Monday, March 6, 2017

17 Years of Research Being Flushed Down the Toilet

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxOne of my #RootsTech reports drew this comment from a reader:

Dear Ancestry Insider

The last paragraph on data innovation really struck home with me. I am 68 years old and have 5 family trees with the largest one having over 90,800 names, 15,400 obits, and numerous wedding announcements and anniversaries, etc. No one in my family has any interest in genealogy. I can see my 17 years of research being “flushed down the toilet” when I am incapable of maintaining my trees. I have basically quit my research because it seems pointless.

Couldn’t FamilySearch create something so trees on programs such as Legacy could be donated to them so that if, in the future, they have a use for that data it is there and hasn’t been destroyed?

I would gladly pay for a website that allowed my tree to be updated and stored online with sharing opportunities. I have an Ancestry tree but find their program not well thought out and pretty much useless for maintaining an online tree.

Signed,
Larry Blanchard

Dear Larry,

FAMILYSEARCH

FamilySearch does, indeed, accept tree donations. And it is free. It is not an online tree management program like Ancestry Member Trees. It is merely a repository to preserve and share your life’s work.

  1. Export a copy of your tree from Legacy as a GEDCOM.
  2. Go to FamilySearch.org.
  3. Select Free Account in the upper-right corner and create an account. Or if you already have an account, sign in.
  4. Select Search > Genealogies.
  5. Scroll to the bottom.
  6. Underneath “Contribute Your Research to the FamilySearch Community,” select Submit Tree.
  7. Follow the instructions to add your tree.

You will be given the opportunity to synch your tree with Family Tree. That step is unnecessary. I don’t know how long it takes to appear, but when others go to Search > Genealogies and search for a person in your tree, they will see results from your tree along with the other contributed trees.

Over the months and years, as you update your Legacy tree, upload it again, following the instructions to replace the last version uploaded.

GEDCOM does not support scanned images, so if you use this method to preserve your tree, it will not preserve your scanned images. FamilySearch provides a service for preserving those images, but you must manually upload each image. Legacy says that until FamilySearch allows them to interface with the memories system, Legacy is unable to build that function into their software.

ANCESTRY

You mention you don’t like Ancestry Member Trees. You can still use it as a place to store preservation copies of your tree. It reaches a different audience then FamilySearch. No one but paying Ancestry subscribers can see your tree. Ancestry will preserve your tree for free. In exchange, they benefit monetarily from the presence of your tree. Because you transfer your tree from Legacy using GEDCOM, again, your scanned images are lost.

To preserve your images, you could try an experiment. Buy Family Tree Maker and see if it will directly import your Legacy file. That might preserve your scanned images. Then create an Ancestry Member Tree and link it to the Family Tree Maker file. That might upload all your scanned images. But I don’t know if either of those “mights” will work.

A risk you take with either organization, Ancestry or FamilySearch, is that someday they lose interest in freely preserving your family tree. Ancestry is a for-profit company that has discontinued several previous tree products. FamilySearch is owned and bankrolled by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and while believers feel the Church will last forever and its doctrines concerning building family trees will never change, not everyone agrees. Pretty much everyone agrees that preserving your tree in multiple locations is a good idea.

 

Dear readers,

Do you have other suggestions for Larry? What have you done to preserve your research beyond your death?

Signed,
---The Ancestry Insider

25 comments:

  1. It's hard to beat good old fashioned paper. Larry could print out his images in addition to being sure he includes his sources for his images. He can also donate his work to various libraries, genealogical associations, historical societies, even museums if he has rare items. These entities are usually thrilled to receive such donations to supplement their collections.

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  2. Being a Family History Consultant for my congregation I often deal with the elderly in getting their family history onto familysearch. Often they have much research they have done by hand over the years with lots of notes. I usually advise them to pass it on to a local historical society so that it can be cataloged and made available for others in their line to view down the road. I would think that this same advice would be helpful for those with a database of their tree. Put the info on a disc along with a genealogy program that would reproduce it, print out some pedigree charts of the main lines of the family and a listing of all individuals in the tree. Take the CD and printouts to your local historical society and have them keep it for others to use.

