Over the last month, I’ve started to piece together my family history. As I come to publishing it online I realise how much private information it exposes. With a date of birth and a maiden name you can do a whole lot of damage to a person’s identity. So, with that realisation I have decided not to publicly publish this information. I will however write up some of the interesting facts and resources I encounter along the way.
My virtual family tree
What software am I using?
I researched and tried a small variety of genealogy software which is out there. In the end I settled on a product called Mac Family Tree.
It is extremely easy to use and seems to be quite powerful too. One of the most important features is that it is GEDCOM compatible. GEDCOM is a file format used to transfer genealogical data between various products.
One thing I intend to do with this GEDCOM format is to export it from Mac Family Tree and run it through a kind of website generator which will turn all the data into a navigable website for my family to use.
I also like this product because it can store all manner of factual information (e.g. dates, places, events) as well as more fluid types like stories, images, files, etc.
It displays a whole variety of reports and charts too which have already helped me pick up on some interesting facts and statistics occurring in my family.
What have I discovered so far?
There are some quite interesting stories about my maternal grandparents, my maternal grandfather and his father in-law. Discovering this didn’t require any digging through national archives. It was simply reaching out and asking people for any interesting stories and things they know.
Well, my grandparents were married by proxy. My grandfather had already moved to Australia (Queensland) and my grandmother was still in Italy. Before she would come to Australia she insisted that they get married. So they did, and it happened on opposite sides of the world.
My maternal great-grandfather (on my grandmother’s side) was Italian. In 1909 he jumped onto a boat and travelled to the USA to visit a family member there. He came through the Ellis Island port in New York so his entry records are available online. He was 29 at the time and travelled by himself from Sicily.
My maternal grandfather also had an interesting time during war times in Italy, but more on that another day.
On my father’s side, at my grandmother’s recent funeral, I saw a picture of my great-grandfather. The picture would have been taken in the late 1800s. The similarity between him, one of my uncles and my father is quite striking. Even more striking is how similar he looks to Mark Twain!
My next step is to fill in as many of the facts as I can. Mainly birth and death dates and locations. With this information I should be in a good position to start searching for various official documents like birth certificates and military records.