Topics

Online trees #general


Max Heffler
 

I have had my trees online for about 13 years with no negative consequences. Quite the opposite. It has allowed me to meet in-person with cousins I hadn’t even known about. Collaborating on geni, Ancestry & MyHeritage since 2008, becoming a geni curator, my many volunteer projects I have done and am doing for JewishGen, as well as DNA testing at 23andMe, FTDNA and Ancestry and managing 35+ others’ DNA profiles, have provided me a rich family I would not have otherwise known. Attending the annual IAJGS conference is a family reunion for me.

Max Heffler


--

Web sites I manage - Personal home page, Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, Woodside Civic Club, Skala, Ukraine KehilalLink, Joniskelis, Lithuania KehilaLink, and pet volunteer project - Yizkor book project: www.texsys.com/websites.html


Sarah L Meyer
 

I have also had my tree online for about 13 years,  I have a tree on Ancestry and MyHeritage as well as my own site https://www.sarahsgenies.com.   I did change hosts about two years ago for my site, and also went to TNG rather than having lots of small files that I had to upload.  I am happy with my Ancestry tree and with my own.  I discovered that I really needed to make my MyHeritage tree private due to privacy issues.  MyHeritage does a good job with privacy until you invite someone to your site.  At that point they can see lots of details on living people - if the details are there.  My original Gedcom came from software that did not automatically suppress details on living people, so instead of making others site members I send them to the sarahsgenies site.   I have met cousins - and gotten a tremendous amount of information because I had an online tree that was searchable by google.  On my husband's side, his third cousin in Denmark, sent us his whole family there - and we have visited on Skype because of that online tree.
--
Sarah L Meyer
Georgetown TX
ANK(I)ER, BIGOS, KARMELEK, PERLSTADT, STOKFISZ, SZPIL(T)BAUM, Poland
BIRGARDOVSKY, EDELBERG, HITE (CHAIT), PERCHIK Russia (southern Ukraine) and some Latvia or Lithuania
https://www.sarahsgenies.com


dszeidman@...
 

I, too, have had trees online at Ancestry and My Heritage for many years and have had no problems. Yesterday, however, my problems began when I uploaded my tree to Geni.com. Within minutes, I noticed that someone I don't know, who is not a relative, was claiming that all my relatives were his relatives. It reached a point at which he was seeking to merge my family with his bogus family. I decided to close my account but couldn't fully do so because Geni required that I pass my tree along to someone else, in my case, a distant relative who has a tree on Geni. So now, I've closed my account and two people are managing it - one is a complete stranger and the other is a distant relative. 

Dale ZEIDMAN
New York, NY
BUKANTZ (Lithuania), JABLOW (Belarus), MAGEN (Ukraine), ZEIDMAN (Ukraine)


Marcel Apsel
 

I was long thinking to put my family trees on Geni and I speak about 8.000 names, but I won’t do it; I did extensive research on Geni and some far distant relation to whom I had once send a tree in gedcom put it on Geni without my permission; ok with recent generations he paid more attention to the privacy, but when I see what happened to that tree, I became horrified.  The tree is a shulent, kishke and kigel mixed together, where my father becomes my great-uncle, a wife is born 25 years later than the date when her husband passed away, parts of the tree are mixed with others, wrong writing of names, death dates are put it as birth dates, information added by one person is contradictory with information put in by others etc.   The principle to share family on a public tree is in principle a good idea, but the results are less, at least with my tree.  I feel a pity for all the geni administrators who have to clean out mistakes and non realistic input.  Conclusion: I keep my tree with me and family who wants to get a tree, I will share with them with a  PDF format.

