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Monday, June 24, 2024

Genealogy Zoom Lecture: Building and Understanding the Family Tree

The Warren County Library offered an online Zoom lecture titled ‘Building and Understanding the Family Tree’ on Thursday evening, November 10th.

Eric Migdal from “It’s All Relative Genealogy” turned his hobby into a business during the Pandemic. He started out with a lecture at his town library, this proved successful and now he has lectured in many libraries state-wide.

Migdal has helped many friends and family reunite, estate lawyers find family members and a client find his Native American ancestors.

He first became interested in his lineage 26 years ago after the birth of his daughter. He became curious about who his biological family might be because he was adopted. He had very little to go by, only knowing the name of his biological mother and what State she lived in and that was all. Sometimes wrong information makes the task harder.

In his case, the age of his mom was wrong. With patience and tenacity, he plowed on.

He spoke about how to gather information, starting with the mother’s birth record setting a solid root in the family’s history.

His valuable tips include writing everything down, stories you may have heard, record birth dates, marriages and death dates. Look up Census records, ship records and obituaries.

There are some good websites offering information to help with this process.

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization and website offering genealogical records, education records, and free software.

Start the tree with you then add your parents, their siblings and your cousins. Then work on your four grandparents and follow the same path. It can be hard to find documents.

FamilySearch is a non-profit operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is closely connected with the church’s Family History Department, this website is free.

Fold3 features premier collections of original military records. These records include the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served in the military. Premium Membership is about $80.00 per year. is the largest online newspaper archive consisting of 617 million plus pages of historical newspapers from 19,600 newspapers from around the United States and abroad. Newspapers provide a unique view of the past and can help us understand and connect with the people, events and attitudes of an earlier time. Cost is about $19.99 a month.

Another helpful tool is DNA testing. This simple test is a spit test into a tube that is sent out and analyzed. At that point it may be possible to contact your matches. Migdal shared his own story about how he has become very close with a relative he found, now they talk often and spend time together. is a popular company that allows users to build a family tree online and the ability to download the data so it can be used in other places. has free tools, but the subscription account is better, prices range from $24.99 a month to $37.99 for the World Edition.

23 and Me is another company that will assist in building a tree from the DNA test results. Testing can cost $99.00.

My Heritage allows users to build a limited family tree for free. Subscription required for larger tree builds.

Migdal’s lecture was informative. He enthusiastically provided the tools to do genealogy research to make a family tree. This hobby can be exhausting, but well worth the effort. It can connect families and provide closure.

Migdal is open to new clients, and he offers a free consultation if interested. Check out his
website at,

“To be without trees would, in the most literal way, to be without our roots.”

― Richard Mabey

Yelens Choban
MB Journe, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

MB has been a resident of Frelinghuysen for the past 22 years. She lives in an old farmhouse on the side of the road. She enjoys the simple life, puttering in her flower garden, practicing Qi Gong under her redbud tree, or creating art on the deck.
MB's experience as a journalist began when her son was quite young, she began writing for The Paulinskill Valley Chronicle, often bringing him to work with her. Her responsibilities were writing articles with photos, selling ads, and billing. This suited her, as a single mother not wanting to be separated from her small child.

She considers herself a lover of nature, often seen photographing its beauty. She has worked as a seasonal employee of YMCA Camp Mason for the past 17 years. She is a teacher and mentor of children, always emphasizing the YMCA’s core values - caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. She tries to listen carefully to each individual she interviews, getting their viewpoint. That is why she likes to write about the interesting people and places that make Warren County such a nice place to live.