Monday, January 07, 2008

Biting the Facebook Bullet - Where it Leads

I resisted the Facebook monster for quite a while. On Christmas Eve I finally succumbed and created an account. Almost straight away I was drawn to the potential for linking in with my geographically diverse family.

Most of my Facebook "friends" are related to me, and it has been a lovely informal way to keep in contact with people, some of whom I would have met only a handful of times in my life.

I also managed to locate a school friend with whom I'd fallen out of contact with which was reason enough to join for me.

I must say that I've had fun with a lot of the games and applications that one tends to join up to willy-nilly in the initial euphoria of learning how it all works.

One that stood out for me as an application that helps identify family and create a family tree. I was however concerned about the potential for public access to it and the information it contains.

This is not the first time the lure of understanding and tracking family history through a computerised form has inspired me, but the last time (maybe 10 years ago), the software was not quite as sophisticated as I needed for my large and somewhat confusing family.

Today I revisited my search for a piece of family tree type software, looking for something that was (at least initially) free but sophisticated enough to cope with the gnarled and twisted family tree that is mine (the ability to assign more than one family/parent etc.).

I think I have found just such a piece of software.

I have inputted the 30 or so people that make up my only-just-extended family (siblings, parents, partners and children), and it seems to be coping fabulously. I also found a review that places it top pick of genealogy software, which is pretty cool, given that I already started using that one!

I think I'd like to do some more to follow the tendrils of all the tree, to learn about how easy it is to become interlinked with so many people. I know my Dad's uncle has done a lot to trace their family line, and I'd like to be able to digitise it help future generations search it and understand it more easily.

Mostly, I would like to know more about the people around me.

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