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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Creating an Ancestry.com Tree

This week I had the pleasure to help another society member create her first tree on Ancestry.com. She was adopted and wanted to do a tree on her biological mother's family, since she doesn't know the name of her father, yet!

Anyway, I don't use Ancestry as my genealogy software inputting program, I have Family Tree Maker and my tree syncs with Ancestry. However, I do not input new people, facts or anything else via Ancestry. My Tree(s) on Ancestry are cousin bait or what I use to show family members via my laptop or iPad when I am visiting with them.

I discovered that even though, I have heard that Ancestry.com Trees inputting is very similar to doing it via Family Tree Maker, I sort of agree and disagree. Adding a new person is very similar and very simple but attaching documents and such seem cumbersome.

Because the society member is not computer savvy and I wanted this process to be as easy as possible so that she maintains and grows her tree, I helped her with the first three people.

We decided to make the home person her mother and thus we inputted her name, birth date and place and death date and place. Next we added her father and this is where we were allowed to create a tree name and set up privacy settings. Since she wanted to make her tree totally private, I went back into her tree settings, and verified her Privacy Settings were set as Private Tree and then also checked the box next to "Also prevent your tree from being found in searches". At this time, she is not thinking about cousin bait as much as recording her family history.

I also added her grandmother's name and facts we knew. Next I wanted to know how to add a source and or media file. I clicked on 'add media' and it allowed me to either choose from media that is already in my tree or upload media or even create new media such as write a story, record audio or record video. What I wanted to do was add a record transcription found via FamilySearch.org that was saved as a PDF. However after I attached it, you can't just see the attachment, it wants you to download it and then open it. Not exactly what we wanted, so we decided to change the record transcription from PDF to a jpeg image file. Now you can see the attachment, but we still didn't know if this is what we really want to do, because some of the images she has came from Ancestry.com from the Library Edition, since she doesn't have a paid subscription and I felt that it wasn't proper to attach something saved from a "Paid" Ancestry account to your tree for anyone to see (if her privacy settings get changed to public). Even though I haven't read all the way through all the legal stuff on Ancestry's page, I would think this would not be the proper thing to do.

Next we looked at Facts and Sources and I tried to add a source citation. I looked at all the fields and wondered if my society member would be up to keying in all this information? Again, it seemed cumbersome and to me it is so much easier to create a source in Family Tree Maker so we scraped this idea too.

What we really wanted was for her to be on the Overview of the person's page and be able to see the timeline with all the facts and perhaps a title of where she found the information. She has all the sources either printed out or on her flash drive.

I clicked on her mother's birth fact to see what would come up. The fields are Date, Location and Description. I wondered what they meant by description but thought this would be a great place to put the title of her source. For example, we found her birth date as part of her Find a Grave Memorial therefore, the description became Find A Grave Memorial # 99999999, where the 9's are the actual memorial number. If the fact was found via the US Social Security Index on Ancestry.com she would put in the title of the source as found via their Card Catalog such as US Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 ~ Ancestry.com. This will enable her to find the documentation again if needed.

Here is an example of what it looked like, I modified one of my entries to show you.
As you can see, my sources added through FTM are view-able when you click on the down arrow next to Sources. It might not be the best solution, but at least it is a start for her to record sources for each fact. If she has multiple sources, she could just add another line in the description for the next source. Since this tree is totally private, it is basically for her to view the lineage and the sources she has used. 

I know this is not totally the proper way to do your genealogy, but I didn't want to discourage her and with her advance age, I wanted her to discover this family that she has never known about and get excited about doing it. Also, as she gets more familiar with inputting facts and such, she can always decided to do sources in more detail. So I guess my objective with this training lesson was to get a system she could easily follow and do. Not bog her down with so much learning that she would give up and quit.