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Computer Genealogy 101
Get a lesson in researching, organizing and sharing your family history via your home computer.

Genealogical research is a paper generator by nature. Visit any seasoned genealogist's house, and you'll discover piles of paper, bulging file cabinets and binders full of family group sheets, pedigree charts and old photographs. If you're just starting your family tree, you might not have that much data yet — but you will soon, thanks to the Internet. Genealogy is now the second-most-popular subject on the Net (next to pornography), which means you can find millions of digitized records, compiled genealogies, photographs and other resources all at the click of a mouse. Chances are you'll find a few distant cousins, too.

As you compile your family history, you can organize your research with one of the many genealogy software programs on the market. These programs enable you to type in your research just once, then print out attractive tables and charts you can show off to family and friends. They also let you publish your family tree online and swap data with other researchers using compatible software.

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