I Want My Trees To Outlive Me #general


Final Answer:
I want to wish a hearty Thank You to all who responded and provided input. With your help I have found 3 places to store my genealogy online, hopefully for a very long time, where it is searchable but not collaborative. 

1. BEIT HATFUTSOT - the Family Trees section is
just a baby Beta program right now, and so far I have not been able to view my work, but hopefully it will continue to develop and go from strength to strength. The link is


It takes a few days until you get your registration number and can view your tree. 

As of now I’m submitting but reserving judgment until I can search my work. 

2. FAMILYSEARCH.org - I know the history of what some Mormons did with Holocaust names, but I’m going with it anyway. The website is very professionally done. My trees have gone into their archival and searchable GENEALOGIES section (NOT their collaborative Family Tree.) From a computer (not your phone) go to https://www.familysearch.org/search/genealogies
scroll down past the search section to “upload your genealogy.”  It takes about 15 minutes to process. You must click on “compare” and back again before your upload will move from “processing” to “compare” to “ready.”

3. FOREVER.com- This website stores, preserves and updates documents, photos and interviews, for 100+ years. It’s amazingly easy to sort and tag the files. This Sunday 9/13 I will take advantage of their sale, and pay a one time flat fee of $200 for 25 GB of online storage. 

These will all be viewable by my family, and in addition I have hard copies of each tree and documentation that will be held by some lucky (?) relative. 😄. Perhaps one day soon I will use the supplemental services of Forever.com to pull together a book I can store at the Library of Congress. 


So I’ve created a diversified, long term plan for my trees, photos and documents. Thank you all so much for your help and input.

May we all share a happy and HEALTHY New Year.

May you all be inscribed in the Book of Life!
Reba Harris Solomon


Thank you, Julia, for being so specific with your instructions about archiving my trees at FamilySearch.org. I followed your path and successfully uploaded my gedcom file and it automatically went into their Pedigree Resource Files. It only shows my direct ancestors and eliminated all the connected cousins and sidelines. Is there a way to show my complete gedcom file?  Thank you,
Reba Harris Solomon


Thank you, Julia, for your post about archiving at FamilySearch.org. I followed your specific path and successfully uploaded my gedcom file, and my information went into their Pedigree Resource Files.  Unfortunately, the process eliminated all my side branches and only includes my direct ancestors. Am I in the wrong place?  Is there a way to archive my complete gedcom file in FamilySearch? 
Thank you,
Reba Harris Solomon

Marcel Apsel

About printing familiy trees on paper by FamilyTreeMaker.  You can make all kind of charts and including default as much as you want.  In the older versions of FTM you could create new facts and I think with a little bit of manipulating you should be able to add specific facts you create by your own on printed sheets.  I do not know if this works with the recent versions, I did not try it out, but normally it should.

In FTM you should go to the person windows, open the blue cross for facts and choose the button new and you can create a new fact where you can choose a specific name you wish.  There you can file whatever you want in the way you want.  I never tried to put pictures this way, so maybe you can try it.



Marcel Apsel

Antwerpen, Belgium


Susan, Reba's post is incorrect. The IGI and the Genealogies section of FS are two totally different things. The first is an index (not family trees); it is indeed no longer being added to, but that's neither here nor there for our purposes. The Genealogies section is archived family tree files (GEDCOMs) submitted by users of FS. You can submit your own file by going to FamilySearch - Search - Genealogies and clicking the "Submit" button near the bottom of the page.

I don't know what Genealogies does with images. As far as I know, the GEDCOM format doesn't actually include pictures, only pointers to them (which of course are useless for portability), so I think you need some other site/service to archive those.

Julia Szent-Györgyi
./\ /\


Reba, Susan, as I pointed out somewhere above, you're looking in the WRONG PLACE.

Genealogies is NOT the IGI. The International Genealogical Index is a no-longer-being-added-to _index_. It is not a family tree.

You very much _CAN_ archive family tree files on FamilySearch. Got to Search - Genealogies, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click the blue button labeled "Submit Your Tree".