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  3. Legacy (as well as RootsMagic) DO have the capability of synching image, stories, documents with FamilySearch. So, if you uploaded your tree in Genealogies to the Pedigree Resource File and then synched with FamilyTree you would have 2 versions that are archived in the Granite mountain and safe from catastrophes. The one in the Genealogies/Pedigree Resource File which can be updated with gedcoms and the one in Family Tree which allows you to synch with your stories, photos, documents (not audio yet)by using a program called Ancestral Quest.

    I imported my RootsMagic gedcom into Ancestral Quest (wasn't happy with how images were treated during the import, however, but maybe other imports, such as from Legacy and PAF would do better) and then synched those with FamilySearch Family Tree and it's really going quickly getting images up into FS and also downloading any new ones anyone has added.

    It's taking longer for RootsMagic and Legacy to add this as it's not a priority of theirs right now as I assume they don't have as many LDS users as does Ancestral Quest.

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  4. I have the latesst version of Family Tree Maker and it does import from Legacy, so that's by far the best option to preserve images, sources, etc. I still advocate also using GEDCOM to post my tree (without images) to Wikitree, Rootsweb WorldConnect, Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and any other place I can. The thought of losing the fruits of all that hard work is unbearable.

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  5. Anything with a relational database is going to have a limited lifespan. Image files use a format backed by an international data standard, but nothing of this ilk exists for family history data -- not even for the simple lineage portion of it. GEDCOM is a vague and narrow pipe through which you're suggesting Larry squeeze his data. fhiso.org are still looking at this issue and will be making a first proposal quite soon. As for me, I've taken a different route by writing my own specification (and associated software), which I will bequeath with my data files.

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  6. The Guild of One Name Studies (www.one-name.org) has had several preservation programs in place for some time for member's studies. They began a program a couple of years ago to enable members to preserve their study web sites on Guild servers. They have a shared version of TNG currently supporting about 150 studies in a program that is growing every week. Once a site is established it will be retained "forever". Of course, members can update their sites as often as they need to.

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  7. I think WikiTree, as mentioned above, is a fantastic resource and really attracts a lot of people. If you decide to do that and need any help please reply on this thread and I will do whatever you need me to do to help out. I think all of the research that you have been doing is wonderful and I am excited to get it out into the world and saved for all time.

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  8. I think it's important to get hard copies of the tree and any source documents to as many libraries, historical societies, and genealogical societies as possible. Not just those in the area where Larry lives now, but those in areas where branches of the family once lived. Providing electronic copies on CD/DVD in a standard format (e.g. pdf) would also be helpful but, as others have said, electronic systems become dated fairly quickly.

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  9. You can also obtain a FREE site at Tribal Pages and upload your Tree there though I am not certain if it will be there indefinitely. The FREE account has some limits and probably could not hold all of your information. I maintain a paid subscription there which allows me to have extra photos and add family stories, etc. It's a wonderful alternate place to place family information. I also have an account and 5 trees at Ancestry. I have a Family Search account as well though I have not yet uploaded a tree there.

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  10. If you can create a report with all your family research information and images,and save the document (MS Word or PDF); you can send it to the Allen County Library in Fort Wayne IN. They will print a copy for reference at the library and send you a copy.

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  11. Thank you for the detailed instructions on how to upload a GEDCOM to FamilySearch. I could never find such detail on how it works on their site. It looked like the only way to post to their trees was manually and not by GEDCOM. As I have a very large file, I wasn't about to do it all over again manually. So I'll go try one more time. I don't have Legacy, I hope it works for PAF.

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  12. You can also send your organized research to the Allen County Public Library in digital or paper form. Also, see if you can donate or leave your material to a local genealogical or historical society.

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  13. We also have a free new online family tree you might want to check out at rootsfinder.com. It allows you to upload a GEDCOM and preserve your data in FamilySearch's free Genealogies long-term preservation service, and we’re working with FamilySearch to give you the option to preserve your RootsFinder pictures as well.

    As has been pointed out, GEDCOM only transfers data, not images. But by the end of the month we will have a media transfer utility which will allow you to upload your GEDCOM along with the media from your computer so you won't have to upload your media later; it will all import everything at once and everything will stay attached.

    We're still new and getting the word out about this; in fact we were semifinalists at the RootsTech Innovator Showdown. If you want to check it out we appreciate your feedback!

