Dear Ancestry Insider,
I am loving ancestry.com with the shaking leaves! I have created one ENORMOUS family tree. Will the big size become some disadvantage??? Should I have created four trees, one for each of my grandparents???
That’s an excellent question. I see pros and cons.
I personally share an Ancestry member tree with my siblings. It contains 8,500 ancestors and their descendants. It is convenient to have it all in one place. But if we ever have to split it, we will pay the piper plentifully.
We also have 1,300 photos and document images in the tree and that is a big problem. Ancestry.com’s photo management is in the honey bucket. Dealing with that number of photos is near impossible. I’ve uploaded a bunch over the years that I meant to go back and attach to a person. Now it’s impossible to find them. You have to manually scan through 53 pages of thumbnails. I’d like to sort them at times by title, upload date, event date, event location, person attached to, or geolocation. I’d like to search and filter them by any field or by specific fields. All I want are the basic management operations we’re used to from iTunes, Windows folders, Outlook, or photo management programs. I’ll gladly jump ship to FamilySearch or stay with Ancestry Member Trees if one would add some decent photo management. But I digress… The photo management problem would have been one-fourth the size had I used the four tree approach.
When I bought Family Tree Maker (actually, Ancestry.com provided me a review copy), I found it took a considerable amount of time to do the first synchronize between my desktop and online trees. Breaking that chore into four may have helped more. But that only needs to be done once. Having the result all in one file is nice if you have to search for something. For example, when I went to a conference in Springfield, I found nearby research opportunities by searching for family that died in Illinois. And may I say that I’m crazy happy that I keep a backup of my Ancestry Member Tree on my laptop. You never know when Ancestry.com will find it can make more money renting out puppies and shuts down Ancestry.com next September. But I digress…
While I’m collaborating mostly with siblings, I’ve shared the tree at times with more distant relatives. That’s been a bit awkward. Having four trees would make it more natural to grant access to first and second cousins. I also have almost a dozen project trees. These are small, private trees where I’m working on research not ready for prime time. Separate trees make it possible to share select information with select people.
All that said, I’m not feeling particularly well qualified to make a recommendation one way or the other.
Can you help Kath out? What is your experience? One tree? Four trees? More?
The Ancestry Insider