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Family Tree

Monday Mailbox: FamilySearch Change or User Change?

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Ancestry Insider,

Hello, I enjoy reading your emails, and wonder if I missed something important, such as:

        Did Familysearch.org change how personal family trees are managed?   

Last week I looked up my Wilmot tree there, and found someone had changed a last name of an ancestor to Wilmont, when the father and grandson were right there as Wilmot. Duh???

A friend said the family trees are now wide open and anyone can add or change information.

        Normally, all information is good, but in this case I am dealing with an idiot.  

Then someone else gave my Hessian ancestor, John Stegman, a wife who was his mother-in-law,

Does this mean that my tree can be changed by anyone going online to FamilySearch.org?

If that is the case, I will not use the program anymore.  It would be a waste of time – I am not a church member – have served/helped many years in a local Family History library.Too many people are well meaning but uneducated on proof of sources.     Ellen Thorne Morris, Monmouth Co., New Jersey

Dear Ellen,

May Day! May Day! (Yes, today is the first of May. But I digress…)

There has been no change. FamilySearch has Genealogies (personal trees) and it has Family Tree (a shared tree). What you are using is Family Tree, and yes, anyone can change anything. FamilySearch’s Genealogies feature is a GEDCOM preservation service. It is not an online tree management program like Family Tree or Ancestry Member Trees. It is merely a repository to preserve and share your life’s work.

  1. Export a GEDCOM file from your genealogy program.
  2. Go to FamilySearch.org.
  3. Select Free Account in the upper-right corner and create an account. Or if you already have an account, sign in.
  4. Select Search > Genealogies.
  5. Scroll to the bottom.
  6. Underneath “Contribute Your Research to the FamilySearch Community,” select Submit Tree.
  7. Follow the instructions to add your tree.

You will be given the opportunity to synch your tree with Family Tree. That step is unnecessary, especially since it sounds like you already have. I don’t know how long it takes to appear, but when others go to Search > Genealogies and search for a person, they will see results from your tree along with the other contributed GEDCOMs.

Ellen, let me close with a heartfelt thank you for your service in a family history center. Several times last month I had patrons express frustration at the limited hours of their local center. It is only through volunteers like yourself that FamilySearch family history centers are open at all. Thank you, thank you!

Signed,
—The Ancestry Insider