Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thousands of The Public Have Joined Family Tree

I've written plenty of articles about the benefits for us all to use the Family Tree, how to access it, and how to use it properly.There is a family tree category in the left column.

I do think I need to address a few issues.

First, I notice that a lot of people panic when they login and see their name as depicted on the photo on the right. Some want to delete their name. Just don't panic about this.

Their name is there because they have signed into FamilySearch. It isn't public or viewable by anyone but them. It is the starting point should they want to build into the tree by adding their ancestor information. That's it.

 All your FamilySearch login does is allow you access to the full features of the familysearch site including ordering the films, viewing all of the images that are available, viewing the information contained in the family tree. It does not automatically add you to the tree itself. It's a visual for you to work from should you so want to.

No living people can be viewed by anyone other than the person who input the name. For example, if you add your living children or living parents you can see them in the tree, no one else can see their name, not even them. 

You would likely want to input your living parents names to build your tree, so you can get to their ancestors not yet living. Eventaully you might get to the person that causes a poplulation to expand for many generations as you connect to an ancestory someone else in the tree has input, a cousin then.

Second: Don't think of uploading a gedcome to the tree. I know I know, you have already captured thousands of names in your desktop software.

Here is a quote from a patron you should consider: "I’m working with a data base of 6000 plus ancestors from only my paternal grandmother’s line. I have plenty of individuals to add, but I frequently find that many of them have already are in the system."

Uploading GEDCOMs is still available on FamilySearch.org. Instead of looking in Family Tree, click the link titled “Genealogies”. Scroll to the bottom of this page (below the search option) and there is an area to submit a GEDCOM.

Kent Myers recently made this point about Gedcoms: "To those interested in uploading Gedcoms, those uploads go into “Genealogies” on the FamilySearch web site and are not linked to Family Tree. One of the problems with new FamilySearch was that it was a composite of lots of Gedcom uploads to Ancestral File and the Pedigree Resource file, good stuff and bad. Family Tree was initially populated with that composite data from new FamilySearch as a starting point, but the intent is that we not only add names and dates, but add sources for the information we add so that what ultimately ends up in Family Tree is documented and not supposition. If they opened up Family Tree for everyone to upload Gedcoms we’d be back in the same soup with lots of duplication and no documentation. The Genealogies are there and searchable on the FamilySearch web site so people can use those as clues in their research without cluttering up Family Tree with duplicates."

I want to point out that it's not your tree, but our tree. You may be perfect in what you have accumulated. If so, you may be ready for transfiguration. I have trained many many people with files of names. Most got their files from other relatives. Some have merged several together. Few, no, none of these people are perfectly correct in what they have. What is already happening is an initiative by those using tree to purge the wrong merges that happened in new.familysearch.org.

There is a chinck in the system in that the 3rd party softwares allow merges. That is so very bad. Don't do that. We don't want to mess up the tree do we? No we don't.

Third:  The ability to print pedigree charts, family group records, and other reports is not yet available in Family Tree… It is coming but it is not here yet. It will be soon, and it will also let you print fan charts.

Fourth: If children aren't placed in the proper order it is because their birthdates aren't correct. You can fix that yourself through the edit process in vital information section.

Fifth: This is a tree where you can and should add sources. So many just go willy nilly and start changing things. I have a watch on many of my ancestors. I find some have already made changes in error that I have to go correct. Please ban Willy Nilly. Be accurate. Post your sources.

Sixth: Photos, then stories are coming. Right now our Photo site is in beta, we are testing to a limited number of people. If you currently have access to the Photo site you load photos and attach to Family Tree from there. If you currently aren’t testing the Photo site for us, watch for the full launch of the photo site coming soon. To be invited, a few each day are added go to http://familysearch.org/invite/photos. So see the site as it is: http://familysearch.org/photos/

Seventh: Your phone number or email address being public is optional. It is not out there for anyone in the world who registers w/ familysearch to see unless you want them to. You can keep it private by not checking the public checkbox. However, that prevents others from contacting you directly for collaboration purposes, which is one of the cool parts of the tree.

My final thoughts for you are that this is an amazing project. It isn't complete. The resources put into this are so major that it is unlikely any business would come along and try to duplicate it. It is going to become better and better. I suggest you do as I have been doing: adding photos and stories (you may have to wait a bit), add sources, start conversations in the discussions, reach out to your newly found cousins to collaborate, take you time to fix what you know is accurate, and pick an ancestor to focus on.

My favorite family tree training site is: http://familysearchtraining.com/

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