For those of you, my long time and new friends, who are into genealogy, there is only one word I can think of to describe it. Contagious! :-)
I was into locating my genealogy as a teenager, and became more heavily involved with it when Decker died back in 2000. Being a member of the Mormon faith, we are big on locating our ancestors, not just for the temple work involved, but also because of the stories and how their lives impact ours today.
There is a lot more to genealogy than just names and dates. As I just mentioned there are also the stories. Everyone has them, some are fun stories, some are downright depressing. Some, however, such as stories about incidents within the family and health related information, can actually help people know what medical issues they should be looking for that are genetically passed from one generation to the next. For example: I didn't know breast cancer was in my family (both Mom's side and Dad's side) until a few years ago when one of my aunts passed away from it. That's when it began to be discussed within my family.
As with many families, particularly ones where people didn't want to talk about the history of the family, this can be especially daunting, and sadly it takes a tragedy for things to come out. The good news is, once it does, the younger generation will at least have that information as part of their own history and they will hopefully pass it on.
Every family has their own sets of stories, and mine is no different.
I posted a few of the ones pertaining to deceased members of my family onto a web site I created as part of a Web Page Design class I took in 2001-2002. I need to update it, as several other family members (including my Father) have since passed away.
There are also a lot of online resources for people to locate stories as well as family members they didn't know existed. The social aspect of the internet has really propelled this ability to share this information with a lot of people, which has been quite a miracle in my eyes.
When Decker died back in 2000, I felt the pressure to finish the work he had tried to do, but was unable to finish at his unexpected death. He was the High Priest Group Leader in our Ward, and as such was responsible for getting the Family History (genealogy) work going in the Ward. While he was unable to get a class going, I got one going after his death.
Because of his encouragement that I take computer classes (he said my logical thinking was perfect for programming skills), I used those classes to create a program to tutor people on how to use the Church's software to submit located ancestors for temple work. This program was called Ascending The Temple Steps. At the time I was inspired by God to make it, the Church used the PAF program along with a new computer software called Temple Ready to get floppy disks ready with the names to be turned in to the Temple. This ground breaking software alone cut down the months long process of submitting paperwork to Salt Lake for approval into just a few minutes.
I first shared my little program on CD's to members of my Ward. Then the Stake leadership found out about it, and I began making CD's to the Stake. They told their friends and family about it, and before too long I was creating CD's and shipping them all over world, as far away as New Zealand. Because the program I made was HTML based and the tutorials were on PDF's, this allowed for an easier time for people worldwide to enjoy the contents of the CD. Pretty soon, though, I was spending hundreds of dollars on CD's and shipping charges, so I made the decision to post it onto the internet for easier location and ability to use.
Thankfully the Church now has a new secured system that has combined membership records with the genealogy records to give members a centralized location to locate, submit and collaborate with family on their genealogy and temple work.
I've left up the Ascending The Temple Steps web site though, it's a little more of a nostalgic look at how far things have come within the last 10 years (even more depending on how long you've been doing genealogy) with the technology.
The New Family Search web site for the Church:
After the success of the Ascending The Temple Steps program, I was asked to be a part of a Stake Committee to create a Family History program to teach children via our Primary about Family History. The result of our work can be found on my web site, an internet version of the paper workbook and disk the committee made called Turn Your Hearts:
These and other links can be found on a section of my personal web site called Genealogy Pages: