Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesday's Tip - Use Free Family Trees on RootsWeb WorldConnect to Find Cousins or Clues

This week's Tuesday's Tip is:  Use the FREE Family Trees on Rootsweb WorldConnect to find clues and information about ancestors and/or find cousins with similar interests.

The WorldConnect system of separate family trees uploaded by researchers via GEDCOM have been around for a long time.  There are over 440,000 separate trees, with over 725 million names in them.  Many of the person profiles are duplicated in many trees, and not many trees have sources and notes, but they can be a great resource for leads and clues.  As with every family tree contributed by researchers, you have to be careful to use it for leads and clues unless sources and notes are provided, and even then a researcher should confirm the information themself by finding records that document events.

The WorldConnect is often my first online site when I find a new ancestor so that I can see if any other researcher has found more information than I have for that person.

The RootsWeb WorldConnect home page looks like this:

I put a surname of "feather" and a first name of "cornelius" in the search fields, and lcicked on "Go" and saw 21 results:

Each result shows the information for the person searched - name, birth date/place, death date/place, father's name, mother's name, and spouse's name, plus a code name for the contributor.  There are 20 matches shown per screen - you can click on the "Next" button to see the next batch of 20 matches.

The symbols next to the person's name mean:

*  A "Magnifying glass" means you can search on Ancestry.com (if you have a subscription).
*  A "Pedigree chart" shows you a pedigree chart for the person.
*  An "open book" means there are sources for the person.
*  A "paper and pencil" icon means that there are notes (I think).
*  A "blue face" icon means that the person has children listed in their profile.

Down at the bottom of the list of matches is the search form:

In the search box, the user can narrow the search by adding a birth year (with a range), birth place, death year (with a range), death place, marriage place, marriage year (with a range), father's name, mother's name, spouse's name, etc.  Wild cards can be used for the names.  The user can select "Exact" or "Soundex" or "Metaphone" for names of the person.

I selected the 20th match on the list - for the Cornelius Feather born in 1777.  Here is the top of the profile for him:

At the top of the screen above is the submitter's name, the number of entries in the GEDCOM file, the upload date, and the submitter's email address.  There's the potential cousin.

In blue (linked words) below the top line are links for "Index" (names of persons in the tree), "Descendancy" (a dropdown list), "Register" (a descendants narrative report), "Ahnentafel" (an ancestral  narrative report), "Download GEDCOM," and "Add Post-em" (you can put a message there to the submitter).

The profile page provides the person's name, the vital record information, and any notes submitted for the person.

Further down on the person profile page is:

If there are spouse(s) names, they are listed, along with the children of each spouse. [In the screen above, there are no spouse names listed, but there are children listed]  If there were sources, they would be provided after the children list.

At the bottom are the same links as at the top, plus another line at the bottom for a "Printer Friendly Version," "Search Ancestry," "Search WorldConnect," "Join Ancestry.com Today!," "WorldConnect Home," "Worldconnect Global Search," and "WorldConnect Help."

While the search capabilities are not as extensive as on Ancestry.com and other sites, the search and results are free, and the reports are free of graphics, the system works quickly, and it is the 4th largest family tree system in the genealogy world.  This system used to be included in the Ancestry.com list of family tree databases as the "Ancestry World Tree" but has disappeared from the database list and from the search results list.

To me, the pluses (simple, fast, free, standard reports, contact information) outweigh the minuses (only 725 million profiles, separate trees, few sources, etc.) for a quick look at a family tree system to determine if it can help me.  Many researchers think that there is "only" Ancestry.com to search, but the fact is that there are many online family tree systems, and some of them, like Rootsweb WorldConnect, are free and fairly large.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/01/tuesdays-tip-use-free-family-trees-on.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


lyn said...

I'm a huge fan of World Connect. I think one reason many folks do not post their sources and notes is because they want their cousins to contact them. Makes sense to me!

Joe Bissett said...

Randy, this type of "possibility" research is perfect for one of the many uses of Clooz for research and analysis. Users can simply open a new file for the people in question, and use it to pull together any and all pieces of data from WorldConnect and other compendiums. As the file grows, the unique Composite View can begin to pull clues together to help the researcher form a more balanced picture of the individual(s) in question. If the researcher uses Legacy, when a valid conclusion has been reached, the appropriate data can be moved to the formal family tree in Legacy, virtually with one click.

Ell said...

I've been looking at rootweb's World Connect Trees all along (even this week),
gaining clues and contacts. All of a sudden, I can't access them. When I try, I get thrown into Ancestry's beg page, where they want me to join.

I don't find any way to access the trees without joining, nor can I contact any of the people directly.

Does anyone know what's happened? Now I have to pay ancestry to look at the trees that were put up on the free World Connect site?


Emily Hegarty said...

Thanks so much for this post, Randy. One of my google searches brought me to a RootsWeb WorldConnect page and I couldn't figure out what I was looking at! This post helped me a lot.

Marian said...

I have posted some portions of my family tree on WorldConnect, using Gedcom files from my desktop genealogy software (Reunion). Unlike Ancestry and FamilySearch's Family Tree, it accepted my Gedcom files flawlessly, including my lengthy sources. I think it's a fine way to reach cousins who are maybe-a-little-interested but not enough to pay for Ancestry or navigate Family Tree.

Scoutmaster Craig said...

Hi, Randy!

Thanks for this post, it's been very helpful.

Is there anyway to merge/join a tree that currently exists in OneWorld Tree to my own, without a GEDcom?


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