Creating an Online Family Tree
|September 18, 2016||Filled under General Posts|
Finding a Home for Your Family Tree Online
Finding our roots is becoming more than just a passing hobby – it’s an obsession for many who want to discover just how far back they can go to find their ancestors and place them on the family tree.
Traditionally, these roots were mapped out on paper, pen in hand – a tedious task that made more people loathe the process than embrace it. But now, with the onset of digital evolution, men and women alike are mapping their family trees using software and online websites devoted to genealogy buffs.
Discovering who should go onto your family tree is only part of the process. You’ll find that you’re able to track down many more distant relatives if your ancestry is hosted on the Internet where a global audience can find you.
The features and tools vary from one site to the next, but you can usually find exactly what you need for free or for a very small fee. Of course, you’ll discover that some sites have more bells and whistles that allow you to flesh out your family tree more than the average branch with text on it technique.
The best family tree websites will be those that combine the features you need, minimizing the amount of outside research that you need to do. For instance, some will have blogs you can use, areas to post pictures, and chat rooms you can congregate in for an instant online family tree reunion.
Your ancestry research may not date back thousands of years yet. It’s okay to start with your immediate family and grow your roots from there. Online tools simplify the process and storing that information online at a family tree website lets everyone share in the treasure you’re creating.
But it also makes your job a little easier. When people are able to track down their roots and realize that somehow, they’re connected to you, they can contact you and get added to a branch of their own on your family tree website. Then you can plan events, keep in touch, and share memories and stories with all of your family in one central gathering place. Sometimes families have a hard time planning a reunion that everyone can attend.
A family tree website lets everyone enjoy the closeness of family on their own schedule, logging in and participating to keep in touch from wherever they happen to be in the world. Before you invest in an offline family tree keepsake, consider the various options you have for technology-driven treasures that will hasten the process and deliver much better results for you and your loved one around the world.
Five Things You Need to Launch a Family Tree Online
When you finally make plans to get an account on a family tree website, you’ll need to have five basic elements in place to help you branch out in the right direction. As your genealogy efforts take root, your family tree will grow at a more rapid rate when others contribute their knowledge.
The first thing you want to include when building a page on a family tree website is some basic information about your family name. You can tell where you are now, what information you know to be true, and what stories are just speculation.
Second, you want to include pictures for your family tree website. They can be of you and your immediate family, close relatives, deceased family members, and ancestors you believe were a part of your family but aren’t yet sure about.
The third thing you want to include on your family tree website is a little bit of information about each family member. It’s okay to start with just a name, but distant relatives will want to learn more – like what career path they chose, how many children they had, or major accomplishments they gained in life. This kind of detailed information helps make your family tree website more than just a static page of dates and names. It makes it an interesting gathering place for people who could possibly be your kinfolk.
Fourth on your list of must-have ingredients for a family tree website is information you’re still seeking. What gaps are left in your research that you’re hoping someone else can fulfill? Do you need contact information or to flesh out the dates and times events took place in your family’s history? Broadcasting it on a family tree website can help others know what they need to do to pitch in.
Last on your getting started list for the family tree website should be to include a directory of family members. Gather the names, ages, and phone numbers of relatives that don’t mind having their information within the account and assure them that you’re guarding their information from the general public if you’re managing the site yourself.
Consider the building of your family tree website a potluck reunion of treasured relatives you haven’t seen in years (or ever)! Allow everyone to contribute to the mix and you’ll soon find your genealogical research overflowing with valuable information that you can share with your own heirs one day.
Free Databases to Help You Create Your Family Tree Website
When you make the decision to trace your family roots, you may not initially understand the vast amount of research that has to be done on order to expand your familial history beyond that of your great-great grandparents.
With a family tree website, you have tools available to you that make the process run smoothly – and at a much faster pace than if you were keeping records offline for you and your heirs.
Many family tree website services offer built-in research tools for their members. But with genealogy, you always want to use multiple tools because you never know when one might pick up on a small detail the others didn’t produce.
