Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Those Were The Days My Friend ...

I had a comment on yesterday's blog from Tracy about how she was grateful to get any research done, being a working mom with kids 6 and 2. It took me back ...

When my kids were ages 6 and 4 way back in 1986, we had a Tandy 1000 desktop computer with an "A" drive. That's right, no internal hard drive, that was added later to the tune of $400+ for a 20 mg (yes, that's megabytes) hard drive. I think at that time we also added another floppy drive, which may have been a 3.5 inch to complement the 5.25 inch floppy drive.

I had always been interested in family history and at our Tandy Users Group, one of the members who was into his family research told us about a little Basic program called "Genealogy On Display." Remember, this was before Windows. It wasn't a bad program, but rather cumbersome, so when I found out about a new program, called Brother's Keeper, I switched to that. I used that program for several years and even made the transition to Windows with it. At the time I switched from G-O-D to BK, there was no GEDCOM that was compatible with Genealogy on Display. So I simply printed out each record from G-O-D and reentered all 308 records into Brother's Keeper. All this happened before I found about Personal Ancestral File or PAF. I did try that, but found the sourcing a pain, after all I could never get those tags straight.

I had to go look on Wikipedia to see when GEDCOM was released, which was 1984. It was released for PAF 2.0 in 1985. The wider availability of it made switching from BK to Family Origins for Windows a breeze. It was in this time frame of BK5 and Family Origins 3 that programs began to allow you to add an image to someone's record. Now of course, you can add documents, sound files, and photos, as many as you want to each person. I used Family Origins until version 10 came out and then progressed with that to RootsMagic 4.0.x.

I can't believe how much genealogy programs have progressed. From the very basic up to the extremely complicated programs that we have today that will not only track your family, but also your families' DNA.

I installed our first modem, a 14.4 kps model for our dial-up connection. And does anyone else have these weird memories of trying to dial-up and the weird noises that would ensue while your modem attempted to connect to your Internet Service Provider?

I am grateful that for those formative years of my daughters' lives, I was able to be a stay-at-home-mom and able to spend a day at the local Family History Center, first as a patron and later as a volunteer. I learned so much there and did a lot of research. And through it all, there has been a genealogy program there to help me keep everything straight.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. Anne, My hat goes off to anyone who managed to keep it all straight before genealogy software of any kind.. heck before computers. Don't know if I would be as organized without my software! All I know is I sure am glad I have it! Now if they would just find someone way to automate the filing of all these papers! Nice post Anne!

  2. When I got started, I didn't use binders or anything. I had one file folder with what I had on my family - about 12 sheets of paper, some scraps with names written on them that my dad gave me - and an audio taped interview with my maternal grandfather that my uncle gave me. It wasn't until I put the info in the program that it started to make sense.

  3. I remember connecting at 400 baud, and when we were finally able to get online at 1200 I thought it was blazing fast! My first genie program was Brother's Keeper, even published my first family history book with it. Nice post, great memories.

  4. I remember being members of the Greater Detroit Free Net (GDFN, which, when slow(!)was called the God Damn Free Net). We used to belong to UseGroups. I was heavily into a Star Trek Voyager group, and Jim was part of the Steely Dan usegroup. There was no internet to surf yet! And I remember logging on, then walking away to complete tasks, and by the time I came back, I MIGHT be connected. Uphill, both ways.

  5. - that was me and I still find archived posts online with that email address.