A heartbreaking moment for any family historian is when you discover that your late genealogist cousin’s wife has shredded all his papers. This actually happened in my family. I can only hope that all the genealogical information was passed on to his children first. I think he had long since given me copies of most of it.
Please don’t let this happen to your work. A good preservation solution is to contribute your research to at least one of the online collaborative world trees.
Several years ago I did a blog post on the advantages of using these world trees (click here) and created a comparison sheet of the big three world trees (updated version at the end of this article): FamilySearch.org, GENI.com and WIKItree.com
I also did a Rootstech talk on this topic (click here for those slides). There have been a few changes since then, mainly around DNA and whether or not you can upload a GEDcom.
DNA features abound at WIKItree.com – you can connect your WIKItree profiles to GEDmatch by putting their kit numbers in. This causes the GEDmatch one-to-many tool to display the blue word Wiki which links to your compact tree. So even though it is the smallest of the three world trees, it may be best for genetic genealogists. Another WIKItree feature is that you do not need to login to see trees and profiles so it is great for sending tree links to new cousins. Plus it shows X and Y descendancy pathways.
GENI can link to DNA profiles at family tree DNA and will even display haplogroups on the person’s page. When you and your DNA matches have your family trees on GENI, you can quickly see how you are related. Click here for the blog post I did on how to link your ftDNA reults to GENI.
example of DNA display at GENI
FamilySearch does not have any DNA features yet but surely they will eventually incorporate something.
The big news is that GENI now has a GEDcom uploading capability again. Whereas WIKItree has dialed back on the GEDcom uploads but still has good functionality.
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When my Dad rode up the elevator in our NYC apartment building, he was often asked if he was my father.
I always thought I looked just like him and just like pictures of his mom, except for my nose which came from my mother’s side.
The other day my brother showed me a cool new tool that compares a picture of yourself to pictures of any ancestors whose photos are in the FamilySearch tree. Needless to say I promptly uploaded every ancestor image I could find!
This tool is called Compare-a-Face and is part of the FamilySearch Discovery suite of tools. It is currently featured on the FamilySearch home page when you log in.
I soon discovered that the original photo of me did not get compared to the new ancestor photos that I had just put there, so I uploaded another one. I had to try several different pictures of me to get the result I wanted from the comparison to my Dad’s mom.
Notice that the images are shown in order of how like you they are: the best on the left to least on the right. You click on any little image at the top to get it front and center with a percentage of simularity.
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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.
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Most genealogists I know are very grateful to the LDS church for microfilming so many records around the world. Now we can express our thanks by assisting with their world indexing project this weekend. Details are on this page https://familysearch.org/indexing/get-started-indexer
You have to download their indexing software to participate. I found the video at the bottom left of the start page called Quick Start Video most helpful.
My first effort was indexing some 1880 Chicago mortality records …
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Rootstech was held in conjunction with the FGS conference and was bigger than ever. Something like 25,000 people. The Expo Hall was twice as large as last year and full of a wide variety of interesting genealogical products in addition to the big companies.
And there was the temptation of the Family History Library just a block away. Many like me came a day or two early in order to enjoy research time in the library. And yes I did a happy dance when I found my new 3rd cousin’s grandfather’s farm entry showing his mother was indeed the expected sister of my gg-grandfather.
Judy Russell did a really good blog post on all the DNA news at the conference. I am very excited that Family Search will be partnering with Family Tree DNA to link from the FS tree to DNA results from ftDNA. Initially this will only be for Y and mtDNA. Plus testers at Family Tree DNA will have an icon that will link to their tree at FamilySearch when there is one.
A few of the Rootstech talks are available as videos at this url: https://rootstech.org/video/4050134760001 – I particularly recommend geneablogger Thomas MacEntee‘s talk of about his genealogy tool box on that page.
Fellow San Diegan blogger Randy Seaver did a comprehensive listing of Rootstech blog posts Continue reading →