Heritage Quest, located at http://www.heritagequestonline.com/, is one tool you can use for free with a library card as your access to the database. You can search Census records, databases about the Revolutionary War and Freedman’s Bank, and gain access to information published in book on people and places described throughout history.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission at www.cwgc.org makes it easy for you to access information on over 1.7 million men and women who were casualties during the two world wars.
At www.interment.net, you can search databases of cemeteries from all over the world. You can also submit your own transcription of information. This is a good idea because someone else in your family that you don’t yet have added to your own family tree could be searching these records and your information could lead them back to you.
The links go on for miles at www.worldgenweb.org because you can search all over the world, for different types of information. The site is run by volunteers, so it’s helpful if you contribute to the site as well as take from it so that others can benefit from the research you’ve already done and vice versa.
Once you visit the various free genealogical resources the internet has to offer, go back to your family tree website home and populate it with the new information you’ve discovered.
Always be sure to check back and see what new data has been added to both free and fee-based tools that you use because you never know when the missing piece of a puzzle with fall in place one day and your family tree will be complete.
Added Features to Make Your Online Family Tree Site Flourish
Whether you’re new to genealogical research or you’re a seasoned veteran at tracing your family roots, you’ll be glad to know that sites are continually developing new features and tools you can use to make growing your family tree a little easier – and a lot more fun!
Remember the days when you had to trace your family tree in elementary school, maybe going back as far as your great-grandmother and grandfather? You can throw away those Big Chief notepads because family tree websites are taking genealogy high-tech, but so simple a second-grader could use the tools.
Instead of a tree with branches and names, you can trace your roots on a family tree website using features like ahnentafel reports where you can see your roots listed in a generational pattern.
Or, populate your family tree website with ancestor charts to give a visual outlook on which relatives descended from whom. More visual tools include online photograph albums or charts that can be laid out chronologically. Advanced tools can let you share who’s in the picture, and how the two are related within the family tree. No more writing on the backs of pictures and paying for expensive copies to be mailed out!
Instead of having to start from scratch if an error is made or an update needs to be added, when you use a family tree website as opposed to a paper recording, you can quickly and easily edit your recordings to reflect new findings. Plus, you can usually customize the look and feel of your online family tree home. It usually requires no programming knowledge – just the ability to click and choose which backgrounds and designs you prefer.
In an age where families are spread out and no longer living in the same communities, family tree websites are enabling loved ones to stay connected or to unite with other relatives they previously didn’t know existed. Make sure that before you invest in your genealogical quest, you take time to figure out which tool you like best that will serve the purpose of providing a home to your family’s detailed history.
Planting a Genealogy Tree in Google’s Search Engine Garden
Whenever you create a family tree, you want to get as much input from other family members as possible. This is one time it’s good to have relatives sticking their nose into your business! By choosing to build a family tree website, you’ve just boosted your ability to expand your roots even farther. Keeping records by pen and paper isn’t just tedious, but limiting as well.
Now that you’re planting your roots on the internet, you want to make sure your family history can be found by others. The more people who find your genealogy, the more hands who can help you discover unknown facts and revelations.
If you chose a family tree website that allows you to create blog entries, then you’ll want to post to that often to help search engine robots find it and index it for their results pages. That way, whenever a distant relative goes online seeking information for their ancestry, Google or whatever search engine they’re using will return your blog as one of their choices.
Google and other search engines like to categorize websites based on keywords. So if your family name is “Brown,” then you want to create a list of words and phrases you can use within each blog entry that relate to the Brown Family Tree. Devote each blog entry to a new keyword or phrase. The more you blog, the more often search engine robots will visit your site and post updates to search engine users when your page displays.
If your family tree website doesn’t include a blog feature, then you can create one for free at www.WordPress.com. Blogging is one of the best ways to get picked up by Google and broaden your horizons for genealogy research, but it’s not the only way.
The more family tree blogs and websites you have linking to your primary family tree page, the higher your site will raise in the search engine results. Hopefully, in time, you’ll be in a top 10 position on Google and your relatives and ancestors will be able to click on your link for a fast, easy, and effective virtual reunion.
Don’t waste hours trying to make sure you develop the perfect content for your blog. Write naturally about your quest to find information on your family name and Google will recognize your organic efforts and reward you with a spot in their search engine.