Almost exactly one year ago, I posted about my initial excitement around being able to use FamilySearch’s Family Tree site. Here we are a year later and I am still very much a champion for the site and the model of collaborative genealogy that they are promoting. I’ve just finally gotten around to watching Ron Tanner’s 2014 RootsTech presentation about Family Tree and as usual I found it helpful and informative. The past year has brought many changes to Family Tree and there are several upcoming features that I’m looking forward to seeing implemented. James Tanner has a great recap on his site.
I’m so happy with it that I’ve decided Family Tree will be a prominent part of my genealogical research preservation plan as I think about how my work and efforts will be available and shareable for others in the future. I will actively use it to archive family photos, documents and other information. Whether it be my own family, or family of others even. Earlier this week, my genea-colleague, George Geder, posted that he plans to use Family Tree himself moving forward to document his family history research. Kudos to him! I do have my own website I use for documenting my family, and all the other trees I work on and I still plan to use it. However, now that Family Tree is available and it fulfills a desire I’ve had for so long for truly collaborative genealogy, I feel I must also leverage this platform.
So, this weekend, I decided to spend some time actively adding more info to my FamilySearch Family Tree profiles and make sure I had at least my direct line up to my 8 great-grandparents duly covered. I made sure to “watch” all of their records so that I would receive notifications of any changes and I added pictures for everyone.
Additionally, using my primary online genealogy tool, TNG: The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding, I created a “source” record for Family Tree and will add it to every person for whom I have a corresponding profile. This will make it easier to track who’ve I’ve added and not added. These are important first steps if I’m going to truly leverage Family Tree!
And now that I have this done, I have a model in place as I help others add their information. For example, over the next few weeks, I am aiding Kalonji with his Intro to Africana Studies class he teaches for a local university and we’ve incorporated a family history assignment. As I put the assignment together, I am planning to have the students register for the FamilySearch website and build a basic family tree as they work towards writing a biographical profile of one of their great-grandparents. That’s well over 60 students to begin to engage in learning more about their past. I’m terribly excited and will post more about that experience at a later time.
My next step is to get all of my 2nd-great grandparents similarly documented.
Have you done your chart in Family Tree yet? I’d love to hear about your experiences!