As a variety of family history websites develop limited and extensive partnerships with each other, people may ask why they should bother to put their family tree in more than one place. It’s a good question. After all, using multiple tools means that you have to learn how to use each new tool and how to make them all work together. There’s also the time that will be required to keep information updated in all those places. To some, it seems more complicated and time-consuming than helpful.
Let me be clear. You are fine keeping your family tree in just one place if you prefer. As long as the site you use provides you with all the features you need to find, gather and record your family history information, then you can use any single site you want. It’s really up to you and what your family history goals are.
However, if you’re willing to spend a little more effort for more benefits and services, then let me give you a few reasons to keep your tree in more than one place:
- More records. One of the main benefits you get from using partner accounts is an increased access to records. Ancestry.com, findmypast, and MyHeritage have records that most other sites don’t. These records can help you find the names of your ancestors and their descendants and the details that will help you extend your lines back and across generations. And, as I said before, you can choose to keep your tree in one place. You can search these sites for records about your ancestors and type in what you find. But if you keep a copy of your tree on these sites, the site can search the records for you. When the site finds records that might be about the people in your family tree, you’ll receive an alert. You can review the matches. And then, if you decide the record is about your ancestor, you can attach the record as a source and copy the pertinent details into your family tree without having to retype it.
- More relatives. Each of our partners has a different set of users. Putting your family tree one more website can increases the visibility of your family tree dramatically. This, in turn, increases the chance that your tree will be found by a relative (distant or otherwise) who would like to work together to fill in the missing pieces.
- More options. Different products have different features. For example, they may:
- Offer unique ways of displaying your family tree. This can help you identify places in your family tree where ancestors and their descendants are missing.
- Let you take your family history on the go, using your smartphone or tablet.
- Create printouts and other reports that you like or find helpful.
- Integrate and use multimedia in ways that help you preserve your history and teach your family about their heritage.
- Help you to publish your family tree to your own personal website.
- Calculate relationships between people in your family tree.
- Support a specialized interest you have, such as medical history or DNA.
Here are some tips for succeeding, should you choose to try keeping your family tree in more than one place:
- Start simply with one tool. Don’t overwhelm yourself. As you gain experience, you’ll find a few things you wish your current tool did. That’s when you can consider integrating other tools into what you do. With your new base of experience, you’ll know what features are important to you.
- Choose products that will help you accomplish the specific goals you want. That could mean that you use FamilySearch Family Tree or a product that is integrated with FamilySearch Family Tree and allows you to do exactly what you want to do. The following products provide a wide range of features that cover most of the tasks that genealogists do:
- FamilySearch Family Tree
- Ancestral Quest
- Legacy Family Tree
- Try before you buy. If a product or online service is not free, then it most likely has a trial membership or free version. Experiment with the products and see which ones you like. You may also be able to get free access through a family history center or public library near you.
- Seek out the help and support offerings. These companies want you to succeed, so they make a wealth of information available to you. Look for online help, FAQs, video tutorials, webinars, and manuals to help you. You may also find classes taught at local family history centers and through continuing education programs. There may be a local users group, where you can tap into a wealth of experience.
- As you move forward and begin using other tree-recording tools, choose products that let you move data from one tree to another without retyping it. For example:
- Use FamilySearch Family Tree with a FamilySearch-certified product that lets you keep an offline working copy. The currently certified products are RootsMagic, Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree, Magi Tree, and Family Tree Heritage.
- Use Ancestry.com with Family Tree Maker.
- Use MyHeritage with Family Tree Building. MyHeritage is also planning to build a feature that lets you transfer information to FamilySearch Family Tree to use it in some unique ways.
Latest posts by Lynne C. VanWagenen (see all)
- Why Should I Put My Family Tree in More Than One Place? - July 2, 2015
- Why Should I Put My Family Tree in More Than One Place? - July 1, 2015
- Update: LDS Member Access to Partner Family History Websites - March 26, 2014