Julia Szent-Györgyi
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Susan stone

On Sun, Aug 30, 2020 at 06:39 AM, rebasolomon wrote:

FamilySearch Update: I have been following up on the suggestion to put my trees in Family Search‘s special Archival area. As far as I can determine, this area is called IGI-International Genealogical Index. In the past, it accepted LDS and other family trees for archiving. It has NOT ACCEPTED NEW TREES since 2010 when the entire index was assembled and became part of Legacy’s collections. 
If I am incorrect and you know of a different FamilySearch archive still available out there, please let us all know. 
Reba Harris Solomon, New York

Reba...thank you for this info.  I was just about to see if I could put my tree on Family Search but now I know we can't.  I am going to try my old Family Tree Maker disc, like Marcel Apsel from Antwerpen said to print out an descendant report on paper.BUT...of course this does not preserve the "gallery" of docs, photos and artifacts I've posted:   My Hungarian cousin was a partisan and wrote memories of his time during the Holocaust...My great aunt's wedding invitation in Chicago..in Hungarian and English...photo of my grandmother's brothers  dated 1914 in their military uniforms for the Tsar (sent like a postcard with Yiddish on the back).  on and on..you all have this stuff.  
So many ideas in all of these posts. .  Thank you all.  I haven't been attending local geneaology meetings so this helps me feel not so alone with these issues.


48 Hour Sale at Forever.com #general

Forever.com offers a Free 2mb account that I have been playing with. They offer storage for digitized photos (.jpg .tif .gif .png +more) documents (.pdf +more) interviews and videos. It is very user friendly. I love the ease of importing/exporting, adding tags and metadata, and organizational abilities, and their mini-turorials. I was up and running with no roadblocks. They include a small photoediting program that can add text to a photo, for naming individuals.

Check out their “deals” section. I got $15 credit for signing up and am seriously looking at buying (one time fee) 25GB storage for me and my families for $200 for 100+ years!  This includes perpetual care conversIons as .jpg, .pdf et’c become obsolete. They also offer suites of additional services to aid in many types of presentations. With diversification in mind, this handles one major area of concern, my sources, photos, and history of the people and places in my Trees. 

I have not yet pulled the trigger so if anyone knows of a downside to this, please reply. 
Reba Harris Solomon

Barbara Algaze

You might consider

Beit Hatfutsot: Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv.  I am sure that they will be around for a very long time.
Barbara Algaze

James <james.castellan@...>

Please remember that computer printers produce paper documents that also are not like printed books using real ink that soak into the paper, rather they are bonded on top of the paper. These "surface bonded" print outs are not very permanent!

James Castellan
Rose Valley, PA

Susan stone

What would be the best way to preserve all of the data in print that would be efficient and clear, but not as a book? Something serviceable, but not necessarily smooth and pretty!  (This foregoing is another thing that has keep me up at night!) Any advice from you or anyone else on this question would be welcome.  

Re electronic genealogies, I believe that Family Search would be the best bet for attempting to preserve genealogies digitally because of its institutional affiliation with the Mormon church.  The Church has been, and I think is likely to continue to be a more stable entity than any online company--commercial companies come and go, but major religions tend to stick around longer.   Also, because of genealogy's central role in Mormonism the motivation for making sure the data is protected and continues to be available and accessible is greater than that of commercial enterprises.

Erika...Everything you said is what I am thinking about...a book is static.  But it's better than nothing to give to relatives.  AND..what a conundrum about printing portions for each part of my tree!  I have Ancestry.com famiy tree but I think I will add it to Family Search.  Here's something I never thought I would have to say..."I hope the Mormons are around a long, long time!".

Susan Stone
Evanston, IL

Emily Rosenberg

I would suggest for Yale Zussman and others who are sharing with cousins that you maintain a list or database of those you share with noting their relationship to you and their contact information and perhaps contact for their next generation. This gives them more ways to find each when you are no longer here running the whole project.  Depending on privacy concerns this could be included with the materials you give to each branch or could stay with your personal papers and be prominently labeled with importance of sending it out in the future.

Emily Rosenberg


WOW!  What a well thought out approach and diversified plan of action. Our thinking is along the same lines, but I am far behind you. Thank you so much for this response.

