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.
In two recent blog posts I have shown how your WIKItree pedigree can be linked to your DNA results at GEDmatch.com and 23andMe, but I forgot to emphasize that you must set the privacy level to public tree for that to be useful.
One of the great features at WIKItree is the many privacy levels but the default for a living person is completely private which means that your family tree, starting from you, cannot be seen. Please reset that to private with public tree. This preserves the privacy of all the living just fine; for example, my brother is listed on my chart as private brother 1950s – unknown (see previous blog post for image).
To change the privacy level, go to the page for that profile which you must manage or have trusted access to. Click on the tab that says Privacy.
The new Tier 1 one-to-many at GEDmatch includes a link to your match’s family tree when that is available. Clicking the word GED next to that kit’s email address takes you to the tree your match has uploaded to GEDmatch. The word WIKI links to the compact tree view at WikiTree.
GEDmatch GEDCOM link
Clicking on the GED for a match takes you to the profile of the individual in the linked tree at GEDmatch.
Here is what you would see if you clicked on the GED next to my Dad’s name. Note the words “GEDmatch Ref: “ followed by a long number. That number is the id of this GEDCOM which you can use to compare to your own GEDCOM in the “2 GEDCOMs “ function on your home page.
Of course, I immediately click on the pedigree button in the little menu at the top of this individual page and then look through the pedigree on the next page for familiar names and places. Here is what the top half of my Dad’s tree looks like at GEDmatch. Note the default number of generations shown is 5. You can change that to a larger number (I often go to 8) and then click submit to see more generations.
Clicking on WIKI next to a match in the Tier 1 One-to-Many listing takes you to that match’s compact pedigree at the collaborative world tree WikiTree. This is automated and the connection to Wikitree happens because a member of that site has added a GEDmatch kit number to a profile there. Here is the top piece of what you see when you click on my WIKI.
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.
Congratulations to WIKItree for getting sources added to more than 22,000 profiles. Read the wrap up here – http://www.wikitree.com/blog/sourceathon-2016-wrapup/ … No thanks to me though, as I got tangled up in my first one before finally moving on to do a few more.
The WIKItree source-a-thon was really fun. I loved checking in to the hangouts (although I was not really there just at Utube and often after the fact) and hearing about how well all those other teams were doing, hundreds of profiles sourced. How wonderful! Never anything for team Europe, my team. Perhaps our sourcing is just harder or it was that we had no captain reporting in. In three hours I managed to source four people!
Maybe the first one I picked was just too difficult. So here is my sourcing experience.
I went to the unsourced profiles page and clicked on Europe. Within Europe I clicked on Norway since I figured my expertise with the Norwegian online archives plus all the copied farmbook pages I have on hand would help. None of my farms were listed on either page of 200 names except for one in the 1500s, too long ago. So I chose a person with a surname (usually a farm name) that a cousin of mine married into, Foss, which is actually a pretty common name in Norway.