Ancestry.com Dendrology 101: Ancestry World Tree
Ancestry World Tree (AWT) is a free collection of user-submitted GEDCOMs (trees). Your tree is visible to anyone (except that living individuals in the tree are obscured). The submitter can, however, decide the number of generations that users can download from the tree, if at all. AWT can print the standard genealogical reports (visible in the links in the illustration, below). Submitters' contact e-mail is available in 'bot-proof format, or Ancestry.com subscribers can opt to restrict contact through Ancestry.com's anonymous connection service. This service hides a tree-submitter's e-mail address while still allowing e-mail exchange with interested parties.
According to the Ancestry Daily News, AWT has been available on Ancestry.com since 1997. When Ancestry.com acquired RootsWeb.com, it decided to replace the original AWT with RootsWeb's WorldConnect. While WorldConnect was released in October 1999, it was the more capable of the two tree systems. Around October 2001 the trees from the two systems were merged and WorldConnect was given the ability to wear a WorldConnect mask or an Ancestry World Tree mask, depending on the website used to access it. Either way, it is the program and the same set of trees.
According to RootsWeb, each tree has a unique user code that appears in the URL after the characters "db=". The user code of trees submitted through AWT begin with ":a". The user code of trees submitted through Online Family Tree consists of a colon followed by a number. The user code of trees submitted through RootsWeb do not begin with a colon.
While the Ancestry.com website no longer curries submissions to and buries use of AWT, it remains available and on the RootsWeb side is RootsWeb's primary vehicle for the free sharing of family trees. For more information about Ancestry.com's original positioning of AWT, visit the old AWT home page.