What I Learned - Day One

metal tree with framesI’ve decided to jump in and make a serious attempt to begin working on my family tree. As a person who has dabbled in genealogy, but is still rather new to the subject, I know that there is a lot for me to learn. I’m excited to discover more about my ancestors, and, at the same time, I am a bit anxious about the research aspect of genealogy.

Today, I learned that it is not easy to find a genealogy website that can be searched for free. I started my work by typing the words “free genealogy website” into google. It seemed as though google had found me something I could use. Imagine my disappointment when the supposedly free website redirected me back to Ancestry.com, which is not free.

I decided to give a website called “My Heritage” a try. The page says that the MyHeritage Research search engine lets you search over 1,400 free genealogy websites at the same time. It looks for multiple spelling variations, phonetic synonyms, Soundex and Megadex variants. I’m not entirely certain what some of those things are, but, they sound impressive.

I have heard that a good place to begin your genealogy research is with yourself, and so I entered my own first name, and my unmarried surname into the search engine. This brought me to a new page, where I could see a list of several items that it found. This looked promising, until I ran into a problem. A small window popped up that informed me that MyHeritage.com Research requires a Java plug-in from Sun Microsoft systems, inc., and that my computer did not have the updated version of it. I was told to click OK if I wanted to install the most recent version of Java. Did I want to do that? I wasn’t sure, and was going to simply close the page. Unfortunately, this little window completely locked up my computer. My choices appear to be to click OK, or to basically pull the plug on my computer, so it will shut itself off. Time to ask my husband if I should click OK!

He reviewed the problem, and said I should, in fact, click Ok. So I did. This took me another webpage where I clicked a button, and attempted to download the latest version of Java. I quickly learned that my computer cannot actually use that version of Java because I actually have a newer version already. Today I learned that technology issues can seriously impede a person’s genealogy research. Perhaps the problem is that I was using a Mac?

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