Reba Harris Solomon, New York

Dennis Aron

Here is an excerpt of an article I wrote on the subject:

Preserving family history research

Many of us, as we age, think about how all the work we have put into researching and documenting our families will have value for future generations.  One easy solution is to pass on the desktop computer software and family trees to the next generation.  You can pass on your passwords for the online genealogy web sites.  That’s fine if you have a next generation that not only cares, but is willing to put in the time and energy to understand what you’re passing on.  My kids are overwhelmed with the responsibility of parenting their kids and earning a living, especially in this time of COVID.  It’s not going to happen.  My brother’s kids will be in the same situation.  Will my grandchildren be interested?  Who knows?  So, I’m faced with no comfort that anyone will take over. 

I’m also faced with the concern that the technology currently supporting my family tree will become obsolete while no one is paying attention to it.  We are all faced with this.  I felt some urgency to resolve this issue while I could.

A major focus of my research documents the impact of the Holocaust on my family.  My family tree includes documentation of over 1,500 family Holocaust victims who are shown in the context of their families. 

The tree includes almost 500 photos of Holocaust victims and images of over 60 Theresienstadt death reports. 

I had to find a way to preserve these memories.  I considered my options:

1.     Put the contents of my tree onto a website that will keep it available and guide it through changes in technology over the generations.  A couple come to mind:

o   Beit Hatfutsot, The Museum of the Jewish People in Jerusalem has the ability to accept a gedcom file of a tree, load it onto their system and make it available online, keeping private any information on living people.  They will even permit you to send periodic updates.  I will probably end up using this option. https://dbs.bh.org.il/

o   JewishGen offers the Family Tree of the Jewish People which essentially is the same idea as Beit Hatfutsot.  I would expect someday they would merge.  I don’t know if JewishGen can take updates to submitted trees. https://www.jewishgen.org/gedcom/

o   Geni.com has the goal of its users combining to build a single world family tree, not just for Jewish families.  Thus, your tree could get combined with that of others. https://www.geni.com/

2.       Contribute PDF reports documenting my family to a museum relevant to my family.  Here again, some come to mind:

o   The Leo Baeck Institute in New York and London is devoted to the history of German-speaking Jews. Since all of my documented ancestry is German this would be a good choice.

o   The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.  Since much of my research has been on the impact of the Holocaust on my family, this would also be a good fit.

o   Yad Vashem in Jerusalem for the same reason.

o   The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC.

I’m sure there are other options, but I was satisfied with these.

I developed a report format that I believed would do the job, so option 2 was the route I would take. Now, which museum?  I wanted an institution that has the financial support and political stability to maintain its collection for many generations.

Fortunately, I have a cousin who has worked at Yad Vashem.  I put the problem to her.  Her paraphrased response:  “Of course, I have to say Yad Vashem, but if I were you I would select the Washington museum. You’re an American and it’s much closer to you than Yad Vashem. It also receives significant funding from the United States Government. Thus it is economically stable and not in the middle of perpetual threat from other countries.” 

Right now, the US government provides about 50% of the museum’s funding; the remainder primarily is from contributions.  I had my answer.  USHMM became my choice.

Digital reports of all my ancestral lines totaling thousands of pages were recently accepted into USHMM’s permanent collection.  They will not be available online, but will be available to researchers in the museum.  I am satisfied that documentation of my family history is likely to survive many generations.

But, I have not given up on family members continuing the research.  I wanted this research to be in their hands as well.  Over my years of research and networking, I have collected email addresses of many family members.  I have a mailing list for each ancestral line that has between 17 and 80 email addresses per family line.  For each ancestral line, I sent out an email to each person with a link to that family’s Family Reference report. 

I received no reply from a majority of my cousins.  Not everyone is interested in their family history.  However, I was pleased that these documents led come cousins to send me corrections and additions.  They also sent pictures.  I was especially pleased that some sent their family trees and emails of others in the family that I had not met.

The Family Reference Report

Each of these reports has the same format, adjusted as necessary to portray any unique characteristics.  Below as an example is the table of contents for my Heinemann Family ancestral line.

