Dear Sir (or Ma'am? I've never been able to figure out if you're male or female),
I had heard that we shouldn't upload our trees to FamilySearch.org because anyone can go in and change the info we've entered. Do you know if this is true or not? If it's true, this new feature isn't very applicable to those of us who are just keeping our trees on Ancestry.com and our own software because we don't want others messing with our information. But if it's not true, this would be an excellent reason to upload our trees to FamilySearch, and I would start promoting it to my students.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.
Katherine Willson (Ann Arbor, MI)
Gosh, where to start. First, yes I am male or female.
Next, the rumor you’ve heard that you shouldn’t upload your tree to FamilySearch.org is pretty much false. I’m hedging a little bit. Let me go through the steps and you’ll see why.
Save a copy of your tree in GEDCOM format. You’ll upload this copy to FamilySearch, Go to FamilySearch.org. You’ll need to register (it’s free) before uploading your tree. Click on “Join For Free” near the top-right corner of the page and complete the registration. Click or hover over Search on the menu bar, then select Genealogies. On this page you can upload your GEDCOM tree or search the GEDCOM trees of others. This collection of trees is called the Pedigree Resource File. Your GEDCOM tree is your tree and no one can change it but you (by uploading a new GEDCOM over the top of it). Scroll down to the bottom and click on the button “Submit Tree.” Click on Add GEDCOM. Select your GEDCOM file, give it a title, and enter a description that might be helpful to others.
After it has finished uploading it will show up in your tree list at https://familysearch.org/upload/trees.
From the list you can Compare your tree to FamilySearch Family Tree, you can download a copy of your GEDCOM file, or you can delete it. As opposed to your tree, where you just uploaded, FamilySearch Family Tree is our tree. It is all of us building the family tree of all mankind. If you wish to be a part of this ambitious project, you can start by comparing your tree to Family Tree. Your tree remains unchanged in this process. To start, click Compare. FamilySearch.org tells you they will do the compare and send you an email.
When FamilySearch completes the comparison, the Compare button changes to View.
Click on View and FamilySearch.org shows the results of the comparison.
The people in your tree fall into four categories. “Potential Matches” might already be in Family Tree, but FamilySearch computers defer to you, a human being, to decide. “Add to Family Tree” are not in Family Tree, at least as far as the FamilySearch computers can tell. “Already in Family Tree” are in Family Tree already (duh). and “Invalid and Living” can not be added to Family Tree for whatever reason, including the potential of being alive. Click Review Results.
You may add those not already in Family Tree and view those considered invalid or living. For potential matches, you may specify if the person from your tree (on the left) is the same person as the potential match from Family Tree (on the right).
For those already in Family Tree, you have the option of copying facts from your tree (on the left) to Family Tree (on the right).
This can get rather tedious, as new people must be added to Family Tree one at a time and new facts about old people must be added one at a time. FamilySearch says this is by design. In the early days of New FamilySearch it was slammed with boatloads of duplicate people that gummed up the gears something fierce.
I won’t go into it here, but another, perhaps easier, way to contribute to Family Tree is to use a tree manager that supports direct synchronization with your tree on your home computer.
Let sum up. You should upload your tree to FamilySearch Pedigree Resource File. No one can change Pedigree Resource File trees but the contributor. You can also contribute to Family Tree. Anyone can change anything in Family Tree. Discussing the pros and cons of that model is beyond the scope of this article (which has already grown too long).
Thanks for your letter,
---The Ancestry Insider