Getting Organized in FamilySearch Family Tree

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. 

My FamilySearch Family Tree Portrait Chart

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!

My Source list for 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!


Comments (13)

  1. Randy Clark

    I have some info there. Recently I was notified that someone had changed a death date. I was able to contact her and learned that while her research was accurate she had introduced an erroneous date simply by misreading or mistyping what was on the source. So now it’s back to being correct but it’s easy to see how someone could make wholesale changes maliciously or otherwise.

  2. Taneya Koonce (Post author)

    Hi Randy – glad to hear it! Have you covered all of your great-grandparents yet? The great thing about Family Tree is that if you “Watch” records, you will get notified of changes just as you mentioned. It is nice that you were able to contact the person and work out the correction. A perfect example of the collaborative model coming into play. 🙂

  3. Randy Clark

    Here is my fathers side:
    As you see my paternal great-grandfather is a pretty solid wall.
    I joke that I can reach the year 1557 on my mother’s side and more like 1957 on my father’s.

  4. Jamison

    I echo your post precisely.I had my trees on RootsWeb and Ancestry and have my own web site, but after attending James Tanner’s class at a FHExpo last year the light came on and I realized FamilyTree is where I need to put my research for generations to come. Photos, docs, stories, etc. I’m confident they’ll find it there before other places and I can collaborate while I’m able. I had ignored my efforts there, tho I had a tree there, but finally saw the light…this is where I need to be. I now have 250 photos so far. I’m so happy to see your promotion of this concept too. We have to give it a chance and put our best work there.

  5. Joann

    Thanks for providing an update on your family tree, and how you are utilizing Family Search as a depository. I started a tree in Family Search as well a few months ago. I need to look into it a little more. The “Watch” feature can be very helpful when someone makes a change to your tree. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Taneya Koonce (Post author)

    Hi Randy – perhaps you sent me a link to a living person in your tree? It comes up blank for me. Living persons cannot be shared. 🙂 Great though that you can go back so far on one branch!

  7. Taneya Koonce (Post author)

    Yes Becky! It is definitely the direction we’re heading. I don’t have that many photos there yet, but I’m working on it 🙂

  8. Taneya Koonce (Post author)

    You’re welcome Joann! I use the Watch feature heavily too. I would definitely encourage you to look into it further. It has great potential!

  9. Jana Last

    Awesome Taneya! Yes, I do have my tree on Family Tree and have added sources and photos there. I also have my family tree on WikiTree as well. Plus, I have my family tree information on my own computer using the Legacy Family Tree genealogy program.

  10. Taneya Koonce (Post author)

    Great Jana. Thanks so for sharing that you use it 🙂

  11. George Geder

    Thank you Taneya,

    I’m first going to concentrate on my parents. I’ve got pictures, notes, short stories, and documents (printed and digital) that I want to make as complete and accurate as possible. Then I’ll go to my grands, etc. I could, right now, go all the way to my 2nd great grands, but I want to take my time. I feel good about this!

  12. Taneya Koonce (Post author)

    Taking your time is a great approach George! Your family and ancestors will appreciate your diligence!

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