Sunday, May 26, 2013

Family Tree at FamilySearch

I've been doing what I do best - procrastinating!  I have been meaning to write a post on FamilySearch's new Family Tree.  It may sound a little strange, but I have often wondered what is going to happen with all the research I have undertaken over the last 20 years.  OK, maybe research is too lofty a word to use to describe some of the activities I have done, but, none the less, it was research to me.

Really, have you ever thought of what might happen to your research?  I do not have family members that find family tree research even remotely interesting.  My guess is that all of those piles of papers that I worked so hard to collect will probably be in the trash before my body is cold.  Perhaps the photos will be kept, but how many times have you gone into an antique store or flea market and found family photos and documents for sale?

To hedge my bet, I posted my family tree at Rootsweb and at Ancestry.  Rootsweb has proven its ability to survive, but I'm not so sure just how long it will be viable.  Ancestry has the ability to post all kinds of supporting reference material to my tree.  My question though, is how long will this information be available after my account goes delinquent?  I could see the delete button erasing any trace of my years and years of hard work.  Poof!  Here today, gone tomorrow.

Enter our friends at FamilySearch.  I think I may now have at least a chance to provide a depository for my research.  I created my free account and started a family tree.  
My tree project is serving two purposes.  I am using this exercise to re-enter my information from scratch.  It really has been an eye-opener for me.  All the information I am adding must have a verifiable source attached to it.  The convenience of linking sources directly from the FamilySearch database with a few simple mouse clicks makes this process easy.  The eye-opener part is in reviewing the records I am attaching.

I am retracing research I did, in some cases, twenty years ago.  My skills as a genealogist have improved over the years and things I missed, or connections I could have made, are far more apparent.  Additionally, I am in no hurry to build my tree.  I have been slowly combing the records and building solid family groups.  I have also started using the 'discussion' tab in my family tree to record stories and add personal knowledge for the individuals on my tree.

The second purpose this project is serving is in the area of photographs.  FamilySearch is allowing each individual account to upload as many as 5,000 photographs.  I have become the repository of my family's photos and have been worried what will happen to them when I am gone.  Now I can attach these photos to the family members in my tree.  The original photographs may eventually be scattered to the winds, but I can rest easy that at least digital copies will be attached to a biographical record of my family.

Has anyone else thought of ways to secure your 'genealogical legacy'?      

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