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  14. A lot of great ideas here. Thanks to you, I'll try a lot of these avenues, especially RootsFinder.com. I'm in the same position as Mr. Blanchard, though I doubt even my combined trees reach that 98K individuals he has in his tree. I've done a lot of research for friends unrelated to my lines I'd like them to have access to in the future. You've suggested a lot of great options, but I've been trying to do manual entries for most like WikiTree and just putting the basic lines. A recent upload 2 weeks ago of my family related trees to FamilySearch said the tree wouldn't be put online until I reviewed the 28,000 plus individuals they contained and OK'd them. That's gonna take a long time. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the requirement and results. I have a lot of pictures and documents that of course did not get included in the ged.com. All of this is quite time-consuming.

    Deborah (Eagan) Lindsley

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    Replies
    1. Deborah,

      Regarding your tree on FamilySearch: You've misunderstood the FamilySearch.org messages (although it is probably FamilySearch's fault). They apply to FamilySearch Family Tree. Your tree is completely online in the FamilySearch Genealogies section, where no one can make changes to it. No further action is required. Your tree is NOT online in the FamilySearch Family Tree section, which is the tree that anyone can change. You may optionally review each of the 28,000 individuals individually to add them to Family Tree, where anyone can make any changes to them that they wish.

      ---tai

      Delete
  15. You can enter in communication with Nos Origines http://www.nosorigines.qc.ca

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  16. Hi Ancestry Insider,

    You stated that no one but paying Ancestry subscribers can see the family tree on Ancestry.com. In fact, anyone can create a free account at Ancestry.com and view public trees without purchasing a subscription.

    You also stated that users can upload a Legacy family tree as a GEDCOM (losing the images). According to the information at https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/pt/learnmore/gedcom.aspx, Legacy files ending in .fdb can be directly uploaded to Ancestry.com.

    FamilyTreeMaker users can sync their trees with Ancestry.com. On April 15, 2017, RootsMagic anticipates that they will release an update to their software that will enable users to sync their RootsMagic trees with Ancestry.com trees.

    Lots of options. Lots of possibilities.

    Best regards,
    Steve Danko

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    Replies
    1. Steve, I just verified that a free account at Ancestry.com can NOT view public trees.

      Thanks for alerting me to Ancestry's support for non-GEDCOM file types. Have you tried any to see if image files are included? Because of the increased development cost, I assume that they all suffer the same limitations GEDCOM has for image files.

      Thanks for reminding me about FTM.

      ---tai

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    2. Hi Ancestry Insider,

      I stand corrected. In general, those with free accounts at Ancestry.com cannot view public trees.

      There is, however, an exception to this rule. If someone is invited to view a family tree on Ancestry.com through Ancestry's sharing utility, the invitee can view that specific tree using a free account.

      Steve

      Delete
    3. Steve,
      Thanks for bringing up the sharing capability of Ancestry Trees. That's a great point.
      ---tai

      Delete
  17. Run, don't walk, to WikiTree. It is free forever and both preserves and presents family trees but all of my family documents and photos. Wonderfully helpful staff.

    Dr. George H. Schauer, Family historian --- https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Schauer-53

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  18. Where ever his family is from, there is probably a local historical society or public library genealogy room that would love copies of his research. Is he a member of a local genealogy society that has a library, they might like it, too. Contact these institutions NOW (don't wait until after you pass) to find out what they will take, and how it should be organized. They might like photographs, documents, family bibles and whatever else you have collected, too.

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  19. I do not have a gedcom, my tree is only on Ancestry. Is there any way I can transfer my Ancestry tree to Rootsfinder or wiki tree or family search? My computer skills are just average and the thought of re-entering everything is not something I want to be involved in. Thanks!

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  20. I know this is a bit late, but Ancestry allows you to download your tree as a GEDCOM file, which you can import into RootsFinder. The trickier problem is downloading your photos from Ancestry. Ancestry's GEDCOM files don't contain usable media references. I don't know if you could download your Ancestry Tree (with photos) into Family Tree Maker, or if the upcoming RootsMagic integration will include photos. Once you've exported your tree data (GEDCOM) and photos from Ancestry, you can then import them wherever you wish. RootsFinder will have a gedcom-plus-photos import app available by the end of this month.

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  21. If a family tree is contributed to Familysearch.org - does is hide individuals who do not have a death date entered, say younger than 75 years old?

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