As I start to plan getting back into genealogy research and starting to write the book in my head I run into the same problems that trip me up at the beginning of this process every time: Organization.
When I first started genealogy research I kept paper research in file folders but mostly I my tree and research organized with Family Tree Maker on my PC and did research on familysearch.org. When I could afford it I would pay for a month or two of ancestry.com and research as much as possible there. Years later I switched to a Mac computer and mostly kept my research on ancestry.com. I had a hard time finding a genealogy software for MAC that I liked. Finally Family Tree Maker came out with a MAC version and I thought with their new Sync options I would finally be organized and happy. But it has never worked out for me and now I have found out that Family Tree Maker is shutting down and will no longer sync with ancestry.com (which never worked out for me anyway).
Here is my problem. During my early days when researching on ancestry I sometimes added people from someone else’s shared tree and at that time ancestry had the option of merging the whole family from the shared tree; which I did without thoroughly sourcing the other people I was adding. Also, over the years I would do research for other members of my extended family. I now have some family history on my brother’s wife’s family, my sister’s husband’s family, my mother in law’s ex-husband’s family, my other mother in law’s family, my brother-in-laws ex-wife’s family, my sister-in-law’s husband’s family, my great uncle’s wife’s family, and several others. Which was great fun but it has made my tree rather large and unshapely. I have 7,283 people in my tree. And then I added pictures, 2,536 to be exact.
All of this research has been on my public ancestry tree for years but it has gotten so out of hand and sometimes I find people that are just not supposed to be on my tree so I delete them but they had ancestor’s and descendants that are now unconnected but floating around my tree. This can keep an OCD person awake at night. And don’t even get me started on those dratted shaking leaves they call hints!
So a few years ago I bought the new Family Tree Maker for MAC with sync. I tried to download my online public tree but no only did it lock my computer up but in the end it didn’t download my sources or pictures. So then I download the gedcom and added it to family tree maker thinking I would add everything to my FTM software and then sync it up to ancestry but when I did that it actually synced with the tree that was already there and totally screwed it up. So last year I thought I should just start over using only my FTM software, use ancestry for research but don’t sync. This solves the research and the organization problems but takes away the share option. I have gained so my connections and new relatives by sharing what I have. Of course this year I have also found that people have begun downloading my pictures and uploading them without my “uploaded by” name instead of sharing from my tree which is really quite annoying. So I privatized my tree for that reason and also because I know there are issues with my tree. About halfway through the year I kind of gave up. The idea of starting over was overwhelming.
Last week we found out that Family Tree Maker was going bye-bye. I don’t want to put a bunch of time and energy into creating a family tree on software that will no longer be sold or updated.
So I can start over again on a new software which means learning a new software or I can start over again on ancestry.com which I know, or I can find another online place for my tree. Here is why I am thinking about finding another online place for my tree. Shareability. I have found that although my public tree is available to others who have ancestry subscriptions and that has been good for me in the past, it isn’t available to my family members who don’t have a subsriptions. And with the picture pirating issues as well it really makes me long to find another online site to build my tree. I also don’t like the print options that ancestry provides. I would like to have good options to print trees and reports from my computer like FTM has. The problem against finding another website is that I already pay for an ancestry subscription and as ancestry is the “walmart” one stop shopping of genealogy research I won’t be giving this subscription up anytime soon. If I decide to share my tree on a different site are there any that will allow large files without a subscription?
I’m also realizing that it is still important to keep paper records and family group sheets in binders. Software may come and go, internet sites may lose their desirability but hard copies will always have value as long as they are organized.
I would love to hear feedback on what you think I should use. A perfect format would allow me to research, organize and share all in one place. Also, have any of you tried watermarking your pictures?