Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Top 10 Genealogy Family Tree Resources

Cyndi Ingle recently asked a question on Facebook for discussion: 

"One of the new lectures is "Ten Resources I Use Every Day." Top 10 lists seem to be a popular thing. I remember being asked on many occasions to create top 10 lists of sites to present in lectures at conferences. Thus, this lecture idea was born. I've been adding to an outline for a while now. It is all the things I do and all the things I use during the day that make me more efficient, organized, and a better researcher. I have a lot more than 10 of them. It's 55 so far. So, I organized them into 10 categories. Ha! What are your favorite 10 resources?"

I responded on Facebook, but didn't limit my list of 10 to just Genealogy Family Tree Resources.  After some reflection, I think these are my top 10 Family Tree resources to have my family tree database on, and to find records and research clues on (in approximate order of use):

1)  RootsMagic ($$) - This is my primary genealogy management program on my desktop computer.  I prefer the layout, ease of use, source templates, and some of the reports relative to other desktop computer programs.  I have one large database for my own family research (ancestors of my grandchildren, plus smaller trees that may connect to my ancestral tree).  There is a free mobile app that reads a RootsMagic native file.

2) ($$) - I use my Ancestry Member Tree (an isolated "my tree," which I update every year or two via GEDCOM upload) as cousin bait.  With over 32,000 databases, Ancestry provides Record Hints for persons in my AMT, with 95% to 98% accuracy.  Other Ancestry Member Trees, with over 2.1 billion profiles, provide research leads at times.  There is a free mobile app that syncs with my Ancestry Member Tree.

3)  FamilySearch Family Tree (Free) - This is a collaborative "our tree" rather than "my" tree, with no GEDCOM upload.  I can sync person profiles in my RootsMagic or Legacy Family Tree program with FamilySearch Family Tree profiles, adding or editing names, dates, places, relationships, sources and notes.  Profiles in the Family Tree show Record Matches, photographs and stories in addition to relationships, sources and notes.  There is a free mobile app that syncs with the Family Tree.

4) ($$) - I use my MyHeritage tree (an isolated "my tree," with GEDCOM upload, which I cannot update for some reason) as cousin bait.  MyHeritage provides Record Matches for persons in my tree, with 95% to 98% accuracy.  Other MyHeritage trees occasionally provide research leads.  There is a free mobile app that syncs with my MyHeritage tree.

5)  WikiTree (Free) - This is a collaborative "our tree" rather than "my tree."  I have added about 5,700 profiles to WikiTree of my ancestral families via GEDCOM upload.  This provides both cousin bait for other researchers and occasional research leads.

6) ($$) - I have added thousands of profiles to Geni (a collaborative "our tree" with over 80 million profiles in a World Family Tree, without GEDCOM upload).  I mainly use it to find relationships to famous persons, although information in occasionally provides research leads.  

7)  Family Tree Maker ($$) - this is a genealogy management program that syncs with an Ancestry Member Tree.  I don't use it as my primary database because of the GEDCOM flaws and non-standard source templates.  I do use it to quickly start a database for a client because I can attach records from Ancestry using the Record Hints provided within Family Tree Maker.  

8) ($$) - I use my FindMyPast tree (an isolated "my tree" with GEDCOM upload) as cousin bait.  FindMyPast has started providing Record Hints for persons in the tree but they are not completely populated yet.

9)  Legacy Family Tree ($$) - a desktop genealogy management program, with GEDCOM upload, that produces better reports and charts than the other desktop programs.  There is a fee-based mobile app that syncs with the desktop program.

10)  RootsWeb WorldConnect (Free) - I have not added any profiles to a WorldConnect isolated "my tree" database with over 700 million profiles (it has a GEDCOM upload).  I use it for research leads. especially for new persons in my research.

That's not all of the family tree programs and websites that I use for my own genealogy research, but they are the ones I use more often.

What family tree software programs or online family trees do you use, and why do you use them relative to other options?

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

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