The Internet Explained Briefly

The Internet Explained

The Internet explained briefly and basically.

The Internet explainedNow that you have decided to share your research with the world we need to take a look at how we go about doing this.

The Internet

The Internet is made up of thousands, if not millions, of networks which are all interconnected in one way or another. Each of these networks can consist of servers, routers, hubs, modems and client computers.

Parts of the Internet

A server is a special computer that runs specific software that provide services such as hosting websites. There are other types of servers such as DNS, Mail, Database and FTP, but for the purposes of this eBook we will be only concentrating web hosting. Each hosting server can contain a multitude of different websites. To distinguish between these websites, we give each a name called a Domain Name.

Client Computers are the computers we use every day. These can include desktops, laptops, tablets and even mobile phones.

In between the two, you will find the Modems, Hubs and Routers, which give you the access, the connectivity to the Network Backbone and, the ability to move data to and from your computer to the website/server through the various networks that lay in between. A Network Backbone is the part of the network infrastructure that connects networks or the various pieces of a networks together, providing a path for the exchange of information between the different Local Area Networks (LAN) and Wide Area Networks(WAN).

How you fit in

So how do you fit into this picture? Well, to get your Family History online, you need to find a place on one of the millions of Web Servers out on the Internet and give it a name (The Domain Name). To update and maintain your website you need to be able to access this Web Server from your Client Computer (whether it be a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone) via the modems, hubs and routers which lay between your Client Computer and the Web Server.

Obviously, the Internet is a lot more complicated than what has been portrayed here, but the intention was never to give a detailed explanation but, only to explain, in simple terms, the various parts and the relationship you will have with them.


The Internet explained

5 Reasons why you should I place your family tree online?

Why you should place your family tree online.

why you should place your family tree online

Why you should place your family tree online!

To those of us who research our family history it can be a wondrous and exciting world of discovery but, also at times, a world of frustration. We seem to be always looking for a new way to move backward in time and discover that next generation of people who make us what we are today. With the advent of the Internet, sharing your information online can increase these opportunities even further.

Listed below are the 5 main reasons why I believe you should place your family tree online.

1. To Share Information.

Placing your family tree online is a great way to connect with family members who may live all over the world. By putting your family tree online it allows other members of the family, not only to view your research and information, but to add and share their own.

This way you can possibly obtain information and photos that may have been missing, or which fill in a gap, in your branch of the family tree.

2. To Share Stories

Having a Family history website online will allow you to share those family stories that are currently known only by a few. This will allow these stories to be saved for future generations and be enjoyed by all members of the family, even those in distant branches.

3. To Create New Family Historians

By having your family history displayed online, you may spark the interest of other members of the family who had never seen their family tree before. If they catch the bug and start to research their own lines, you can then collaborate and share not only the research, but the excitment of new discoveries, with someone else who is as engrossed in the same family tree as yourself.

4.  To Find Long Lost Relatives.

Nowadays, the Internet is a valuable and irreplaceable resource to family historians all over the world. Almost everyone who is researching their family history uses it. By having your research online you increase the chances of distant relatives finding you or, if they have their research online, you finding them. This can lead to not only, bigger family reunions but, the chance of finding out and, possibly obtaining information on and photos of, branches that you never knew existed.

5. To Display your Hard Earned Research

Every family historian knows the feeling of the late night searches, of hitting the proverbial brick wall and the frustration of realising you just cannot go back any further. So when we do have success, the exhilaration of discovery is one we want to share with anyone who will listen, most often our poor family members who just nod and smile to be polite. By placing your family tree online you can share your discoveries with the world and display your family history research with pride for everyone to see.

Why you should place your family tree online.

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Make My Own Family Tree

Make My Own Family Tree – Where do I start?

Make My Own Family TreeSo, I have made the decision to research my family history and make my own family tree.


I am excited, can’t wait to get started and are raring to go!


Where do I start?

Who do I begin with?

What is the first thing I should do?

Where do I start looking?

How do I record my information?

These are just some of the questions I needed to answer before I could start my adventure, so it seems to be the logical place to begin our journey here:

Where do I start?

As with most questions a decision is required to find the answer.

Making the right decision for you, depends on having as much information as possible to make the decision with.

So how did we go about doing this?

We took stock of our situation and determined exactly what information was available to us.

Together with my mother, who is a family history buff herself, we located and reviewed everything we could lay our hands on. Not only the notes, certificates, photos, documents and hand drawn trees left by my grandfather, but anything else we could find for any of the other branches of our family tree.

Once we had all this information, we could develop a clearer picture of where we were placed and what it was we needed to do.

