When I logged on to Ancestry.com this morning, I was met with a message about their updated website. Of course, I was given the choice of keeping with the familiar website or checking out the new one. I jumped at the new one … for one reason … lifestory.
Out of curiosity, I clicked on my grandpa’s profile to check out the new features.
On the surface, the new site looks cleaner and refreshed. You essentially see the same type of family tree layouts and can still click on a name to jump to a profile or to edit the profile.
Once you click through the to profile, things start to appear a little different, but you still have the same information available: facts, sources, and family members. You can jump to the gallery and hints sections, too.
I love this feature.
You first get a brief history of your ancestor … basically an amalgamation of whatever facts you have attached to this person. You get family members, and can click through to them. Then, you can see a more detailed time line of your ancestor’s life, including maps as they move around.
And then I saw it … the Tri-State Tornado on March 18, 1925 … and a new leaf. I know the history of this devastating tornado … anyone who lives in it’s destructive path probably does.
Nonetheless, I felt a little jolt of excitement at the notion that this was connected to my grandpa’s timeline. He turned 6 on the day the tornado tore through the midwest, making this event all the more important to his life.
So, I clicked. And almost cried.
Then came the photos …
… and all of a sudden, I was thinking about a 6-year old little boy crouched under a metal bed frame, hiding from the screams of an F5 tornado as it ripped apart his hometown. Of course, I’ve heard stories about March 18, 1925 my whole life. Imagine, though, if you’d never known about this while researching your ancestor … and how, now, you have a whole new perspective about what s/he lived through. In this case, quite literally.
I’m impressed … excited … even giddy at how Ancestry has woven history into genealogy. Now, I just need to find time to look at my ancestors again and discover what gems I may in learning more about the times in which they lived.