Add fore­bears to Fam­il­y­Search’s Fam­ily Tree

Ev­ery­thing you need to know to help the growth of the largest fam­ily tree in the world

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - FAMILY SEARCH -

1 What is the Fam­ily Tree?

Fam­ily Tree is a gi­ant crowd­sourced tree – any­one who has a Fam­il­y­Search ac­count can add peo­ple, pho­tos, doc­u­ments and sources to the Tree, and edit spellings and other mis­takes. Hav­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tive tree rather than a col­lec­tion of per­sonal trees like a con­ven­tional ge­neal­ogy web­site is a bold choice, but Fam­il­y­Search be­lieves that in the long term – over years and decades – the com­bined group wis­dom about a per­son and their fam­ily will pro­duce a more ac­cu­rate, more com­pre­hen­sive and bet­ter-doc­u­mented Tree than could ever re­sult from in­di­vid­ual trees. His­tor­i­cal er­rors will be weeded out along the way, and en­tries will be cor­rected and up­dated as new records be­come avail­able.

It’s all a mat­ter of time. Thanks to its unique re­la­tion­ship with the LDS Church, Fam­il­y­Search can have greater con­fi­dence than com­mer­cial com­pa­nies that it will ex­ist 50 years from now and be­yond. The col­lab­o­ra­tive Fam­ily Tree will still be avail­able and free for ev­ery­one to use and edit when the pre­cious in­di­vid­ual trees built by to­day’s fam­ily his­to­ri­ans and stored on paid-for sites and per­sonal com­put­ers’ hard disks have been lost to pos­ter­ity, and its ac­cu­racy and value will grow in­cre­men­tally as peo­ple work on it over gen­er­a­tions.

2 Can you still have per­son­ally con­trolled trees on Fam­il­y­Search?

Yes! If you would like to sub­mit your per­son­ally re­searched tree to Fam­il­y­Search, Ge­nealo­gies is the place to do it, which you can ac­cess via the ‘Search’ op­tion on the site’s menu bar (or just go to fam­il­y­ fam­ily-trees). Ge­nealo­gies is a col­lec­tion of sev­eral datasets of sub­mit­ted trees. One of the datasets is from the Guild of One-Name Stud­ies, while his­tor­i­cal trees from An­ces­tral File and Pedi­gree Re­source File are avail­able in Ge­nealo­gies too.

At the very bot­tom of the page you will find a ‘Sub­mit Tree’ but­ton. Click­ing this al­lows you to im­port one or more GEDCOM files, although note that liv­ing peo­ple (those fewer than 110 years old) will not be in­cluded, and pho­tos and doc­u­ments will also be ex­cluded.

After files have been up­loaded, it gen­er­ally takes about 15 min­utes for the data to be avail­able for a search. How­ever, note that all of the data in Ge­nealo­gies is read-only, so can’t be edited – if you want to up­date your tree, you have to delete the ear­lier ver­sion from Ge­nealo­gies and re­place it with a cur­rent one. You can’t down­load a tree from Ge­nealo­gies ei­ther, nor can you up­load GEDCOM files into the col­lab­o­ra­tive Fam­ily Tree, to avoid the ad­di­tion of du­pli­cate en­tries.

Even if you choose to cre­ate a pri­vate tree on Fam­il­y­Search, you should also try to add your bit to the col­lab­o­ra­tive Tree. You may have per­sonal knowl­edge, sources or pho­tos that no one else can con­trib­ute to this very, very long-term en­deav­our.

3 How many names are in the Fam­ily Tree?

There are about 1.1 bil­lion peo­ple in the Tree with dis­tinct iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­bers. But not every per­son is unique – be­cause of the merg­ing of many datasets to cre­ate the start­ing point for the Tree, many peo­ple have more than one ID. Du­pli­cates can be elim­i­nated by merg­ing, which is a good deed for any­one to do when they have spare time.

4 Can I con­tact some­one who has con­trib­uted to the Fam­ily Tree?

Yes. Each event, source, photo and doc­u­ment is tagged with the date it was changed and the user­name of the con­trib­u­tor. Click on the per­son’s name and you will find an email ad­dress or a way to send them a mes­sage through Fam­il­y­Search.

5 Why do some peo­ple have sev­eral sources for the same event?

This is a re­sult of more than one dataset in His­tor­i­cal Records doc­u­ment­ing the same thing. For ex­am­ple, a chris­ten­ing can ap­pear in a par­ish reg­is­ter, a Bishop’s Tran­script, a book of tran­scrip­tions of the reg­is­ter, and com­bined tran­scrip­tions such as ‘Eng­land Births and Chris­ten­ings’. It is bet­ter to at­tach all ver­sions of an event to the right per­son than to leave them un­at­tached, in case they are in­cor­rectly at­tached to some­one con­fus­ingly sim­i­lar.

6 What is the eas­i­est way to at­tach ba­sic sources to a per­son in the Tree?

It is sim­ple to at­tach sources, such as BMDs or cen­suses, while view­ing a per­son’s de­tails on the Tree. Un­der ‘Search Records’ on the right­hand side of the screen, click­ing ‘Fam­il­y­Search’ en­ables you to at­tach sources to not only the per­son you started with but also their rel­a­tives in the same record, and pro­fes­sional ci­ta­tions are gen­er­ated au­to­mat­i­cally. Page 18 has more ad­vice for work­ing with His­tor­i­cal Records.

7 How many peo­ple in the Fam­ily Tree have sources at­tached?

It’s hard to know ex­actly, but prob­a­bly more than half of the peo­ple in the Tree have no source at­tached at all. Although nearly one mil­lion sources have been added, there are a thou­sand times that many peo­ple in the Tree. So add sources for your rel­a­tives if you can.

8 How can I get help us­ing Fam­ily Tree?

Go to Get Help in the up­per right­hand cor­ner of the Fam­il­y­Search home page. Se­lect Help Cen­ter from the drop-down list. From here you can go to Fam­ily Tree Help for step-by-step in­struc­tions.

Try to add all avail­able doc­u­men­tary sources

Ev­ery­one on the Fam­ily Tree has a search­able ID

You can dis­play a rel­a­tive on the Tree in a fan chart

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