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Shaking Your Family Tree!

User-Friendly Software for Genealogy


Question: I have an Apple IIe computer and would like to purchase the most user-friendly program for genealogy. Can you recommend one?

Answer: One I have found that is easy to use and enables you to assemble pedigrees and compile a wealth of genealogical information for each ancestor is called Personal Ancestral File. Developed and distributed by the genealogical department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it costs $37.73 postpaid.

Versions are available for MS-DOS, Apple and CP/M computers. Address inquiries about system requirements to: Ancestral File Operations Unit, Genealogical Department, 50 East North Temple St., Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.

There are now many good software programs for genealogists. Consult advertisements in the latest issue of the Genealogical Helper magazine for additional information.

Q: My father was the son of John Cranby and Kate Slomer, but I have never been able to find the surname Cranby in any U.S. city.

Family tradition is that John Cranby was a German orphan who was sent to live with an uncle in England and when he was 14 years old his uncle apprenticed him to a Dutch sea captain. Later he jumped ship in Philadelphia, then settled in Chicago, where he died about 1902.

Since I can't find any other Cranbys, do you suppose this was an assumed name?

A: Possibly. Or the name originally might have been Granby. But first check the 1900 Soundex census for Cranby families throughout Illinois. There may have been others you do not know about. Also, locate a copy of his newspaper obituary. It may give the names of relatives and descendants that you can trace.

The Chicago Historical Society, Clark Street at North Avenue, Chicago, Ill. 60614 has old city directories, and you might be able to hire a researcher there to check them for you.

Your local library probably has many U.S. telephone directories on microfiche. It would be worthwhile to search these to see if you can find any other Cranbys who might have information about your ancestor.

Q: Are there birth records in England for 1729? I'm looking for records pertaining to my spouse's ancestor who served for seven years in the British army under Gen. Braddock during the French and Indian War.

A: There are baptismal records in English church records this early, but you need to know the shire before you can search for the appropriate parish records.

The main bulk of British army records are held at the Public Record Office, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, England. If you know the regiment involved, and if he was an officer, your search will be much easier.

However, you probably will need to hire someone to do the work for you, as the records and the filing system are complicated.

A source that might be able to direct you to such a researcher is the Army Historical Branch, Old War Office Building, London SW1A 2EU England. Also include two International Reply Coupons with your self-addressed envelope when writing to sources in other countries. You can obtain these from larger post offices.

Q: My maiden name is Graham and I know it is Scottish, but I would like to know more about where in Scotland my family came from.

A: Graham/Grahame is both Scottish and English. It means one who lived at the gray homestead or one who came from Grantham (Granta's homestead).

This ancient surname appears in the Domesday Book in Lincolnshire. It was taken to Scotland early in the 12th Century by an illustrious family of Anglo-Norman origin. It is now one of Scotland's most common surnames and is also a popular one in Ulster, Ireland.

Pinpointing the exact ancestral home of your family is going to require some digging.

For a beginner's how-to kit (with charts), send $4 to Myra Vanderpool Gormley, Box 64316, Tacoma, Wash. 98464.

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