With three vital questions being answered:

  • What was done?
  • What is needed to be done to be considered complete? and,
  • What was yet to be started?

a decision could be made on where we wanted to start.

You may find that a lot of the research has already been done by a distant relative, or you may find that there has been nothing done by anyone else in the family and you need to start from scratch. You may even be somewhere in between.

Whatever the circumstance, everyone’s situation will be different. But you won’t know where you need to start until you complete this process.

Once we had a idea of what we had, we could decide what research path we should take and where we should start.

Some points to consider:

If no previous research has been carried out

  • Begin with yourself and move back in time

If previous research has been completed

  • Do you continue on with that branch of the family?
  • Has the research on that branch been exhausted?
  • Do you take the research as gospel or, do you confirm prior to moving on (This would normally be determined by whether or not there is documentation gathered/available to confirm the current research ie Birth, Death or  Marriage, Wills, Census, Tax, or Land records etc).
  • Have all the details that you are interested in been covered? Ie  If there is only names and Date of Birth/Death do you want to take the research further and find occupation, addresses, baptisms, newspaper articles (if they exist) etc
  • Are there holes in the family tree that you want to fill?

Some Research paths are:

  • Paternal – Following your Fathers line
  • Maternal – Following your Mothers line
  • Paternal and Maternal – Following both your Father’s and Mother’s line
  • Surname Based – Researching your ancestors with the chosen surname
  • Family Branch Based – Picking one branch of the family and researching all members of it.

We chose to research both the Paternal and Maternal lines, as this is what my grandfather had done previously.

Your choice, obviously, may be different and will depend on what information you have available to you, the particular branch of the family that peaks your interest or, even the reason you are wanting to undertake this research.

We also decided to start on a new branch which had not previously been researched.

Obviously, to outline all the research that was done (in all our family branches) would take far to long and involve way to much duplication of the research techniques and hurdles that the coming articles intend to highlight. So, instead, in the coming weeks, I will follow the research and paths we took to discover the members of two branches of our family.

The first, is the Lyons family, as this is research is mainly based in Australia and has links back to the First Fleet. The goal here being, to outline Australian Specific research techniques and hurdles.

The second, will be the Barton family, as this research is mainly based in the UK, with the goal being to outline UK Specific research techniques and hurdles as seen from the Australian researcher’s perspective.

If you wish to view our full Family Tree please visit our Family History Website

As for the other questions raised here they will be answered in the coming articles.

So,  lets begin …


Make Your Own Family Tree – Deciding what to do…

Please let Me know what your thoughts

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My Journey: Placing Family History Online

My Journey: To Place My Family History Online

The Beginning…

To Place My Family History OnlineWhen I first decided to delve into the world of Family History and place my Family History Online, I was extremely lucky as, my grandfather (on my mothers side) was a avid family historian. Over the years, he had already completed a large amount of research and gathered together an enormous amount of information in the form of notes, certificates, photos, documents and hand drawn trees.

Unfortunately, he had passed on about ten years earlier so I could not ask him the questions I would have loved to ask. Like other Family Historian’s at the time, he had conducted his research before the advent of the Internet and mega-sites such as Ancestry and Find My Past, which I know he would have loved, especially with the fact that he could get in minutes what had taken him days, weeks or months to obtain previously.

But, now it was my turn!

Ok, so what now?

I am sure, just like me, most Family Historians felt overwhelmed, dubious and possibly confused at this point, just the same way as I did.

So, what was I to do next? Where was I to start? Where can I go to undertake the research? How was I going to record my research? Was there anyone else in the family who can help? Was I going to display the research? If I was, then how was I going to display the research?

All these questions and more were running through my mind, along with the feeling that my head was just about to explode. I was actually starting to think I had bitten of more than I can chew but, like most things in life, things started to fall in place and solving one question quite often led to the solution of the next. However, as good as that was when it occured, it was not always the case. Sometimes more questions were raised than answered but, as I now know, this is just all part the wonder of being a family historian.

My intention, in writing this series of posts is to go through the process I personally used to get around these hurdles and brick-walls, as well as to document, step by step, the research, documentation and storage methods I have found to be effective. I also wanted to show (and explain) the method I used to display my family history online to the world.

By no means am I claiming the methods outlined here are the only way of doing things, as I am sure other Family Historians will attest to, there are many other approaches and many other ways of doing the same thing. These methods just work for me and hopefully they will work for you too.

However, I am always open to improving myself and making my life a little easier, so please use the comment section, which will be available at the bottom of each page, to suggest the other methods and ways that you use. Or, simply leave a comment on what your thoughts are on the topic.

