Greg Gore is Vice President of Praxis International, Inc.
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Preserving Family History with the Internet
by
Greg Gore

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Interest in online genealogy is mushrooming. Almost everyone seems fascinated in learning more about his or her family ancestry. Web sites such as Ancestry.com, Genealogy.com, and SierraHome.com offer resources to help you search for your ancestors. Ancestry.com and Genealogy.com each have databases of approximately 500 million names. Another useful genealogy research site is FamilySearch.org run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Both Ancestry.com and SierraHome.com offer free access to the Social Security Death Index. Using the SSDI database, you can search some 50 million names of people with social security cards who have died since the mid-1960s. My high school reunion committee, for example, used the SSDI database to learn that nine of our classmates have died.

As exciting as it is to learn about your ancestors, there are now resources available on the Internet to help you record and preserve your own family heritage and history. One of the best and most comprehensive of these resources is FamilyRealm.com, a local company headquartered right here in the Delaware Valley.

FamilyRealm.com of Media uses the phrase "proactive genealogy" to describe its flagship product, "The Online Family Heirloom." With this product, anyone can easily create a living legacy that can be passed down from generation to generation.

Don Freda, president and founder of FamilyRealm.com, says FamilyRealm.com is really about a different kind of estate planning. While the traditional estate planning industry in the United States is a billion dollar plus industry that focuses on passing money and property along to heirs, FamilyRealm.com, says Freda, "passes along hearts, minds, and images to heirs." This point rings true because when we hear television interviews with survivors of natural disasters, a common thread is that family photos and letters are the possessions that are most important to survivors.

Prior to founding FamilyRealm.com, Freda founded and built Vector Marketing Corporation, a direct selling company, into a hugely successful 100 million dollar a year company. Capitalizing on his strengths in the direct selling industry, he launched FamilyRealm.com as a unique company that blends the Internet with person-to-person selling.

While Don Freda is dedicated to building FamilyRealm.com into a billion dollar corporation, he is a consummate family man. He launched FamilyRealm.com "to promote family values and to highlight the value of the family. We're not about how far technology can take us. FamilyRealm.com is about how technology can bring families closer together." He is fond of quoting John F. Kennedy, "No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?"

Meeting with Don Freda helped me consider the importance of preparing another kind of "estate plan."

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The Greg Gore Web Site on Computers and the Internet (www.GregGore.com)

This column was published in the Daily Local News, West Chester, PA on November 8, 2000. Greg Gore can be reached at gg@GregGore.com.

2009 by Greg Gore. All rights reserved.