I have a problem folks. I like to change my mind. Some will say it’s because of my gender, others will say it’s because I lack focus. I’m sure all these things are true. The one thing related to genealogy I can’t seem to make a decision on is Ancestry.com’s Family Tree section.
In the pro column, I love the look of it. I love the feel of it. I love the layout. I even love how having it on site helps you to search Ancestry.com better. It’s so easy to link to Ancestry.com sources and never again wonder if you’ll be able to find William Moore in 1880 again. It won’t matter how much they always seem to shift Brooklyn around, because you’ve linked that record to that guy. It’s a beautiful thing. In fact, I have to restrain myself from once again uploading a GEDCOM.
They make it so easy to be split on this decision. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve uploaded and deleted my GEDCOM from their site about 5 times, I would do it again. Unfortunately there are also things I don’t like about it. Some of the things I don’t like, I also like, so this is why I keep changing my mind.
The most I can really say is that I knew when uploading things to that site and my own, that I was putting it out there for everyone and their brothers. In fact, I love sharing my pictures and stories. It’s the greatest reward that comes from doing this. The only problem is that with that I have a responsibility to only put up things that I’m comfortable sharing. Sometimes I forget that in the heat of the moment. I love to try new things. One day though, I was wondering around the Ancestry.com Family Tree section. I was looking at the few trees that have the Thorward family in them. Then I noticed that a lot of those trees were using my pictures of the Thorwards. Which is totally fine, don’t get me wrong. The only thing I saw a problem with is that this completely cuts out the middle man between my fellow genealogists and those pictures, which is me.
I don’t mind them using the pictures, I gladly welcome it. The only problem I have with it, is that it made me think of that other side of my tree. The one I don’t have all the documentation and pictures for. Can someone just come along and take the information without even having to verify it with me? What happens if something I have is completely wrong and the next day I delete it. Then this person has merged my tree with theirs thinking that it’s proven fact, but it’s not! In fact, I have to hold myself back from deleting the information in my website right now. It really does freak me out that something I entered in error could be floating in someone’s tree for years because they haven’t taken the time to check my sources first.
This is why I’m so split on this subject. I could always make my tree “private”, there is that option. What I realized though is if I have the tree up on Ancestry, I immediately start working there exclusively. I stop working on this site that I’ve had and loved for so long.
It may not be as fancy and glamorous as the Ancestry site. It may not have all the convenience. It’s mine though. I use software called The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding. It gives you full control of your tree. I know a little about coding, someday I’ll learn more, but this program does the hard part. I can customize the layout or download one of the templates. In fact until my current layout I’ve always used one of those templates.
It certainly doesn’t lack anything that I would need. I guess what I’m saying is, I’d probably keep the Ancestry Family Tree section going if I didn’t have this wonderful site and tool at my disposal. Now I just have to work on optimizing why I opened this site in the first place. I’ve finally found the two mediums I want to use on the site. A great genealogy program and a great blogging platform. Now I have to bring them together. Once I do that, I doubt I’ll be flip flopping on the Ancestry Family Tree section anymore.