We first met Donna when she contacted MyHeritage.com
with a story that really made us smile. She nearly lost all of her family tree data due to a computer crash, but was relieved to find out she could recover her data through her online family site! We know how much time and effort goes into building family trees, so we were thrilled to hear that Donna's online family site served as a nice and free backup for her FTB projects -- allowing her to recover all of her special family photos and family records.
As we got to talking, we soon realized that Donna had a great passion for her family history research and had worked out how to get the most out of her MyHeritage.com account. We asked if Donna would be willing to share some of her experiences with the community, and tell us a bit more about her family story. We hope you enjoy the interview!
Hi Donna. Thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Donna Emmons and I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and still live here. San Antonio is a city rich in history and I have had family in this area since 1840. I have 3 daughters, 3 grandchildren, and our latest addition, Madison Rose, my great granddaughter born on November 9, 2010! I have worked for the Greater San Antonio Transportation Company since 1971.
How did you get started on your family tree?
I began working on my family tree in 1988 when my uncle was doing research on the Emmons branch of our family. When I asked him questions about the women in the family - he didn't know and really acted uninterested. Since I was the mother of 3 daughters I wanted to know about these women, so I started doing research on my grandmother's part of the family, the Williams.
How would you describe your connection to your family history?
I feel a really deep connection to my family. I am thrilled when I realize that I am standing in the very spot that my ancestors stood almost 170 years ago or that one of my ancestors arrived on the Mayflower (Francis Cooke). How exciting!! My five times great-grandfather came to Texas in 1840 with his wife and 10 children. Some of the children were married with children so he brought all of them with him from Lincoln County, TN. These were very brave and adventurous people and they have passed these genes on to me.
How many people are in your family tree?
Right now there are about 1,500 in the database. I am sure I have an equal number that I have not entered yet. I have found preachers, farmers, and politicians, as well as wealthy plantations owners and slaves. I have found ancestors famous and infamous, rich and poor – Somehow they have all come together to be one family and they are my family.
I really like the Smart Matches™ feature of this program. With this family search feature, I have contacted a number of people that are also researching the same family lines.
My computer crashed a couple of years ago and I needed a new genealogy program, so I looked online at a number of different options. MyHeritage.com
was the most reasonably priced and the most user friendly.
How has your online family site helped you to back up your Family Tree Builder data?
It has really been a lifesaver. I had a major disaster several months ago and once again lost all of my family tree data. Since all of my data was backed up on my online family site, I did not have to re-enter the data. MyHeritage.com
saved me hours and hours of work. It's great knowing that my online family site serves as a backup of my Family Tree Builder projects.
Have you downloaded Family Tree Builder 5.0? How do you like it so far?
I have downloaded the updated version and followed the instructions. Downloading everything (including photos) was quick and easy.
Many thanks to Donna for sharing, and congrats on your new great-granddaugther, Madison Rose!