or unlucky – you decide), then I wouldn’t bother with this. I’ve not reached the stage where I have many same names where I get confused about who I’m looking for. Additionally, most of my work is on my computer which means I can search and find material quicker.

Things you’ll need for this task:
* A genealogy software
* Binders/Folders
* Tabs
* Documents (sources etc)
* Time

Good luck to those trying to organize their work. Some day your children, grandchildren will appreciate your tidiness!

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How to create a family group sheet

Last year I downloaded the free Legacy 7, and transferred my family tree file from PAF to the new software. Today, I thought I’d give a little guide on how to create a family group sheet.

Open your family tree file on Legacy:

Click on ‘Reports’ button on top and a window will appear, click on the ‘Family’ tab:

Type the full name of the chosen persons family sheet in the title box:

Click on the ‘Report Options’ icon and choose various information to be included and the format (whatever you prefer). I chose to include the RINs and MRINs.* You could also take out the christening date and place, which I realised afterwards!

You can then preview and print. Voila!

My preview looked like this:

*What are RINs and MRINs?

Each person in your database has a number called a Record Identification Number (RIN) and each family has a number called Marriage Record Identification Number (MRIN).

Can readers of this blog provide a guide to creating a family goup sheet with other software?

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How to use message boards

Let me introduce you to a genealogy research tool: message boards

The one I’ll be talking about today is:

The main page shows different message boards divided into surnames, regional and general topics. For instance, if I choose a surname to search for example, ‘DIN’, I am unable to find a message board. However, you can ‘request’ a forum for that surname by clicking on ‘Add a Forum’ at the bottom of the page:

If I want to search for a forum by country, e.g. Pakistan, I can click on ‘Countries’ which brings me to a page listed with various countries. I search for and click on ‘Pakistan’ where I can view previous posts that have been published on the forum.

How to write a post of your own ..

The first thing you have to note when writing a post on a forum is the title. Example of a bland and boring title would be ‘Information required’. Most likely, people viewing the board will immediately glance away from this post as it doesn’t seem that interesting (unless they are the types who have to view every post). Instead you should try to pack in information such as names, dates and regions. A good example of this is: ‘Looking for Imam Bukhsh from Dargan village, Pakistan 1910′

Usually I have come across messages that offer no information but simply demand it. It’s not good enough just to say you are searching for your family tree since most likely your family tree is not lurking on the Internet, waiting for you to find it. Your posts have to be clear and concise so don’t waffle otherwise readers will be put off.
Also try looking for answers locally by asking family members, historians in the region you are researching and searching for books at your local library.
People with similar research interests will most often share their information with you so saying ‘thankyou‘ and ‘please’ are some pleasantries that should not be forgotten.

Lastly, don’t be despondent if you don’t have the amount of feedback that you had hoped for. As genealogy becomes more popular within the Pakistani community, more people will look to the Internet as a means to do their research.

Please do give your comments below or even email me your thoughts at pakistani_g[at] – I’d love to hear from you.

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My mother’s mother’s mother’s mother

How well do you know your matrilineal lines? Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of my 2nd great grandma (from my mother’s side) but I know the next best thing, her daughter’s name. So I have the name of my great grandma.

5) –?–
4) Great grandma
3) Grandma

2) Mum

1) Me

It’s difficult to find women on many family trees created by Pakistanis as many researchers fail to include them. But should we be looking for our female ancestors in the same way as our male ancestors? Click here to watch an online seminar I came across which covers aspects to researching your matrilineal lines. It’s narrated by Julie Helen Otto, a NEHGS genealogist.

What if it were the other way round? What if the question was, who is your father’s father’s father’s father? Would you have the answer?

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