29 November 2011

Building a Tree

Now you've got some lovely information from all the people that you can get a hold of and tolerate. Next step is to make your information clear and searchable.

Building a paper tree
This is all personal preference. You can draw little trees and put names. You can have file folders of individuals and families. However it makes sense to you. I have paper files that I keep on an individual with a timeline of their life, adding in dates as I find them. This helps me to know what I've already searched out, as well as to direct future searches on them. I only use this method on "dead-ends" and people I am searching thoroughly. Could you imagine a file on every member of your family? I've got 5600 names in one tree .... I'm pretty sure some environmental group would call for my head if I wasted all that paper.

As for how to write out a list of people in a common tree style for easy reference, I don't like the family tree that comes most to mind. It can get very messy, very quickly. I prefer the cleaner list style popular in genealogy books. You number the relatives starting with the earliest and bring it forward giving everyone a number and keeping them in generations. I think it's a marvelous way to keep on top of an entire branch:
Page from the Genealogy of the Kemper Family in the United States

Now, for those of you who abhor computers, it's all up to you and how you roll. Enjoy your reams of paper!!!! For the rest of us...

Building a tree online
Ok, so there are loads of places to build a tree online. There are also software options for those who don't want your information in the ether, but I'm not one of them. I know Family Tree Maker is popular, my uncle uses it. But I'm not willing to pay for a tree software when there are free(ish) websites. There are more than you can imagine, but I have tried a couple and I'll give you my humble opinion.

Ancestry- This is by far my favorite website. You can build a tree and add your own information for free. Searching their records or other people's public trees cost you on a monthly or yearly option.

Why I love it:
1. I can pay this month and not pay next month and still view/edit my tree
2. It has loads of information and can really help when I get stuck on a family member
3. It has a super clean design without a lot of fluff in my way to confuse me
4. They have free events where I can search a certain set of records without having to pay for a month
5. You can share your tree with your family so they can help edit information

Why I hate it:
1. Sometimes I have technical issues saving people/data due to the high volume of users
2. There are many "researchers" that link a family member without thinking leading to incorrect information
3. People tend to spend too much time bitching about said incorrect information on forum posts instead of leaving information I can use

My Heritage- My uncle has used this one and it's okay. I don't like the layout. And you have to pay for a bigger tree after you hit your free limit. My uncle paid and made me an editor of his tree so I'm free, but it's just a tassel of a hassle in that place.

Geni- This one I found through Google search when I was looking for new options on trees and information. I hate this one with a passion. Sure I have a free tree and it's not that hard to build. But again, the layout isn't my favorite and all I get for free is the tree. They tease you with "see who else is searching for A. N. Cestor here", but it's just so you'll pay. Bah.

Family Echo- This one is a very bare bones tree maker. You input your tree and can print a nice copy. Add photos too. You can import a Gedcom (family tree file) and take some of the hassle out. I like to do use this site when I need a paper copy. I can print from Ancestry, but this one is so simple looking I find it's nice to use for reference when talking to relatives.

And this is just for keeping your tree around, next time we'll talk about where you can find information to add! We'll also cover when free isn't enough and what to pay for. Whatever tree option you choose, remember you can change your mind. Try a couple out and see what hits best in your stride.


No comments:

Post a Comment