April 9th, 2014

Two Ways to Your Family History Online

Once you know how and where to find information online and to get in contact with other researchers, it’s time to take a more active role in genealogy by publishing your own information for other researchers to share. Some of the ways you can accomplish this are by using newsgroups, forums, or message boards, but those basic methods are limited and can only offer basic information. The alternative is to publish your family history online.

Your Publishing Options
The choice of how to publish your family history online really rests between two options; creating your own website, or submitting your pedigree to an online database. Each has its own benefits, and if you have the technical skills, creating your own website can be fun and fulfilling. But not everyone has the technical knowledge necessary or the aptitude to create their own website, for them submitting their pedigree to a database might be a better choice. Let’s have a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages of both options.

Submitting to an Online Pedigree Database
This is a very fast way of getting your pedigree published online, and will also gain your pedigree exposure to a wide audience. There is a constant flow of visitors to these websites and it is a great way to make genealogical contacts as well. On the other hand, because your data will be held in a database that is only searchable through the particular website hosting it, your information will not be available to anyone making a general search of the internet. Your data can only be searched on the website hosting it, and with their search facilities. Also, your ability to add any new material that you may obtain from sources outside your existing database will be limited or in some cases impossible.

There is also the possibility that you may need to give up some of the rights of ownership of your material, so make sure if submitting to a pedigree database that you thoroughly read their terms and conditions. For no reason should you allow the disadvantages of submitting to a pedigree database to dissuade you from using that method. As long as you are clear on the terms and conditions it is an effective way to publish your family tree. But, you may want to consider building your own website as well.

Your Own Website
This option may be a bit intimidating if you don’t have the technical knowledge or time to invest in it, but there are certain advantages to going this route. They are:

  • Submitting your data to your own site is almost as easy as submitting it to an online database
  • You are able to material from outside sources
  • You can add your own images and scanned documents
  • Your pedigree can be found by anybody searching the internet for information on your pedigree
  • You maintain complete ownership rights to your material

Building your own website is very muck akin to creating a picture of your life online. You can do it at as leisurely or as fast a pace as you want, and also make it as detailed as you desire. There are a few issues to be aware of however, when building and publishing your own site. The first is; if you build your website of free web space by one provider and later switch to another, you’ll have to inform all of the search engines and anyone who has linked to your site. This could get a bit messy and complicated, so consider your options carefully. You’ll also need to learn how to create web pages if you want to add additional information rather than just displaying your family tree. It’s worth the effort however, and once you’ve learned you can create a website that is both informative and attractive.

Building your own website is the way to go if you want to share your information with other genealogists. After all, that is how most of the information is displayed on the internet. Whichever option you decide to go with, one thing to be careful of is posting information about living people. Even though they are your relatives, privacy issues are involved and you’ll want to have permission in writing form any living relatives you share info on.