Thursday, August 14, 2008

Checking Out - Post 2

This is the second in a short series reviewing the family tree web site that is part of the genealogy "empire." My first post, which introduced with words and screens, is here.

I uploaded my 20,000 plus person family tree to, and it seemed to load without a hitch.

In order to see My Tree, I clicked on the [My Trees] tab in the top menu line. Here is what I saw - my "Ancestors of Randy Seaver" tree - it says I have 20,733 individuals in this tree. I could Edit, Update or Delete the tree using the buttons on the right.

I chose to look at my tree by clicking on the name of the tree - "Ancestors of Randy Seaver." Here is the resulting screen:

In the screen above, it opens on the [Index] tab, and a box with all of the letters of the alphabet. If you click on the [Search] tab, you can search this database for a specific person or surname.

I clicked on the letter A, and the next screen showed a list of surnames with the number of entries for each surname in parentheses. I scrolled down to "Able" and clicked on it, and a list of persons with surname "Able" was listed in the right-hand column, as shown below:

I scrolled down (using the scroll bar on the right-hand side of the table, not of the entire screen) and found my 4th-great-grandfather, Johannes Able (1759-1818), and clicked on his name on the list.

The screen for Johannes Able (1759-1818) is shown below:

This is an [Individual] view (note the chart type below Johannes Able's name), and lists his name, birth and death date, spouse's name(s), marriage date(s), and children names. The names are links to the individuals. Below the family members, there is an "Events" section (which seems to have only Burial as a Fact, and "last modified" information about the individual) and then a "Notes" section where the notes I have for this Johannes Able appear.

I wanted to see what it would show me for the Ancestors of Johannes Able, so I clicked on the [Ancestors] link below the name Johannes Able. The screen below came up (only a partial view of the web page):

A four-generation pedigree chart appeared with names of ancestors of Johannes Able in beautiful yellow boxes. If you run your mouse over the name in the box, the birth and death dates/places appear for that person. I clicked on the [Chart Options] button in the middle of the screen, and found some editing options. I can change number of generations, change box color, font type, font size, and add/delete a drop shadow. I could not change the box background image, however. This may be a later enhancement.

One thing I noted was that some of the female ancestors did not show up on this and charts of other persons. A bug? Perhaps. Easily fixable, hopefully!

What about the Descendants of Johannes Able (1759-1818)? Back on the [Individual] page, I clicked on the [Descendants] link below the name [Johannes Able] and this chart appeared:

The web page created was fairly large, so what I've shown above is in the middle of the web page. Four generations of descendants are created in a tree format. The same Chart Options can be applied, and the birth and death data appear when you run the mouse over each individual's box.

I wondered about Printing the chart. Apparently, there are no program capabilities to do this yet (probably a later enhancement). I clicked on [File] [Print Preview] and got the screen below (with three pages shown, shrink to fit):

Print Preview said that there was 56 pages for this Descendants chart! I'll wait for the "good one" that I'm sure is coming.

So far, I like the capabilities and the presentation on It is fairly simple and intuitive to use - that's good, since there are no Help pages (yet?). My preference is to be able to see the birth, death and marriage dates and places right on the tree charts, rather than have to run the mouse over each person. Perhaps they can make that an option for traditionalists like me.

I will have at least one more post in this evaluation, since I just discovered more descriptive notes and some sample pictures on the web site.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Hi Randy,
Is it known who is the owner of this site? and that there is not a connection to any of the Conglomerates around? I don't fret about individuals using my data but I do about folks like ancestry. I went a round with them already about the theft of our MIGenWeb pages. I don't want anyone publishing data illegally / or having some small print somewhere giving them permission to do so by the uploading of it.
Thanks for your work, I love it. I tried to printscreen into blogspot but I could not get it to work. ;( Brenda