One of the difficulties of having your family tree in many places is keeping them all up to date.
When I give my presentation on why you should contribute your research to one of the one world collaborative trees, I usually suggest that you pick only one for just that reason. Personally I use all three, FamilySearch.org, GENI.com and WIKItree.com. So I need a few clever tools to keep them in synch.
Both FamilySearch and WIKItree accept GEDcom uploads so I often add a new family line on GENI, then download the gedcom and merge it to my private family tree, before uploading it to the other two. However sometimes the new branch is discovered on Ancestry or MyHeritage so …
How to Add a GEDCOM to GENI.com
No you cannot add a GEDCOM to GENI but you can add family groups one at a time from several other genealogy sites via a tool called SmartCopy, if you are a pro GENI user. So if you have a tree elsewhere this is a way to copy your tree over. If you do not have a tree online elsewhere then I suggest you import your GEDCOM to WIKItree and then use SmartCopy to bring over each family group that is not already on GENI. Still not as fast as importing a GEDCOM but way better than retyping or using cut and paste.
SmartCopy Chrome Addon
SmartCopy is an add-on for the Chrome browser which will copy information from record matches at MyHeritage (you need a paid subscription), Ancestry, or WIKItree. Although it will not copy from FamilySearch, it will copy from a MyHeritage record match page of a familysearch person.
Wikitree X Chrome Addon
WIKItree also has a Chrome add-on tool for copying a person over from other sites. It is called Wikitree X and it can copy from FamilySearch. So when you discover a new branch at that site you can copy to WIKItree with this tool and then use SmartCopy to copy it to GENI.
GENI.com has added DNA to its world collaborative tree not just by displaying haplogroups on profiles but also by using DNA to confirm relationships and to match you to other DNA kits. As always, GENI makes it look pretty. There is a DNA marker line in the top profile section that includes badges showing haplogroups and whether autosomal tests are available. Directly under the relationship path at the top it will also note when a relationship is validated by DNA!
Look at the top of my Dad’s new profile below. Notice the Y haplogroup R-P312 and the AT badges in the DNA marker line and the part under the relationship where he really is my Dad.
To get this I connected the GENI profiles for my Dad, my brother, and myself to our family tree DNA results. Since Family Tree DNA is partnering with GENI the data was available instantly via a login to the other site. One important trick is to log out of Family Tree DNA between doing each profile, else it claims you are still connected. I uploaded a few other DNA tests done at 23andme and Ancestry for relatives who gave permission, but I am still waiting on those to finish processing [update it may be a month or more]. By the way, in order to upload test results for the living, I had to log into their profiles. Dead relatives that I manage or were in my family group were not a problem. I also uploaded my own 23andme results to make sure that I could have two tests on GENI.
You may wonder what you see if you click on the view details link, well it takes you to all the test and matches information you get in the new DNA tab as shown below.
There is an exciting new feature at the collaborative world tree at GENI.com – compact descendant and ancestor reports. These have a number of modern style features. Every person in the list gets a nice summary box on mouse-over and is, of course, clickable to their profile. The number of generations displayed is easily changed with a slider above the report.
These reports are initiated from the Actions menu as shown below.
Well I think my one world tree talk was a success, although the web site I used for my presentation – slides.com – went down or was just inaccessible via the internet in the presentation room here at Rootstech. Perhaps it was the Amazon s3 site where the images are stored that was the problem.
Fortunately I had downloaded a PDF version as a backup so I used that. Maybe next time I will try the google presentation software instead.
I think my main point, that the most compelling reason to add your research to a one world tree is to keep it from ending up in the landfill the way my cousin’s did, came across well. My girlfriend Rochelle, who I am staying with, was convinced to add her research to one and even got herself a familysearch id today.
I have uploaded the rough draft of what I expected to say, much more wordy than what I actually said, to my downloads page under presentations. The URL for the slides which go with those words is
The side by side comparisons of the three one world trees start on slide 11
The comparison chart is kept up-to-date in my one world tree blog post.
And I will be doing this talk again for the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego on the third Saturday in May.
Updated Chart February 18, 2017
The idea of a one world tree is to collaborate with other genealogists who are researching the same ancestors and so have just one copy of each person on the tree, rather than each of you having your own separate family trees. My plan is to compare the three online sites that I am using in this post.
The advantages of using a one world tree are:
- You are not constantly duplicating research that has already been done.
- It is online and searchable so distant cousins will find you.
- Other descendants of your ancestors may have pictures and documents to share that are already posted.
- You will find distant cousins to collaborate with on some of your family lines who may be able to read records you are having trouble with or otherwise work with you to solve questions you have.
- When you connect your line into the tree you may find new ancestors that you did not know about before.
- You can often figure out immediately how you are related to a new “DNA” cousin.
- It is easy to send family members and distant cousins links to the family tree.
- After you are dead and gone your research will live on.
The disadvantages of a one world tree can be that:
- Other people will change facts and information that you knew were correct.
- How can you be sure that another person’s research is reliable?
- You need to be sure that living people have their privacy protected.
Personally, I have my family tree on three different one world tree web sites: FamilySearch.org, Geni.com, and WikiTree.com and I like and use them all for different reasons.
WikiTree has really pretty online charts, widgets for your website and shows DNA connections. It is the easiest one to use for sending possible new “DNA” cousins your family tree. GENI has the most intuitive user interface and has the best way to add source information. It is the prettiest of them all, plus it matches records with its partner site MyHeritage.com. FamilySearch connects to its own enormous record repository and there is a wonderful third party web site for visualizing your familysearch tree: puzzilla.org.