Lost Relatives and Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide
“Collecting Dead Relatives and Sometimes a Live Cousin” and “My Family Tree is Lost in the Forest” are just some of the catchy slogans found printed on the shirts of genealogy enthusiasts. These avid researchers are looking to fill the holes in their family trees. It’s work that most have been at for decades.
My wife and I wanted to get started finding our lost relatives, but we didn’t know where to begin. She had a binder full of information that one of her relatives had put together, but other than that, we were the ones who were lost.
We started by going to the Genealogy library at Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library, but you can also do this online.
The first step to finding your lost relatives is to download all the information that has already been compiled. We did this by using the Ancestral File database that is indexed at the world’s largest genealogy library, The Family History Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. We remotely accessed the database and first found my wife’s records. We saw on her pedigree chart that some relatives had already compiled information on her mother’s line, but her father’s line was empty. After downloading my wife’s pedigree chart onto a GEDCOM file, we did some research on her father’s line. The family history consultant told us that it’s possible that there has been work done on her father’s line, but it just hasn’t been connected to my wife’s file.
By typing in her paternal grandfather’s name into the search, we were able to find much more information. The consultant told us that we needed to download his pedigree chart, take it home to our computer and merge his file with my wife’s file. That would associate all his information with my wife’s.
The best computer program for compiling Family History information is Personal Ancestral File (PAF) which is currently in the 5.2 release. The software is free, so you should be able to find it in any search engine.
Check back again for the next installment which will deal with doing your own research.
Good bye Moby Dick! Farewell Crime and Punishment! Adios National Geographic and Readers Digest!
PowerPoint and the generation of the 7th Millennium rules.
If you’re a “Baby Boomer”, PowerPoint will likely not appeal to you. Perhaps you will even feel it is evil. But I’ll give you two good reasons you ought to understand and appreciate PowerPoint. Your children and grandchildren.
PowerPoint is the way the Generation of the 7th Millennium and beyond will cope in this fast-paced, frenetic world of iPods, search engines and micro-minute attention spans. (If man came on to the scene in the year 4026 BCE then 1975 would mark the beginning of the seventh Millennium
Yes, if you were a teen in ’75, you remember reading novels and composing essays for your teachers and professors. On the weekends, you caught movies like Dog Day Afternoon, Mahogany, The Man Who Would Be King, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Love Story, The Stepford Wives, Three Days of the Condor and Monty Python and the Holy Grail (“Sir, by what name be ye known?” …reply? “Some call me Tim?”)
A good plot, drama, and wit (ok, we weren’t perfect then either) ruled the big screen.
But times have evolved. What was a “New York Minute” back then is a New York milli-second today.
The big screen stars born in that notable year include Drew Barrymore, Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, and Kate Winslet.
In ’75, there were five notable deaths — Marjorie Main (Ma Kettle), Susan Hayward, The Three Stooges’ Larry Fine and Moe Howard. The fifth death at the birth of the 7th Millennium was not noted for almost 20 years.
The death of which I am speaking is the death of reading and comprehension skills.
Many college professors trace the decline of student reading and retention to 1975, or the beginning of the 7th Millennium.
This is manifested by students who take no notes, wear stylish headsets that re-play lectures which were recorded by professors.
Look at how many professors today use PowerPoint presentations and give copies of the slides to their students to use as a study guide.
Do you really think students have time to read when the Internet furnishes information in lightning-quick fashion?
Why are newspapers folding, libraries closing and reader’s club subscriptions falling? Perhaps the biggest indictment is the Internet. Yes, the industrial age has died and the information age is alive and well. That is, if you like looking at pictures in shades of PowerPoint blue.
Delivering and receiving information has changed. There are a new set of rules for writing and reading on the web.
One sentence paragraphs are acceptable. None are longer than three sentences. On the better sites, articles are generally no longer than 750 words. That’s because reading is done by scanning.
To engage a reader (or scanner as the case may be), psychological tricks like connectives are used to tie one paragraph to the next.
There are two kinds of copy on the Internet. One appeals to traditional readers, the other to the newer generation of the 7th Millennium.
The key to educating 7th Millennium students is PowerPoint. The challenge facing educators, speakers and presenters is creating a lecture that can stand on its own merit, utilizing Power Point as a visual aid rather than making Power Point the presentation.
The generation of the 7th Millennium becomes easily bored. Stimulating students’ grey matter neurons requires using our own little grey box of tricks, using word illustrations and probing questions to elevate thinking. Power Point presentations combined with effective speaking tactics are a dynamic one-two punch in the lecture hall.
The future will remember non-predictions of the past as was the case with Jules Vern’s novel conception of a facsimile machine several decades before its creation.
Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and The Max Headroom Story will be ‘novel’ predictions of the future.
Moving forward, we will no longer look for 15 minutes of fame. No more New York minutes. On the web, things happen in seconds. Our future will soon become our past.
Perhaps the best we can hope for is that everybody will be somebody for 27 seconds. In a world of sound bites, images flashing before our eyes and action movies, the reality is that 27 seconds is an eternity on the net.
