Best Online Genealogical Chart?

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wastenot
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Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by wastenot » Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:23 pm

I would like to begin a family genealogical chart. In the opinion of experienced Bogleheads, which is the best chart to sign up for in terms of cost, ease of linking/copying online information, features, ease of use, etc.?

One factor is that I would like to add a lot of annotations to the chart.

Thank you.

wcshaff
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by wcshaff » Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:31 pm

I have used ancestry.com and familysearch.org to do basic research. I purchased Rootsmagic software -- it supports the import of family trees created in those web databases, combines in a variety of trees and print options, and enables annotation.

bhtomj
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by bhtomj » Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:54 pm

My wife uses Ancestory.com and their Family Tree Maker software. That membership is around $300.00 /year so time your purchase to when you have time to work on it

She did not use the printouts from the software, but instead purhased poster size charts and filled in the names and comments. She found / purchased the charts from a contact on Pintrest.

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Tim_in_GA
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by Tim_in_GA » Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:54 am

I have found WikiTree pretty helpful. It's a free site where you can collaborate with others. I've gotten so much further there than any other site.

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lthenderson
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by lthenderson » Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:27 am

I have found Ancestry.com to be the most comprehensive but like someone said, it can be expensive so time your subscription to when you have time to work on it. Don't worry if you let it lapse, your information is still there and available but you can't view all the things that you saved to your tree that was original Ancestry's content which is why whenever I find something, I also save it to my hard drive. Ancestry allows you to add just about anything of your own content to your tree. It also has a really great interface to find other people who are researching the same people you are to see what other information others have found. Finally, if you go the DNA route, Ancestry's test is integrated right into their software so that they will show you others in their database related to you and list the common ancestor if you both have them in your tree. If not, they will give you a likelihood of how many generations back your common ancestor is. This is really helpful when your line mysteriously disappears and helps you bridge the gap.

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Steelersfan
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by Steelersfan » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:20 am

www.familysearch.org has about as many records as ancestry and it's free to use on any PC anywhere in the world. There's some overlap, but for the most part they have different records to search. Use both.

If you decide not to pay for and post your genealogy online at ancestry.com (there are pros and cons to doing that) you can access all their records for free at many libraries in the United States and all Family History Centers, often located in LDS churches.

https://familysearch.org/locations/

I have stored my genealogy locally on my PC, first in Family Tree Maker and now in Roots Magic. I can recommend both. Legacy also gets good reviews. All have many options on how to print out whatever information you've stored in their database.

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JupiterJones
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by JupiterJones » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:24 am

Not online, and doesn't actually provide info, but check out gramps: https://gramps-project.org/

Free and open-source. Might be good for copying down info from Ancestry.com to continue to store and view after your subscription period.
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steadierfooting
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by steadierfooting » Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:23 am

I've used ancestry.com for about 10 years now. At first I signed up for about 2 months to fill out everything, gain access to the records, people would connect. Then I cancelled for a year, did more research again, repeat. I've pretty much exhausted all of the research that I'll ever be able to complete on my side of the family, but every 2 years or so sign up for a month to review, revisit, or explore things.

I found enough information on there to add a few lines, but the most of my information was from a tree my grandmother made about 50 years ago.

I also used adobe illustrator to make a copy of this:

http://www.mytreeandme.com/product/slice-of-life


and displayed the chart at home. I like it.

Leeraar
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by Leeraar » Sun Oct 25, 2015 12:12 pm

I have done genealogy for thirty years. I would recommend you do not put your information online. By all means, use online sources to do your research.

Get yourself a copy of the LDS Personal Ancestry File (PAF). It is free, simple, and bulletproof. Also, it does not phone home. One of the issues I have with commercial software is that it will use your data to hunt around online and suggest new links for your people. I want no part of that.

By the way, PAF is no longer supported. That's not a problem, though you can get supported clones. That information is probably on familysearch.org.

There are different flavors of ancestry.com, particularly for the USA, Canada, and the UK. There is an option for the British Empire, countries like New Zealand and Australia. You can get a month's trial free if you remember to cancel before it renews. They regularly have free periods to access all or some of their data. Look for that kind of thing around the turn of the year.

By the way, there is a very good genealogy library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Allen County Public Library. It is an excellent alternative to Salt Lake City or the Library of Congress.

L.

Edit: Ancestry.ca (Canada) currently has a free 30-day trial but you have to give them a credit card and cancel or it renews automatically.
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obgraham
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by obgraham » Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:17 pm

Like everyone says, Ancestry is a good source, but spendy. And by nature I'm loath to place my data out on the cloud, i.e. on Ancestry's server. Who knows when they'll change their rules. (My family says I'm paranoid -- I agree.)

So I keep my data on a flow chart constructed on Excel, and all my data bits in a spreadsheet. I can find it easily and add to it when I wish. Copy all the original sources you find on Ancestry -- you'll not be able to see them if you don't pay.

