Thursday, March 24, 2011

Exploring Tpstry - Post 1: Getting Started

What is Tpstry? 

"Tpstry is a place to discover and share not only past family memories, but also the new memories made everyday."

The About Us page at says:

"As we, the Tpstry founders, got older, we began to realize that we wanted to know more about many of our relatives who had already passed away. We wanted to know what they were like as kids, who were there favorite entertainers, what jobs had they worked at. Unfortunately we couldn't talk directly to them, but we could talk to our other living relatives who knew them. By using the combined knowledge of our living relatives, we could learn so much more about our deceased relatives. Since we had already missed our chance with our deceased relatives, we didn't want to miss our chance with our living relatives. So we could ask them the same questions and learn even more about everyone in our family.

"Thus, Tpstry was born as a place to discover and share not only past family memories, but also the new memories made everyday."

After reading today's press release, I decided to go explore Tpstry.  I registered - it was easy.  I even get a free web site (  Is Tpstry free?  Yes and no - there is a free Basic Plan and a Premium Plan (coming soon).  The Basic Plan includes:
  • Create multiple families
  • Invite others to join your family
  • Add unlimited number of people, places and events
  • Upload unlimited number of images
  • View family information in a Timeline format
  • Unique family URL
Once I registered, I was provided a page with a number of questions on it, such as:

*  What is Randy Seaver's gender?
*  What is Randy Seaver's eye color?
*  What is Randy Seaver's hair color?
*  What is Randy Seaver's birthday?
*  Who is Randy Seaver's father?
*  What is Randy Seaver's birthday?

And so on.  The questions seem endless.  Once you identify a father and a mother, then the system starts asking questions about the other persons. 

I noticed that I would fill in the blank, and then move to the next question, and the same question would appear later on in the list.  The user has to click on the "ANSWER" button to register the answer!  If you don't know the answer, or don't want to answer the question, you can click on the "Does not apply" link in the answer box.  The question boxes look like this:

I answered lots of questions, first about myself, and then about other ancestors.  I did not add any siblings, but I could and the questions would eventually ask who the father and mother are.  After adding 17 persons (all ancestors), and answering 131 questions to date, I decided to see what "My Website" looked like:

There are tabs for People, Places, Events, Images and Timelines to click on.  The People tab shows a list of the people that I've entered to date:

I clicked on the link for Alma Bessie Richmond and saw:

From this page, I cannot answer more questions about this person.  Apparently, I have to wait until Tpstry asks me the questions that I have answers for.  Oh well.

In order to answer all of the questions to date, I had to have my RootsMagic database  open to check the dates and places that I don't have in my memory bank.

I was perturbed by the need to give answers more than once to some questions; by the questions about the last name of persons that I had entered with a full name; by the questions asking what city or state a place was in when I had entered a city and state; and by the limited set of questions.  I understand that they want the users to submit memories, but nobody had a car before 1900, very few people know what color hair or eyes their grandparents had, or where and how they were engaged.  The questions about employment assume that a person worked for a business, which wasn't the case, in general, before 1900. 

I can see potential for the Tpstry website if the question set is expanded and there are answers to some of my questions, such as:

*  How do I edit the answers?  I made some mistakes, and need to change the answers.

*  How do I answer a question after I've clicked on "Does not apply?"

*  How do I call up more questions about a specific person?  It's a lot easier to answer questions about specific persons using the information for that person in my genealogy database.

*  What are Events?  I've entered quite a few birth, marriage and death dates and they don't show up in the Events list.

*  Is there a Stories element, where users can type in stories, or is all of the information based on the answers to the questions?

*  Will Tpstry incorporate a GEDCOM upload?  Of unlimited size, or limited size?  What data will be imported?

Tpstry wants users to invite their family members to help add to the vital data, to answer more questions about persons, to share their images, and to share their stories.

There is a lot more to Tpstry, and I'll try to point some of them out in later posts.

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