Thursday, July 18, 2013

Have You Posted Your Genealogy Research on the Internet? I Practice PMGDOE!

You've done ALL of this genealogy and family history research, over many years and even decades, and invested countless hours in collecting information, organizing resources, creating a family tree in software or on paper charts, and perhaps even creating a series of reports, manuscripts, or books that document your research.

Have you put your research, in whatever form, on the Internet?  If so, how?  In an online family tree database or website (e.g., Ancestry Member Tree, FamilySearch Family Tree, MyHeritage,, WikiTree, WeRelate, etc.)?  Or on a free website (e.g., Rootsweb WorldConnect), your own hosted website, or a genealogy blog?

Note that some of the options above are not found in a search by the search engines - Ancestry Member Trees, FamilySearch Family Tree and MyHeritage are not, but Geni, WikiTree, WeRelate and WorldConnect entries are found by the search engines.

Why I have done this (it seems like on all of the options listed above!) is to serve as "cousin bait."  My theory is that I should "Post My Genealogy Data Online Everywhere" - PMGDOE.

How does PMGDOE pay off for me?  Let me count the ways:

*  Because I post my research experiences on my genealogy blog, often as I am doing the research.  My best example is the Whittle Genealogy Research Compendium - readers much more knowledgeable than I helped me find Australian, English and American resources that helped solve my research problems.

*  I posted a number of genealogy reports on my Randy Seaver's Genealogy and Family History FREE website on back in 1999, and updated them in 2005.  They are downloadable for free.  I receive several queries every week based on these reports even though they are dated a bit.  Last week, a Dill cousin was thrilled to do a search, land on my Dill report, and find six generations of her ancestry there to read and enjoy.  We're exchanging data on her 20th century families.

*  Because the had a 10 megabyte limit, I couldn't post more information there.  About a year ago, I found that I could put reports (or even digital books) on  I wrote about it in Updating my Online Genealogy Ancestral Reports on 1 October 2012.  I have a list of the available reports on the Randy's Genealogy page (at the top of this blog page).  They are downloadable for free.  I don't get many responses from those pages yet, but eventually I think that I will.  I was able to add much more content, with the source citations to support the information (well, not EVERY event, but a lot of them).  

*  I have my entire database available on an Ancestry Member Tree, and I try to update it at least once a year.  I also have my ancestral families in another Ancestry Member Tree so that I can sync it with the Ancestry App on my iPhone and Samsung tablet, and carry my ancestry in my pocket.  I receive several messages via the Ancestry message system each week asking questions or offering information about persons in my tree.  

*  I am adding my ancestral families to the FamilySearch Family Tree, including sources, selected photos and stories, and selected documents. The FamilySearch goal is that the Family Tree will be a connected family tree open to everyone to contribute to.  Unless you are or had ancestors who were LDS members, it's probable that your last three or four generations are not in this online family tree.  Mine were not, so i'm adding them gradually.  

The point is that I have done PMGDOE - I've posted my genealogy data online (almost) everywhere.  I've done it for (almost) FREE (an Ancestry Member Tree is FREE, as is FamilySearch Family Tree, Scribd, etc.). 

What happens when I pass into the great ahnentafel in the sky?  I hope that one of my descendants will carry on the research, or at least maintain the websites so that others can benefit from my research.  By practicing PMGDOE, I have a good chance of having my research live on after my demise.

I do think that the FamilySearch Family Tree has the best chance to become a true connected FREE online family tree, survive a national catastrophe, and have my research live on.  Who knows, Jay Verkler's vision of the genealogical future (see Do You Believe the FamilySearch Vision of the Future?) may even come true!

What do you think?  Are you following my PMGDOE strategy?  If not, why not?  What's your strategy?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Christine said...

Yes, I have my tree on Ancestry (public) and I have started blogging about my direct ancestors by writing up their lives in story/timeline fashion. I try to put as much value into my work so as to pay forward and back to all the other researchers out there. I'm not the only one related to my ancestors! lol And I have already received so much help from cousins and other interested parties, it makes it all worth it.

T said...

Isn't FamilySearch Family Tree the one anyone can edit?

I also have my tree "out there" because I don't want the information to be lost. I have mine on so that only I or the people who have my permission can edit it. I WANT my tree to be found. When I started it was such a mess to sort people I wouldn't wish that on anyone. As long as they had the same first OR last name, they were made the same family. I got the clues I needed from two online trees. It required a lot of reading but I did find it.

