This past week-end, I was surfing though Ancestry hints in my family tree while my husband and kids enjoyed some time in a hotel pool.  I was quite surprised to find a family tree that was obviously put up by one of my cousin’s sons! I didn’t think anyone else in my family did family research, so I emailed her to make sure it was him and it was! I remember that last year, my cousin had emailed me to get some family tree information for a graduate level class she was taking and I have to wonder if her son caught the “genealogy bug” after seeing some of that information.

So I’m thinking ahead to Christmas. I think I’m going to create an interactive Family History program using PowerPoint. My goal will be to put the program onto DVDs to give to my aunts/uncles/cousins/cousins-once-removed – or anyone who may be interested in the information. This will be my “bait” to see if I can get family members interested enough in our genealogy that they might begin telling me stories that they remember or realizing that they may have some documents or mementos that I might be interested in seeing. This type of interactive program would be much more appealing that the binders that I bring to family get-togethers. And copying a DVD is MUCH cheaper than copying pages and pages of documents!

I’m beginning to formulate a plan to put my genealogy research into an interactive PowerPoint program that will allow the user to jump from a person in the family tree to the section of the program that deals with that person. Each person will have a timeline page (user can click on a timeline entry to jump to that document page) and a Group Sheet page (user can click on any name or date to jump to that page).  The DVD format will allow me to put all kinds of documents into the program, but a family history “newbie” wouldn’t be overwhelmed by stacks and stacks of papers. I’ll make the program “clickable” so that a person will only see what they want to see. I’ll make the documents “educational” with information boxes so a person will see the kind of information we can discover with these documents. Maybe they will understand why I care about “boring” things like census records and tax records.  I want to include as many old photos as possible as well to make everything “come alive” and to perhaps job some memories as to what they might have that I don’t.

I’m thinking this might become a “How To” series on the blog. I’d like to say I’ll make this a weekly thing, but if I’ve learned anything this past year, it’s not to assume that you’ll have the time you think you’ll have!

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