This Is our Village

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Who Do You Think You Are?"

"Who Do You Think You Are?" You've heard this familiar phrase, haven't you?

 If not, then be sure to make yourself at home on February 3, and turn your TV to NBC channel 3 or 432 at 8 PM. That's when the season 3 premiere of the hit genealogy show, "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?" will air. If you find the show interesting and would like follow in their footsteps by learning more about your own ancestry, we hope you'll join the newly formed Century Village Genealogy Club. They can help you do just that!
The Genealogy Club of Century Village currently has approximately 15 members who are learning how to discover their own roots as well as the ancestry of their friends and family. Our club features both novice and expert alike. Our club is open to anyone and everyone desiring to explore the global phenomenon of genealogy and ancestral research into their family tree.

We plan to also provide video biographies for those in Century Village who wish to leave a video taped legacy for their descendents. I'm sure that many, many of our CV residents have remarkable life stories to tell, many of them stories of heroism under fire, extremely accomplished careers, as well as those who have devoted their lives to the care of others, both old and young. We want to hear your stories.

The club meets every other week on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 1:30 PM in Classroom B. of the main clubhouse.

We have already heard wonderful stories by members who have discovered many new facts about where they come from and those family members who came before them. For example:

·         Lee never really knew much about his family because his mom grew up as an orphan in Hungary and had no living relatives. His father, who had served in World War II and Korea, did not speak much of his time growing up and his  30 year military career. After the passing of both of his parents, Lee met his current wife Sharon who has been doing genealogy research for over 20 years as a hobby. Shortly after they met, Lee asked her if there was a way for him to learn a little more about his family's ancestry. Unbelievably, WITHIN ONE HOUR,  Sharon had revealed to Lee more information about his past family members, such as their names, who they were related to within the family, dates of birth, date of death, how they died, how they lived, etc., than he had known his whole life! Even more remarkably, following her initial research into his family, there was a lingering question In her mind about why Lee's grandfather's name was different than his grandmother's. She conducted research throughout the available Internet databases and other resources until one day, while looking on, she came across a picture. It was just an ordinary picture of a man in a normal pose of no unusual significance. He was listed as the grandfather in another unknown person's family tree. However, there was something about the man that caught her eye. She saw a slight resemblance to her own husband's family. She e-mailed the other person on the website to delve deeper into this man's identity. Within a week she had discovered approximately 30 new cousins and a whole other side of her husband's family that they never knew existed! The man was indeed Lee's grandfather!

·         One club member made contact with someone in Australia who said that they were related to his wife's aunt. He passed this information on to her children who are currently researching this information.

·         Seymour's niece brought him some information from one of the websites showing that their relatives had come over on ships from Poland. The actual ships' manifests were online and available to see right on the website!

·         Cathy has been doing research on her husband, his father and mother using Family Tree Maker software. She says she has found so much information on their relatives its unbelievable. On a side note, she was doing research in 1999 and had requested information from her relatives just before the end of the year. If you recall, Y2K was supposed to spell doom for computers in the year 2000 because of the unknown repercussions that would befall them due to the programming of the calendar year, so she was frantically calling them and asking them to "get your information to me before the computers crash!" Of course we all know what happened. It was a false alarm!

·         Ann, through her genealogy research, turned up a relative who just happened to be the first witch burned at the stake during the Salem Witch Trials! She also found a connection to a murder that took place in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota! It just goes to show, just as has been discovered in the TV show, that not everything you discover is necessarily positive in nature.

·         Elaine, who is British, likes to trudge through cemeteries, writes to historical societies and uses the Mormon Library frequently to do her research. She discovered one of her ancestors was a Baron in England and that his descendents had done a great deal of research on this aspect of her family tree. After much effort, she was able to finally contact them, however she was told that she was too late. The nephew and niece, thinking the information was no longer important, trashed all of the research!

These are just some of the fascinating stories that are already emerging from our club meetings.

In addition to the very interesting stories that are told, another function of the club is to educate our members and guests on the use of software to enter the data on their families' ancestry as well as how to conduct research utilizing all of the tools and resources available on the Internet, public libraries, historical archives, museums, etc. We have invited a member of the Palm Beach County genealogical Society to present information at our next meeting. We hope to have speakers from different aspects of the genealogical world educating us on a regular basis.

As I mentioned earlier, we also have our own local club experts who have many years of experience and can help us learn the science of doing research, data entry, identifying resources, and many other tasks. We will provide PowerPoint presentations and demonstrations of the use of both the Family Tree Maker software and Legacy Family Tree software for entering data, including not only text and documents but also audio files, pictures and video. Some of the topics we plan to present in the future are:

1.       Genealogy for Beginners

2.       Basic Data Entry

3.       Data Entry Rules

4.       AKA's and Addresses

5.       Mastering Legacy: Names, Dates, Places

6.       Your 12 Step Checklist to Using Legacy

7.       Guide to Sources

8.       Researching Events and Chronologies

Getting started with genealogy research is very easy and what's more-IT'S FREE! If you would like to get started learning the basics of genealogy software without any investment, you can simply go to and download the Standard Edition of Legacy Family Tree 7.5 right to your computer at no charge! If you are impatient and want to get started right away without waiting for our next class/meeting on February 6, 2012, you can click on the training link from the main page and view the "Legacy for Beginners" training video to get started. The class is approximately 44 minutes and will have you up and running in no time at all. You can then join us at our next club meeting and tell us all about how easy it was!

Once again, we hope you'll join us in the Century Village Genealogy Club. Don't forget to watch "Who Do You Think You Are?" on Friday, February 3, on NBC channel 3 or 432 at 8 PM. You'll see what all the excitement is about. You too may experience the same feelings of excitement, amazement, sadness, and incredible pride in discovering that your ancestor was an one of our founding fathers, or a president of the United States, or was a great inventor, or an entrepreneur who was profoundly instrumental in the founding of one of the largest cities in the world today! We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting on February 6, 2012. See you then!

Written by: Lee Hunt, President, Sheffield D. COA and Century Village Genealogy Club member.

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