I would love to hear from you!

Now, lets get started!

My Journey: To Place My Family History Online

Install Filezilla onto your Hard Drive

1. Once you are ready to install FileZilla Double Click the Filezilla program:


2. Click Next



3. Click Next



4. Click Next if you are happy with the installation location or, if you wish change it click browse and choose your new location



5. Click the Install button to start the installation process





6. Click Next




7. Click Finish.


You have now installed Filezilla onto your computer

Editing The HTML/CSS Templates


To edit the HTML/CSS Template you just downloaded you need to use a HTML editor.

For Windows I would recommend Notepad++ which you can download from here. If you use a mac I would recommend using Sublime text which you can download here.

Or, of course, you can use any editor that you prefer. Just do not use Microsoft Word as it can cause some problems.

Ok, once you have downloaded and installed your preferred editor open the file you wish to make changes to in it.



Here I have chosen to edit the homepage (index.php) of the thorn template.

Change the Title of the Page.

To change the title of the page, look for the line that contains: <?php $pagename =”Homepage”; ?> (Usually the first line).

Change the word Homepage to whatever you want the name of the page to be.

For this example I will change it to:

<?php $pagename =”Thorn Family History”; ?>


Please Note: Make sure you save the file after making any changes.

If you upload to your server and then refresh the browser (or open it up in a browser if it wasn’t previously open) you should see the browser title bar change from Homepage to whatever you renamed the page to. In the case of this example it changes to Thorn Family History .



Change the Text in the template.

To change the text which is currently in the template, scroll down until you see the text you wish to change


Replace the text with what you want.



Save the file and upload to your server. Once you refresh it you should see the changes:


Of course, you can add as much text or as little text as you like.

Changing the Images

To change the image, copy the new one into the images directory of the the template folder, making sure you know what the name of the file is.

Then find the line that looks like: <img src=”images/family-history-website-templates-mdunn.jpg”> and change the name of the image to the name of the image you just copied to the images folder in the previous step.


Save the file and upload to your server. Once you refresh it you should see the changes:

change-image-resultPlease Note: This process is the same for one image, or for multiple images.


Add Images to the Templates

Add Images and Pictures To the Templates

When you use these templates you may wish to add a image somewhere on the page.

To do this copy the following line and place it in the location you would wish it to appear on your page. Make sure you also copy the image or picture to the images directory of the template

Then change the src and the class-name to match your requirements:

<img src=”add the path to your image here” class=”add appropriate class-name here”>

for example:

<img src=”images/mypicture.jpg” class=”profile-pic”>

Styling and positioning the image.

To add extra css to the template you can use the custom-stylesheet.css file found in the css folder in the template directory..


Once open in your favorite text editor add the following:

To position left:

img.class-name {

float:   left;


To position right:

img.class-name {

float:  right;


To position center:

img.class-name {

display: block;
margin: 0 auto;



Once you have positioned your image you will most likely want to set the images size.

To do so you can use the width and height css properties.

You can set these properties in pixels (px) and percentage (%)

For example:

img.class-name {

float:   left;
width:  100px
height: 150px



For example:

img.class-name {

float:   left;
width:  75%;
height: 75%;


A good way to keep the proportion correct is t0 use the value auto with the the height property.

For example:

img.class-name {

float:   left;
width:  75%;
height: auto;


This will work whether you use the pixels or the percentage format

Please note: Ensure you change class-name to match the class-name you used in the template and that you save the custom-stylesheet.css file after every change.


Need further Assistance? Email me!

Speak with your Elderly Relatives

So how and where do I start my research?

It can almost seem like an impossible task when you first begin. However, nowadays, there is a plethora of sites and blogs that give advice in this area.

And you have arrived at one more!

Start by speaking to all the elderly relatives you can. These may be your parents, grand parents, aunts and uncles. You will probably find that they have an amazing amount of information that can get you on your way and most of the time they will be more than happy to part with it.

Here is a List of Interview Questions you may wish to use to get you started.

The more information your elderly relatives can provide for you, the better your starting point will be.

It is also advisable to do these interviews sooner rather than later as, no one knows just how much time we have on this earth and, once your relatives pass on, all the information they have is lost forever.


How Do I Organise My Documentation?

how do i organise my documentation

How Do I Organise My Documentation?

So How Do I Organise My Documentation? This is an often overlooked but extremely important part of tracing your family tree.

So what is the best method?

Paper or Computer?

Do you use Paper or Computer to Document your family history? To this question there is no right or wrong answer. It is solely a personal preference and is up to you to choose the best method which suits your needs, your budget and your circumstances.

