Monday, March 20, 2017

Don’t Let Your Research Be Flushed Down the Toilet

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxThe Monday Mailbox, “17 Years of Research Being Flushed Down the Toilet,” drew lots of great suggestions on ways Larry—or anyone else—can preserve your research before you are gone.

Doris Wheeler suggested the many copies approach to sharing your tree online:

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.

(Sarah V offered to help out if you wish to go the Wikitree route. Just reply to her message.) I said in my article that no one could see your Ancestry tree but subscribers. Barry M Spinner reminded me that Ancestry is available in many libraries, whose patrons will also be able to see your tree.

While some people are concerned about sharing, Carol Yocom said, “I've always shared my work gladly. There are mistakes, but most of it is well sourced.” She said posting several thousand images is “labor intensive, but I'll be damned if 45+ years of work ends up in a dumpster.” She hopes “it proves useful to others after I've collected my ticket outta town!”

Proofreader said, “It's hard to beat good old fashioned paper.” Plenty of people agreed, and again advocated the many copies approach. Mary Chamberlain said,

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.

Jim Culbert said that some societies accept paper, some electronic, and some will not be interested at all.

Cat fan said,

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.

For more information, see

If you check with them beforehand, the FamilySearch Family History Library in Salt Lake City also accepts donations of books you’ve written. However, they are very picky. Books must be readable, very well organized family history books, rich in standard, genealogical information about people. The preferred format is electronic: a Word or PDF file. Next best is unbound, double sided printed pages. You must be the copyright holder and sign a document giving FamilySearch permission to freely make copies of your book. (I’m pretty sure this includes digital copies posted for free use on the Internet.) They do not accept family tree databases, nor collections of pedigree charts and family group sheets. (I assume that these can be elements of your well-written family history book.) Don’t think you can print out your GEDCOM, throw a hard cover on it, and send it to the Library.) Before donating, contact the donation staff at or call 1-801-240-1855.

I think if you produce a book of Family History Library quality, you should have no problem placing copies in several libraries of various types and town, county, and state genealogical and historical societies. Nancy Smith Gibson warned not to forget your local genealogical society:

I would suggest donating your research, both your tree(s) and back-up information to your local genealogical library or organization. Our local genealogical library benefits greatly from donated research, books, pictures, etc. Sooner or later, somebody either comes in, calls, or emails looking for information and we are so happy to be able to provide some detail that gets overlooked when the majority of information is digitalized. We have many volunteers who work one, two, or more days a month to organize and file. Don't forget your local organizations.

Nancy Smith Gibson
The Melting Pot Genealogical Society and Library
Hot Springs and Garland County, Arkansas

Joseph Martin additionally sent his books to some 65 family members and published about 30 articles in various genealogy magazines, “trying to assure that my 45 years of research will be preserved.”

Connie Moretti pointed out that if you qualify for membership in a lineage or heritage society like the DAR, SAR, Mayflower, and Jamestowne societies, they will preserve your application and all the documentation.


Regarding saving your photos and document images to I had asked Legacy, “Does Legacy allow uploading source images to FamilySearch Family Tree?” Legacy responded: 

We would LOVE to see this but FamilySearch does not allow this, at least not yet.  We can only do what FamilySearch allows (they call the shots on what features we can have).  As soon as they give us the go ahead our programmers will make it happen.  For now, you have to upload photos manually on FamilySearch itself.

Enhancement Requests
Legacy Family Tree

According to P Walker, Ancestral Quest is already doing it:

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…

The Ancestral Quest page on indicates P. Walker is correct.

As I reported last Monday, RootsFinder will soon (if they don’t already) have the capability to upload to FamilySearch Memories the photos associated with a GEDCOM.

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