Capturing the attention of the generation of the 7th Millennium requires pictures, images, and attention-grabbing devices. PowerPoint is the solution. It is the salvation of tomorrow’s classroom.
May we use Power Point Presentations wisely.
You have listened to me for a year now talking about Choice Theory but I know I’ve never really explained what Choice Theory is. Choice Theory is actually an explanation of all human behavior developed by Dr. William Glasser.
There are basically five components of this theory—the basic human needs, the quality world, the perceived world, the comparing place and total behavior. I’ll give a brief overview of each one, starting with the five basic human needs.
The Basic Human Needs
We are born with five basic human needs—survival, love & belonging, power, freedom and fun. We are all born with these needs but we experience them to varying degrees. One person might have a high love & belonging need, while another person is high in freedom. We are born with these needs and are biologically driven to get them met in the best way available to us.
The Quality World
This is a place that exists inside all of us where we store pictures of things that have satisfied one or more of our basic needs in the past or things we think may satisfy them in the future. These things do not have to meet society’s definition of quality. Alcohol is in the quality world of an alcoholic, steeling cars in the quality world of a car thief, and domestic violence is in the quality world of a batterer. The only two requirements for entry into the quality world are that it meets one or more of our needs and it feels good.
The Perceived World
There is much to be said about the perceived world but for the purposes of this article, all I want to say is that we each have our own perceptions of the world. Our sensory system takes in information through sight, touch, sound, taste and scent, however we all have unique ways of processing that information based on our life experiences, our culture, and our values.
The main thing to remember about the perceived world is that if you encounter others whose perceived world doesn’t match yours, it doesn’t mean one of you is wrong. It simply means you are different. Remembering this simply statement will reduce much of the disagreements and fighting that occurs in people’s lives. Acceptance of this fact would mean we could give up the need to convince others of our point of view. We could simply accept the fact that we see things differently and move on.
The Comparing Place
The comparing place is where we weigh what we want from our quality world against our perceptions of what we believe we are actually getting. When these two things are a match, all is well.
However, when our perceptions and quality world don’t line up, in other words we perceive we are not in possession of the things we want, then we are driven to action to get those things we are thinking about. People generally don’t make a lot of progress or change the things they are currently doing unless they are in some degree of discomfort—the greater the pain the more motivation to try something different.
This is where conventional wisdom tells us that if we want what’s best for other people in our lives, then it is our responsibility to raise their pain level to get them to do things differently because we generally know what’s best for them. Right?
Wrong. We can only know what’s best for ourselves. Remember, our perceived worlds are all different. We have unique values and experiences. How can we possibly know what’s best for someone else when we haven’t been in their skin or lived their life? We can only know what’s best for ourselves.
There are two main things about behavior. One is that all behavior is purposeful and two is that all behavior is total. Let’s begin with the idea that all behavior is total. There are four inseparable components of behavior—action, thinking, feeling and physiology. These all exist simultaneously during any given behavior in which we engage. The first two components—acting and thinking—are the only components over which we can have direct control. This means that if we want to change how we are feeling or something that is happening in our bodies (physiology), then we must first consciously change what we are doing or how we are thinking.
As for all behavior being purposeful, all behavior is our best attempt to get something we want. We are never acting in response to some external stimulus. We are always acting proactively to get something we want. This means that when I would yell at my son to clean his room after asking him nicely several times, I wasn’t yelling because my son “made me mad.” I was yelling because I was still using my best attempt to get him to do what I wanted, which was to clean his room. This seems like I’m splitting hairs but it’s an important distinction to make when you are attempting to move from a victim’s role to that of an empowered person.
Choice Theory pretty much rids us of the idea that people are “misbehaving.” All anyone is doing is their best attempt to get something they want. Of course in the process, they may break laws, disregard rules and hurt others but those are really side effects of doing the best they know how to get their needs met. We are all doing our best—some of us simply have better tools, resources and behaviors at our disposal than others.
If we embrace Choice Theory’s concepts, then our function should be more to educate and help others self-evaluate the effectiveness of their own behavior. Know that often they will continue to do things exactly as they have because it’s familiar and/or because what they are doing really is getting them something they want. It is not our job to stop them, nor is it our job to rescue them from the consequences of their own behavior.
We can only make our best attempt to help others evaluate the effectiveness of their behavior and to choose a different way that perhaps is not against the rules or doesn’t hurt the person or someone else. Then, we need to get out of the way and let the situation play out. This may seem hard to do—like you aren’t doing your job as a parent, teacher, counselor, or supervisor, however, I ask, what is the alternative?
When you attempt to force or coerce or bribe another person to do things he or she doesn’t want to do, you may be successful. You may be able to find the right reward or create a painful enough consequence to get another person to do what you want but in so doing you are breeding resentment and contempt. Your relationship will suffer. If you believe, as I do, that relationship is the root of all influence, then you are losing your ability to influence another by using external control.