As most people who research their Family History are aware, it can involve a combination of the two, so most times it is just a matter of finding the best fit for you.

You do not need to reinvent the wheel either, when it comes to using a paper based documenting system. I have created some forms for this purpose which have served me faithfully over the years. Please feel free to use any, or all, that you feel are useful.

You can find these forms here

Personally, I keep paper copies of all documents such as Birth, Death and Marriage certificates, Electoral Rolls and Timelines then transfer this information to a computer genealogical software program. I also display my research online using WordPress –

If you do decide to keep paper documentation, and most people will, you will  need some way to number them. There are many ways to do this and, as with most things, there is no one correct method.

The way I number my documentation is as follows:

Document Category – Persons Surname – Persons Initials – Document Year

Some may say this method might be a little long, but I am of the view that longer is better as it allows me to easily tell what type of document it is and who it is for at a glance.

Some Categories that I use ( Of course you can use whatever categories you desire):

B Birth
D Death
M Marriage
E Electoral
T Timeline
Mil Military

For example:

The birth certificate of Hugh Kinkead (who was born in 1876) will be numbered : B-Kinkead-H-1876


What Family History Questions Should I Ask Relatives?

What Family History Questions Should I Ask Relatives?

what-family-history-questions-should-ask-relatives-iiSo, What Family History Questions Should I Ask Relatives?

It could be argued that this question and this step could be the most important step of all when starting out on your Family History adventure.

By asking the right questions and obtaining the correct information now, from relatives who were actually there, could possible help prevent you running into brick walls later on in your research.

Please feel free to use the following questions at your leisure.

Their are quit a few questions that can be asked at this stage but these are ones that have worked for me and hopefully they will work for you.

I have broken them up into 5 distinct sections for ease of use.

  1. Their Family
  2. Their Childhood
  3. Their Teenage Years
  4. Their Adulthood
  5. Miscellaneous

Some Family History questions that can be included under each area are:

Their Family

  • How did your parents first meet each other?
  • What did your Mother and Father do for a living?
  • What religion were they?
  • Was religion actively practiced in your home? If so how?
  • What were your Mother’s and Father’s political beliefs? Did they vary? Did it cause arguments?
  • What, if any, political organisations or activities were they involved in?
  • Did you regularly have contact with other relatives while growing up? If so who?
  • What were you Grandparents Names?
  • What did your Grandparents do for a living?
  • Where did your Grandparents live?
  • What do you remember about your Grandparents?
  • Did you hear any stories/yarns about earlier ancestors whom you never knew?
  • Was your family poor, well off, rich?
  • Do you remember any times when money was scarce?
  • Do you remember having to do without things you wanted or needed?
  • Was there family activities? If so what?
  • What did you do for Christmas, for Birthdays or for other Special Occasions?
  • Were there any favourite foods or recipes your mother or father cooked? Do you still cook them today?

Their Childhood

  • What is the date of your Birth?
  • What was the location of your Birth?
  • What is the first thing you remember?
  • Do you have any brothers or sisters? Are you the youngest? Oldest?
  • Can you remember what each of your brothers and sisters were like?
  • Where you close to any of them? If so who? Why?
  • Describe the house you grew up in. Describe your room, the yard where you played.
  • Did you have any chores as a child? If so what?
  • What were our brothers and sisters chores? How did the chores break down by gender?
  • Describe the Street/Area you grew up in.
  • Describe your neighbourhood or town.

Their Teenage Years

  • Do you cook and if so who taught you?
  • Did you like school? What did you like or dislike about it? What was your favourite subject?
  • Did you have any hobbies?
  • Who did you and your friends do when you hung out?
  • Did you have a ambition or know what you wanted to be when you grew up?
  • Did you have a part time job? If so what was it?

Their Adulthood

  • How/Where/When did your partner?
  • What was your wedding day like?.
  • Can you remember the days your children were born? Describe them for me!
  • Have you had more than one job? What were they? Which was your favourite?
  • When did you retire?
  • What do you do now that you are not working?


  • Who are some of your heroes?
  • What team do you follow?
  • What type of Music do you like? Who is your favourite artist? What is your favourite song?
  • Have you got to travel a lot? What was your favourite place
  • Did you serve in the military? If so, would you mind telling me about your experiences?
  • What haven’t we talked about that you’d like to discuss in the time we have left?

If you have any more questions you believe should be added to this list Please Let Me Know.

Click Here to Send Possible New  Family History Question

What Family History Questions Should I Ask Relatives?