Tributes & Video Biographies
Sharing Life Stories, Connecting Generations, Preserving Legacies

More on and My Genealogical Family Tree

Late last year I started a family genealogy tree on and blogged about what exactly Geni is.

Recently my parents were in town visiting and my dad and I sat down for a couple of hours at, armed with an old genealogical tree that I had roughly put together about 20 years ago. My intention was to get the remaining tree fleshed out with correct names, spouses, and any other information my dad might have. Both my parents are in their 80s and since many branches of our family tree are estranged or otherwise not talking, it was pretty important that I get this information while my parents are still around.

I often talk to people whose parents are in their 50s and they say they don’t need to worry about those things now, there’s plenty of time. Well, I am here to say that you can never rely on time or memory to serve you when you think you’ll be ready. I’m really glad that I had taken the time 20 years ago and put that genealogical chart together since my dad’s memory was weak on so many of the details. The chart served to remind him and in some cases, serve as the primary source of information since he just didn’t remember.

So as I write this, I now have 113 people on my family tree. My first cousin once removed, Norman, took the bull by the horns and admirably filled in all the details of his specific part of the tree including adding some amazing photos of my great-grandparents that I’ve never seen. He added his children and grandchildren and now his children are filling out their profiles. My cousin Shari also filled in a bit of information about her and her sister’s husbands and children. It’s so exciting to get the email updates from Geni and watch this virtual database slowly being propagated.

Interestingly enough, my 18 year old second cousin Zachary has volunteered to help me propagate his part of the family tree. Zach’s generation has grown up using social networking websites such as Facebook and My Space and updating an online profile is second nature for him.

While working backwards to find out the details of relatives long since deceased is difficult, the real beauty of sites such as is in moving forward. As far as genealogical research and the internet are concerned, we’re really at version 1.0. I suspect that when Zach’s children log into or whatever else will take its place in the future, they will be greeted not only by a graphical representation of their family tree, but a treasure trove of photos, stories, video clips and perhaps even holographic representations of their relatives.

I can’t wait to see how all of this evolves!

Stefani Twyford is a personal historian and video biographer sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.

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