I began my family tree search as a class project in the 7th grade. I still have the colored pencil tree I did BACK THEN in my now huge Family tree notebook.
I was lucky enough to have met several of my great grandparents and had a good start to my tree, but we started then with the search back on all sides of the family.
Back then, my mother and I went to libraries and searched census records of microfiche and microfilm. We photocopied records, made a notebook and added to the colored pencil tree as we went.
After I was grown, married and an educator, I did a family tree project with my students and started again working on my Roots project. I made huge posters showing my family tree to show them. We made the same colored pencil tree as their project, only I made it pretty on the computer.
As the computer age grew, so did my geneaology project. I purchased software and transferred everything to the computer. I use Family Tree Maker to keep up with all my people now!
I also sunscribed to Ancestry.com for several years. Although expensive, it is well worth its investment to the avid researcher. I was able to find all kinds of census records, marriage certificates and even long lost cousins through the subscription. Documents to back up and continue my now growing family tree. The great thing about the Internet is that you can get back far enough with your research that some professional may have picked up the trail and traced it waaaaaay back. I was lucky on several branches to be traced back to medeviel times by others hard work. In the census image above, my great-grandfather, who died while I was in the 7th grade and just beginning my geneaology project, was 13 years old. It is his Old Heavenly Highway Hymnal in my Generations Portrait #1.
My sister and I get on a kick every two years or so and we crank up the research again.
I have some really great photos and stories that I hope my children will appreciate someday.
I have made a notebook for my side of the family and one for my husband's side- which I have started on as well. ...his is proving much more difficult to trace than mine, however. His grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants to during the early 1900's, so the research is difficult with name changes and such.
I think it is important to know where you came from.
It helps you to see where you are going!!