Where do you store your family tree? On your computer? On the internet? In a binder?
The savviest genealogists will us a blended approach, storing portions or copies of their trees in multiple locations. We asked a group of genealogy experts why one might want to keep their tree on the internet, or even on mutlipled internet websites.
Read on for some handy advice on how to benefit from keeping your tree online:
1. Jessica Taylor, Legacy Tree Genealogists: "Many of our clients' happiest moments involve connecting with family they didn't know they had. Sharing information online allows that to happen."
2. Marian Pierre-Louis, Marian's Roots and Rambles: "In the past it didn't necessarily makes sense to upload or share trees because many of the trees weren't sourced. In the last year or two we've seen a big shift in online trees associated with large database providers such as Findmypast. Now the records you find on the site are being attached to the tree, maintaining the source information. If users attached records to trees from the databases we'll start to see a potential jump in the quality of online trees."
3. Blaine Bettinger, The Genetic Genealogist: "As a genetic genealogist, access to online family trees is vital, as is the ability to share my tree with others. People that share DNA also share a relatively recent common ancestor, and the only way to find that common ancestor is to compare family trees. Having a promising genetic match that doesn't have a tree available can be incredibly frustrating. To truly maximize the return on investment in DNA testing, you MUST have a family tree available to your matches."
4. David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist, New England Historical Society: "Sharing your tree online give you the opportunity to locate distant cousins, and collaborate on the same research. By placing my own tree on line I have connected with many descendants of my ancestors from the 17th through 19th century. This rewarding experience has helped with my own research, and collaborated with the sharing of family history and family documents."
5. Shannon Combs-Bennett, Genealogist, Writer and Publisher: "Building an online tree is a great way to connect with family who are far away. It allows you to share your research in an easy and friendly way… and not talk their ears off!"
6. Rich Venezia, Rich Roots: "Cousin connections made through online family trees are often the first step to breaking down a brick wall - or finding photos of ancestors you've never seen before!"
7. Lisa Alzo, The Accidental Genealogist: "No genealogist is an island. Posting a properly sourced family tree online increases your chances of connecting with cousins and filling in the blanks for those missing ancestors or incomplete branches."
8. Tammy Hepps, Tammy A. Hepps Genealogy: "Posting a tree online is a great way to find distant cousins who can fill in the missing pieces of your family's history. The more places you post it, the more cousins you might reach!"
9. Cari A. Taplin, Certified Genealogist: "Family information didn't always pass down the branches of the tree evenly. Your side of the family may have inherited more information than another side, or vice versa. Uploading your tree online allows you to connect with other researchers working on the same or connected branches. Just like your family tree, people today do not always share their information evenly across all sites; uploading to multiple sites allows you to cast a wider net and reach more potential collaborators. "
10. Bill West, West in New England: "If you've ever worried about losing your genealogy research if your hard drive crashes or your computer is stolen, there's a simple and free solution: an online family tree at Findmypast, or one of the other genealogy websites. Most have free family tree options as well the ability to make your tree private or public. I have family trees on several websites, all public to act as "cousin bait".
11. Michael Brophy, Professional Genealogist and Heir Tracer: "Uploading your tree online may allow you to build connections to other common descendants of that brick wall ancestor you have been chasing for years. Sharing information such as family artifacts, DNA testing, and historic documentation could uncover that elusive ancestor."