Leeraar
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by Leeraar » Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:42 pm

obgraham wrote:(My family says I'm paranoid -- I agree.)
Oh, you think that publishing your birth date and your Mother's maiden name on a site that says they own the data you post is cause for paranoia?

L. :shock:
Last edited by Leeraar on Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Christine_NM
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by Christine_NM » Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:57 pm

http://www/familytreenow.com is free, no joining. Has access to US Census back to 19th century, SS records, and more. The Census is very helpful.

I could never bring myself to pay for genealogy, but finally found a free one. Discovered an aunt I didn't know I had and found out that I am of Finnish descent, which I did not know before. I've read that most everyone who does this finds something new. Be prepared for surprises.
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b4real
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by b4real » Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:13 pm

http://www.webtrees.net
It's free, well supported, and you control the data.
For research: familysearch.org, ancestry.com (free at the library), ellisisland.org, findagrave.com, and google searches.
I have found genealogy research to be a rewarding retirement project.

obgraham
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by obgraham » Sun Oct 25, 2015 5:12 pm

Leeraar wrote:
obgraham wrote:(My family says I'm paranoid -- I agree.)
Oh, you think that publishing your birth date and your Mother's maiden name on a site that says they own the data you post is cause for paranoia?
Well mostly I'm concerned that after I spend hours entering my stuff into their software, they'll find a way to deny me access to my own stuff sometime down the road.

If Snowden or Assange want to do something with my mother's name, so be it.

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BigFoot48
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by BigFoot48 » Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:57 pm

I like Family Echo for doing family trees for free: http://www.familyecho.com I also have doing genealogical research of late, and signed up for a six month trial of Ancestry for $49 (half off). I probably won't renew as I'll be mostly done by then and will switch back to the free sources while waiting for another 50% off sale.

I also have been adding my family, friends, co-workers, and occasional interesting person to Find A Grave http://www.findagrave.com/ which I highly recommend. Thanks to existing memorials created by others and the ones I've added, we can link my wife back to immigrants in the late 1600's using FaG.
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celia
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by celia » Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:12 am

This might be overwhelming if you are just beginning, but here is a comparison of the current genealogy packages:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compariso ... y_software

One of the problems with saving your stuff online in a site that is shared with others, is they may be able to (incorrectly) change your data. You can lose control of your project by too many people editing the same database you are. That is why I'd rather do it on my own computer.

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lthenderson
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Oct 26, 2015 9:08 am

Leeraar wrote:I have done genealogy for thirty years. I would recommend you do not put your information online. By all means, use online sources to do your research.
Although I haven't been doing genealogy for that long, I have been doing it for over a decade and I would definitely recommend you put your information online but with the caveat that you don't include any information on those who are living and you always backup your work offline.

By putting my family tree online, I have made some outstanding discoveries over the years. People have found my information, contacted me and shared a treasure trove of stories, pictures and information that they have in their person possession that I would never have found had I not put my tree out "there." It has also allowed online software point me towards other people researching the same person (because their information is also online) and together, we can collaborate to turn up new clues which has broken down a couple brick walls I had run into. By not sharing any of your hard earned information on your ancestors, you are only ensuring that it dies with you.

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Steelersfan
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by Steelersfan » Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:19 pm

Leeraar wrote: Get yourself a copy of the LDS Personal Ancestry File (PAF). It is free, simple, and bulletproof. Also, it does not phone home. One of the issues I have with commercial software is that it will use your data to hunt around online and suggest new links for your people. I want no part of that.
That may be true if you put your genealogy online but not if you use one of the many PC based products

I have RootsMagic installed on my PC and I know it doesn't "phone home" to anywhere online. When I had Family Tree Maker, it didn't either.

I expect if you have an online account (especially with the pair of Family Tree Maker and Ancestry) and tell it to connect your offline PC software to it you can, but that's not the norm and a choice you can make.

novicemoney
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by novicemoney » Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:02 pm

obgraham wrote:Like everyone says, Ancestry is a good source, but spendy. And by nature I'm loath to place my data out on the cloud, i.e. on Ancestry's server. Who knows when they'll change their rules. (My family says I'm paranoid -- I agree.)

So I keep my data on a flow chart constructed on Excel, and all my data bits in a spreadsheet. I can find it easily and add to it when I wish. Copy all the original sources you find on Ancestry -- you'll not be able to see them if you don't pay.
As a fellow paranoia subscriber I agree about placing genealogy info online. Posting birthdates of living people seems like asking for trouble. I let everyone in my family know that I will gladly share my data with them upon request. There is another aspect to this and that is some people just dislike having their data our on the web. It is too much work to decide who is in this camp and who isn't so I don't post this stuff. FWIW.

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Steelersfan
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by Steelersfan » Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:51 pm

I'm in the group that's not comfortable putting his genealogy online.

As an alternative, I put a message on each of two message board every few years with key people in my genealogy listed so someone likely to match up with me finds it. They are:

Rootsweb message boards: http://boards.rootsweb.com/?o_iid=33216 ... b+Property

Genealogy's Genforum: http://www.genealogy.com/forum/

I put an entry in both the surname board and the place they lived, and for each of the main lines of my family.

They aren't nearly as active as they used to be as Facebook has grown in popularity, but in the past I've connected with others and others have connected with me through them. Anyone doing a google search on a name/place combination will find my posts, no matter how old they are. Lots of valuable information has been given and gotten. I do have to remember to update my email address on each site if it changes since that's the way I get notified that someone has posted on them, or if they want to email me directly.

Oddlot
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by Oddlot » Mon Oct 26, 2015 9:43 pm

I use TNG (The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding) which uses open source code. My data is on a password protected website using a host service of my choosing, and I keep a copy on my home computer. Although I can access all of the code and make changes, I have been fine so far using the standard package, so I haven't had to code anything. I can upload photos and documents, plus TNG has many built-in ways to display the tree as well as includes maps and timelines. It cost a bit over $30 a year ago. Knowing something about PHP, HTML, and MySQL is helpful, but not necessary. It's probably not for the technically timid, however.

I wanted something on line so I could share it, but did not want to lose control of my data on some "black box" website. TNG fit the bill.

The OP does not mention if (s)he has all their data yet, but if not, then as others have noted, Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org are amazing sources of information and one needs to use both. To have census data, births, deaths, marriages, yearbooks, city directories, news clippings etc. on line is wonderful. I have found a lot of the public family trees on Ancestry to be garbage, though. You still have to do your own research.

I think virtually all genealogy programs and websites can import and export data that is in the standard GEDCOM format, so that should not be an issue.

Separately, I Google and use social media to find and contact distant relatives. That's how I have acquired copies of some amazing photographs of ancestors that I would never have seen otherwise.

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DonCamillo
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by DonCamillo » Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:12 pm

In addition to the chart, linking ancestors together, there is a need to organize the data. I do not want documents in my chart; too unwieldy for thousands of individuals going back 400 years.

So I have a separate directory on my hard drive and my backup hard drive. It has my last name, and all the pictures and documents for my last name. It also has a sub-directory for my mother's last name and for my father's mother's last name. Each of those has all the documents for that last name, and sub-directories for each new name from that generation.

My documents include photos of the relevant pages from census records, documents like marriage, death, and military service certificates, photographs of graves going back six generations, photographs of individuals, pages from published genealogical books, maps, rosters of ships bringing ancestors to America (can't say United States--I have more ancestors that came before 1776 than afterwards), and many other documents. I have over 1,000 documents.
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Peter Foley
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by Peter Foley » Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:07 pm

I have used Family Tree Maker software for over 20 years. It is my main data file. 5000+ individuals, many too many to put on line and some of the data is for persons who are living and putting their data on line could lead to identity theft.

I use the Family Search online for a basic genealogical chart. I've talked to some folks at the LDS library in our area and think that the approach they are using for a basic chart is fine. Note - this is primarily a chart of ancestors, not a chart of your entire family tree.

The on line Family Search chart works like a Wiki. You can create a chart and add to it. If a name you add is one that already exists in the database, you a notified that you make have a match and that you may wish to merge the two data sets for that individual. This is helpful if there are others who have put some of your family data on line. Do note that this is a Wiki, and someone may come along and change the data you have input. You, of course, may also change the data that others have input. To change a datum you are required to enter the reason for the change - I usually state the data source that is the basis for the change I make.

In my case, my surname was often misspelled in census records and the misspelled version appears in some family trees. I correct those entries when I find them and add enough additional data to convince the person who input the data that I have an irrefutable source - typically the birth certificate of the individual and the birth certificate of the individual's father.
Last edited by Peter Foley on Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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JPH
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by JPH » Tue Oct 27, 2015 1:45 pm

When you cay "Chart," if you mean something to frame and hang on the wall, then try My Canvas.
http://www.mycanvas.com/products/family-tree-posters/
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Oddlot
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by Oddlot » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:54 pm

For anyone considering genealogy software, note that Ancestry.com is "retiring" the Family Tree Maker software:

http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015 ... -software/

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Steelersfan
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by Steelersfan » Wed Dec 09, 2015 5:04 pm

And if anyone is using or planning to use Ancestry's online online repository, here's something to keep in mind.

If you decide to move your family tree to Ancestry's online repository, be aware that if you just click on a record to attach it to your online tree, if you ever leave Ancestry and want to download your tree to some other place, those records you've attached to your tree don't come along. Instead you need to download each record one by one to your PC and take it from there. If you're already using Ancestry's online repository, you should start doing that now whenever you attach a record as a precaution, and to save you a lot of work if you ever decide to leave Ancestry.

Here's an article with more on that topic:

http://familyhistorydaily.com/genealogy ... read-this/

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Peter Foley
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Re: Best Online Genealogical Chart?

Post by Peter Foley » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:45 am

I know there is a move toward cloud computing, but I really want to "own" my files and share them with interested parties. Ancestry's action to discontinue the desktop software is disappointing. I run a 2010 version and an earlier version was actually better for making customized charts.

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