Monday, July 9, 2012

Three Today

I cannot stress enough the value of posting one's family tree on the internet. Because I like to maintain control I made the decision to host my own site rather than use a subscription site like Geni or MyHeritage.

Three years ago today my Geniaus Family Site went live. I still stand by what I wrote in Geniaus Website Reflections in November 2009:

"I realise that it is now nearly four months since I uploaded my first Gedcom to the site. I am pleased to report that I am still delighted with the software I chose for the site, TNG (The Next Generation of Genealogy Software) and the hosting company they recommended, Simply Hosting. I outlined the reasons for my choices in an earlier blog post. 

I wondered whether I should make the site private or should I open it up to the world and share the fruits of my labour. I opted for the sharing path and am pleased to have done so. By publishing my work I have had contact from a number of distant cousins who have happened across the site as they searched the internet for their ancestors. These people have been able to add details to my tree and act as editors for my site.

Sharing my data has made me realise that some of my referencing in the early days left a lot to be desired so the web presence has embarrassed me into going over my data and seeking and tidying up my sources. Although my database of around 7,000 has not grown substantially the amount of referencing and checking I have done in the past four months has hopefully improved the quality of my data.

The collaborative nature of the TNG platform has enabed me to give varying levels of access to those kin who have contacted me. I can allow downloads of gedcom files, editing of data and access to details of living relatives.

It takes less than five minutes to reload a new gedcom to the site so I am able to update it painlessly whenever I have made changes. Maintenance is a breeze. Uploading of photos and documents is easy, the face tagging feature for photos is fantastic.

A basic knowledge of html is useful to personalise the templates provided by TNG but patience and perseverance are the major traits needed to accomplish this task. Although I would like to make formatting changes to the whole site I am hastening slowly.

I am thrilled by my choice of software and would recommend it to any family historians who want a presence on the web where they can easily collaborate with cousins."

Since I penned those words in 2009 I have continued to hear from new cousins on a weekly basis; some seem to want me to do their family trees for them but most offer suggestions for additions and edits to my site for which I am most grateful. Some have been most generous in sharing family photos and documents.

I continue to add new sources to the people in my tree as I come across them; I usually publish an update to my site every two or three weeks.

I have learnt not to allow downloading of gedcom files as this makes it easy for others to publish my data on sites like Ancestry or in their own trees. My family site is dynamic - it changes constantly as  I add new data - sadly the people who have copied my info directly into their Ancestry trees do not share my habit of continual updates. But this is only a little annoyance that is overweighed by the marvellous connections I have made. 

If you've got ancestors - flaunt them


Linda McCauley said...

So true. I often wish I'd kept track of the number of cousins who have contacted me in the 5+ years since I setup a website with my data.

genebrarian said...

I agree wholeheartedly Jill. Sharing is good. I've connected with numerous family members via the website, or Facebook.

I'd like to be able to create my own website, but lack the time to create one. One day, when I have time . . .

I don't allow downloading of the GEDCOM either on my site - however, that doesn't stop the info being copied unfortunately!

Bribie Family History Association said...

Happy third birthday! Doesn't seem that long ago.

Sharon said...

Happy birthday Jill. I too, come across unreferenced dates and think, where did I get that information. I've become much better and recording sources. Perhaps this should be a number one tip for new researchers.

Seonaid, I'm like you except that I have started to get mine organised online but have come to a standstill. Work getting so much busier.

Elizabeth O'Neal said...

Happy blogaversary, Jill! Here's to many more.


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