I've been interested in making a family tree since I first found the GRAMPS family tree software back around 2009. I may have considered it sooner, but this was the first time I had a program for it. However, I could only name upwards of 12 relatives, including myself, so I decided not to bother.
In November of 2011, my mother learned what became of the father she never knew, and her older sister who'd left home when my mother was a young child. Around this time, I also learned the maiden name of my grandmother, and decided to start that family tree.
The tree started small. I checked on Facebook for anyone my mother and older brother has listed as "family", as well as adding in any names I knew of. A friend then suggested I check FamilySearch, as they have census information. This allowed me to start growing the family tree beyond what I expected, but many of the census scans were available only to Ancestry.com members.
I decided to pay for one month membership for US data, which included two weeks free. Best decision I could have made. I was able to find information on more family members, and using public family trees, mine grew quickly.
This was great for finding relatives of my grandfather, and for seeing where my family came from over the generations. However, when you're pooling from public family trees which lack citations, there's a big possibility of attaching a whole branch that's actually unrelated. I decided to start over on the family tree, adding only information with sources. This web page is an output of that information.