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Beginning Your Family Tree For Free

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, August 1, 2001

Beginning your family tree... for free. Bloomberg Bootcamp, a report on today's technology. Computers and the Internet have revolutionized genealogy. But finding your way through the maze of records can still be difficult... especially if you're just starting out. Genealogy.com... a division of A & E Networks... since it was acquired in February... is trying to make it easier. VP Chris Andersen...

"They'll be able to build a family tree in just a few minutes. We actually walk people through, who are brand new to the hobby. We've done some research and found there's about a hundred twenty million Americans who are really interested in discovering their family history, they just have no idea about how to go about doing it. So, we've really laid it out for them in three easy steps."

Getting started is free. Using the online searches I was able to find some ancestors going back to the early 1600s in just a few minutes. But there are subscription databases and once you're involved, it's hard to resist investing in the company's software... Family TreeMaker. The title has been on the market since 1989 and sales have topped five million. Why the rise in interest in genealogy?

"A number of reasons. I think a lot of it is the aging of the baby boomers. They see their parents getting a little older, they want to make sure they can capture the stories that their parents have so they can pass it on to their kids. And a lot of people, as they are getting older, they want to make sure that they are creating this legacy, the story, that they are passing on to their family that's just never forgotten."

You can find the free Web edition at FamilyTreeMaker.com. Bloomberg Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin