Life Online 

I got my first computer back in 2001.  It was pieced together from various sources - monitor from this friend, keyboard from another, hard drive from another!  Hey it did the job required at the time!!  I'd seen Friends Reunited advertised and thought - I want to do that!  So after piecing together a computer - Dino (because it was a bit of a dinosaur) - off I went looking up old school friends and contacting people I hadn't seen in years!

I then progressed onto Genes Reunited and started dabbling in my family tree, building up names of aunties and uncles, through to grandparents.  The true bug for it didn't fully take hold until I made contact with Morag though. 

The discovery of MSN messenger was just fabulous!  I would sit for hours blethering away to my friends and having a laugh.  One night when I was blethering away to Alayne she told me of these Chat Rooms on MSN that you could go into and chat to people from all over the world.  There were various categories of rooms, hobbies and interests, social, fun and games etc and Adult!  So she sent me off to pick a nickname to be able to join in and sent me a link to a chat room that she was in.  It was called No Panties and it was in the adult section!  Well!!  What an eye opener that was!! Some of the conversations got particularly risque and to begin with I didn't like it at all.  There was one nice guy in the room though called Tony and we kept bumping in to him moving through the chat rooms.  Alayne only lasted with it for a short time but I became hooked!  After a while I even became a moderator in the No Panties chat room and we had our own community space for it too.  Some of the people in the room became firm friends and inevitably our first meet came about!  We all got on brilliantly in real life and had such a laugh.  I am still in touch with a couple of those friends now.  In October 2003, MSN made the decision to close all their chat rooms due to the exposure of paedophilia and grooming happening and we were all kind of left with nowhere to go.  Some of us kept in touch through MSN messenger for a while, but for the most part friendships simply petered out. 

By that time Morag and I had found each other and to prove a point to mum and dad I threw myself into tracing the family tree.  I used the Genes Reunited site, starting out on its chat room facility before actually joining up to do research.  The General Board was where I tended to base myself although to begin with I did only use the chat room.  It was here that I met Sue, who was a great support during my Breast Cancer, and it was on the general board that I met Lemon, who was also a great support during that difficult time.  Some other nicknames I may mention when talking about my online friends - such as Kaz, Chewy, Babs - were all met through using Genes Reunited.  All in all I spent almost 4 years on Genes, doing research and building friendships across the globe. We arranged meet ups and get togethers, more of which I will tell about under the McMad Friends heading.

After a particularly rough spell on Genes, a new site formed called XGR, then renamed Family Tree Forum (FTF).  A fair amount of members from Genes crossed over to the new site, some continuing with both.  FTF was an altogether happier and friendlier place to be, with moderators put in place to make sure there was no animosity as had become all too apparent on Genes.  I'm still a happy member of FTF now and continue to make new friends and keep up with old ones!

Coupled with using Genes and FTF, I discovered Scotland's People online.  An online source of certificates and census documents etc - a database none too different from going into Register House itself.  Albeit that it could end up costing a fair amount of money to use!
Then, during my time discovering sites online and having split up with my husband, I found Online Dating Sites!  Now that really was a laugh!!  There are some weird and wonderful people using those sites - from the sublime to the ridiculous!  Some guys would make contact basically asking for a one night stand, whereas others were genuinely looking for love and romance!  There are so many stories I could tell but for now I'll leave it there!

Another site that I use regularly is SGR, where I keep in touch with my many Australian friends.  One of which I've now met when she came to visit in the summer and another who I'm expecting to meet at New Year. 

On FTF, a quizzers group was set up which I participate in on a weekly basis and thoroughly enjoy.

The discovery of FaceBook was confusing.  To begin with I couldn't get to grips with it and didn't really enjoy it, so I ended up suspending my account.  Then a friend told me to try it again and look round the applications for games to play etc.  After finding Scrabulous and Jigsaws, I can now say I'm hooked!  I've found old school friends, FTF members, family members and old pals from where I grew up on the site.  Because of a recent copyright problem, Scrabulous has now been removed - which is a total nightmare - Scrabble just isn't quite the same!  But it's still a great site nonetheless!

I'm also heavily involved with our Village Gala and am in the process of setting up a website, not unlike this one, for them.

So all in all, I spend a fair bit of time on the computer and online, even if for the most part I'm blethering with friends!