  • ·       The family introduction gives the size of the family, a summary of its losses in the Holocaust and acknowledges others whose research had been important sources for me.
  • ·       Notable family members are just that.  This family’s notables include a Hollywood script writer, a novelist, a leader in England’s undercover Special Operations Executive in France, a scientist/artist, the victim of an 1875 multiple slaying and a discoverer of documents and art in post-war Germany (not a Monuments Man).
  • ·       The Holocaust sections are self-evident from their titles: Victims, victim photos and documents, those whose fate in the Holocaust has not been determined.
  • ·       The Family Album is just that
  • ·       Family Locations is a Location Index for all events recorded for family members
  • ·       The Niedenstein section describes the family’s home town with a narrative on the town’s Jewish community and photos.
  • ·       The family reports are an outline register and a full family register including all notes, articles and obituaries for individuals.
  • ·       The last chapter "A Brief History of the German Country Jews" was written by a UCLA history professor (also a cousin) as an Introduction to a book recently published in Germany on some small town Jewish communities.  Since some family branches have long been in the states, today’s relatives have heard little or no information about where they came from.  This article provides them with an understanding of Germany their ancestors lived in.

These reports were prepared with out of the box features of Family Tree Maker desktop genealogy software.  However, setting my tree up to take advantage of these features was challenging to figure out.  It was worth the work; I’m very pleased with the final product.

Dennis Aron

Joan Parker

True, most laptops or desktops of today no longer have a DVD built-in slot, but many stores sell USB DVD portable attachments as well as USB external hard drives. I have both and they work very well.
Joan Parker
Past President/Archivist
JGS of Greater Miami, Inc.
1) GOLDBERG/ GOULD, GOODSTEIN/GUDSTEIN, BERGER, GERBER/CRAWFORD, JAGODA-Lipno, Plonsk, Plock, Poland-Russia; Warsaw, Poland-Russia; Galveston, TX; Bronx and Brooklyn, NY, Portland, OR, Los Angeles/Hollywood, CA.
2)  PARKER/PINKUS, WINOGRAD, (GERSHO-BEROVNA?)., R0SEN, -Brest (Litovsk), Belarus; Grodno, Russia; Bronx and Brooklyn, NY. WEISS, NEIKRUG, DEL PINO--Brooklyn, NY.  RABWIN--Hollywood, CA, Salt Lake City, UT. CLAYTON-California.
3) GELFAND, KRITZOFF, KATZ, TROCK --Berezin/Bresin, Kodima, Minsk, Belarus, Bronx, NY, Miami and Miami Beach, FL.

Joyaa Antares

The Guild of One Name Studies is a good option for some researchers.  A key feature of the Guild's work is sharing and preservation - see  https://one-name.org/guild-sharing/.  Of course, spouses surnames etc. form a part of the database.
Sincerely, Joyaa ANTARES
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Researching ZAUSMER, ZOUSMER, ZESMER, CHOUSMER, CHAUSMER, TSOUZMER etc, MARCUS, DAVIDOFF in Polangen, Kretinga, Darbenai, Libau, Riga, Memel
SCHORR, SCHERZER, JURIS and DAWID in Buckaczowce, Ottynia, Nadworna, and Kolomyya
ZUNDER in Buckaczowce and Ivano-Frankivsk
KEMPNER in Berlin, Lodz, Warszawa and London



Reba, the Genealogies upload is hidden at the bottom of the Search - Genealogies page.


Click the button labeled "Submit Tree" to get started.

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Here’s something different as a written long-term solution: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
I haven’t read it through thoroughly, but it seems that if you print out on archival paper with margins for binding, they will do the rest. It’s not searchable, for that I’m still looking for the online archive, but it is a good solid place for a written copy with documents and photos. 

Reba Harris Solomon, New York


Dear Yale-
I agree so strongly. Diversification is a MUST!

I have also sent my trees to cousins, printed out and mailed, and I maintain a list of interested parties for each branch. Updated trees were sent in .pdf but I doubt that a single one of those got printed as each is over 100 pages, including my source copies of original documents.

I will leave a printed copy of each tree with each of my children (though no one has asked 😢.)

We almost did have the asteroid this spring, but thankfully I think I still have time to find a free online archive. 

Reba Harris Solomon, New York


FamilySearch Update: I have been following up on the suggestion to put my trees in Family Search‘s special Archival area. As far as I can determine, this area is called IGI-International Genealogical Index. In the past, it accepted LDS and other family trees for archiving. It has NOT ACCEPTED NEW TREES since 2010 when the entire index was assembled and became part of Legacy’s collections. 
If I am incorrect and you know of a different FamilySearch archive still available out there, please let us all know. 
Reba Harris Solomon, New York