Of course I still have brick walls. I've connected with others looking for the same people. I'm sure if one of us solves any of those mysteries we will be sharing with each other so that we have someone to do the happy dance with.

Anonymous said...

Randy; I have not posted my family history to the web in any location or method. My reasons being; I have been “BURNED” a couple times now by people that I call Gleaners. (They go on the web hunting, finding, and then posting to their database without verifying or acknowledging their source.) Plus their database I find so many times to have major errors in it and they will not acknowledge, correct, or give verification as to “why” they feel their posting is truer than mine would be. When I started my family researching I shared with a man some data I had just obtained and I advised him it had not been checked and verified yet. I asked that he do so and work with me to do this before ever posting it, he did not, immediately posting it to his website. Needless to say as I progressed thru my verification process I did find errors. Now that wrong information is out there on his and other sites that have gleaned it from his website.
Your theory of “cousin bait” is fine, but in my particular case I have found that many of those cousins do not do complete and verified research,,, only to post and grow the size of their family tree to the most entries they can seem to acquire, right or wrong, proven or not…. As if there is some contest out there for the largest amount of people posted within a family lineage tree.
I have found one (1) cousin that we work together researching the family name because we have the same feelings as how to research and prove and this cousin does not post to the web either for the same reasons.
I do my research to pass to my children and have decided finding cousins is not worth the stomach acid I get from the people that refuse to “prove” their postings, only to grow a tall tree giving the impression they do and use good solid researching methods when in fact I feel they “glean” data from others hard work..
I know I am part of the minor group doing researching this way and my attitude frustrates many people, but CORRECT and VERIFIED data is much more important to me.
A good way to insure your research and hard work is preserved is to share it with a genealogy society in the area of your research, I.E. where you grew up, where your ancestry comes from, etc.
(verified data is solid research all other is garbage and not trustworthy.)

Anonymous said...

I am the cousin that "Anonymous" mentions in blog. We live in two different countries and four time zones away from each other. We have shared combined info for several years and do our research for "our children." They need to know where they came from.
In my early stages of research, I to used "other peoples" info thinking it was verified facts. It took me several years of searching until I met my cousin on line. We share the original surname spelling which has been changed on my side several generations ago. Once we got to trust each other, our data base has grown very nicely.
I found a relative that shared my surname spelling by accident through a newspaper clipping. Since that discovery, we have amassed a very large data base on this man and his family. All this info is in plain sight and easy to find through newspapers, town clerks and the Family History center. Nobody has found this family even though the information is in plain sight and our surname is fairly common and widely researched.
Many people may not agree with our thinking, but that is your right. We do not collect hundreds and in some cases thousands of names just for the sake of collecting and not verifying facts.
I respect other peoples' thoughts about posting on line. Please respect our feeling on "not" posting our "facts and family" on line.

Unknown said...

I have been on since August 2011 as a beginner genealogist. It was, in the beginning, invaluable in learning how to create a family tree. Since then, I have traced my Lawson ancestors back to the 9th century to medieval England and one ancestor was knighted by the King of England. I am fascinated by medieval and England history and the blood royal lines that I learned about through further reading of England history. As I gained experience, the documents such as death certificates, marriage certificates, and especially U.S. Censuses, military records, and U.S. Applications for Headstones for Military Veterans, etc. is a utopia of source documents. I learned very quickly to use only sourced info. The only downside, unfortunately, that a majority of some Ancestry members is copy see, copy do, no research source documents listed. The list of kids dates of births to the mother and father is a nightmare, and even some kids are listed as being born before their parents. So I never, ever copy the list of kids on the profiles. I actually read and write down only the kids listed on the U.S. Census and work up my Family Group Record.
As far as this great website Genea-Musings, I am learning some great websites to post genealogy history and research. Wiki Tree is too complicated and has no trees, but I like Family because you can see the pedigree tree. One thing I did discover on Family Tree Magazine is a website called that a lot of genealogists are using now. You can post documents, photos, research to your hearts content and you can create "Notebooks" for each subject. A lot of business people use this and it seems to be a private website, rather than directly to Internet like blogs. So thanks a lot to Genea-Musings here for some great advice and ideas.