 

Marcel Apsel

Antwerpen, Belgium


Sheryl Prenzlau
 

I have found that putting it on ancestry is much better because it remains yours and no one can change it. In geni it’s a public mishmash as you have found, and anyone can add to it or remove things and change it up
Sheryl 


Max Heffler
 

Ah, that is my problem with Ancestry and MyHeritage – “billions and billions” of siloed trees with imperfections and the benefit with a One World Tree like geni, a single tree of humanity with curators to continue to make it progressively more-correct - much like open-source collaboration makes source code less buggy and more secure…

 

From: main@... [mailto:main@...] On Behalf Of Sheryl Prenzlau via groups.jewishgen.org
Sent: Friday, August 7, 2020 3:16 AM
To: main@...
Subject: Re: [JewishGen.org] Online trees #general

 

I have found that putting it on ancestry is much better because it remains yours and no one can change it. In geni it’s a public mishmash as you have found, and anyone can add to it or remove things and change it up

Sheryl 

_._,_._,_


--

Web sites I manage - Personal home page, Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, Woodside Civic Club, Skala, Ukraine KehilalLink, Joniskelis, Lithuania KehilaLink, and pet volunteer project - Yizkor book project: www.texsys.com/websites.html


JoAnne Goldberg
 

Geni is currently a bit of a mess. Though I like the concept, the
execution has been less than optimal. Privacy is an issue, with, for
example, the information of minor children (whose parents don't want
them on Geni) readily available to all.  My experience with the curators
is that some are terrific and others more on the hamfisted side,
depending on their ideology.

I have a subset of my tree on Ancestry, and though I have my issues with
that platform, at least I can control what's on the tree and what others
can see. And I'm not siloed, as Ancestry shows me other trees that
include my ancestors -- or people who look like them -- often with new
info. I can look at the evidence and decide whether I want to add the
new info/new people to my tree.

It's still early days in the online tree business, and I expect the
landscape is going to look very different in another ten years; maybe
something like a Geni/Ancestry hybrid will emerge.
--
JoAnne Goldberg - Menlo Park, California; GEDmatch M131535
BLOCH, SEGAL, FRIDMAN, KAMINSKY, PLOTNIK/KIN -- LIthuania
GOLDSCHMIDT, HAMMERSCHLAG,HEILBRUNN, REIS(S), EDELMUTH, ROTHSCHILD, SPEI(Y)ER -- Hesse, Germany
COHEN, KAMP, HARFF, FLECK, FRÖHLICH, HAUSMANN,  DANIEL  -- Rhineland, Germany

 


JPmiaou@...
 

Both individual tree sites like Ancestry and MyHeritage and collaborative sites like Geni, WikiTree, and FamilySearch have their advantages and disadvantages, but it is my strong belief that the only way to maintain proper privacy for the living is to not put any identifying details about them on _either_ type of site. If you don't want people to find something, don't put it online. All genealogy sites have privacy settings, and I do use those, but what I "hide" behind them are placeholders: usually just a name, sometimes a birth year or decade (just so stuff will sort correctly). And if a living relative is unmarried or otherwise not a "connecting piece", I don't even make a placeholder for him or her. I only keep track of those people in my stricly-offline tree.

Regarding the messes that people can make out of family tree information: these happen on both types of platform, and in some ways, the individual tree messes are worse, because the sites encourage those mistakes to propagate, and then it becomes impossible to fix. For example, there's someone on Ancestry who made my stepmother-in-law into my father-in-law's great-grand-aunt, and now there are at least half a dozen trees on Ancestry that have this extra daughter attached to parents who lived a century earlier than the correct family. I have sent messages to several of the users involved, but have had no response.

The advantage of a collaborative tree is that if you encounter a mess, you can fix it. Whether your fix will "stick" depends on the specific users involved; sometimes, people blindly and persistently copy whatever they have from some source (be that another website or an old genealogy book), especially if there's an easy automated way to do it, and it can take some extended back-and-forth to convince them of their error. On an individual-trees site, you can simply choose to ignore the system's perpetual prompts about the incorrect trees. Annoyance either way, but I feel the collaborative approach is more fruitful in the end.

Julia
./\ /\
.>*.*<


Max Heffler
 

Minor children are not readily available to all on geni. Only close family can see the information.

 

From: main@... [mailto:main@...] On Behalf Of JoAnne Goldberg via groups.jewishgen.org
Sent: Friday, August 7, 2020 12:14 PM
To: main@...
Subject: Re: [JewishGen.org] Online trees #general

 

Geni is currently a bit of a mess. Though I like the concept, the
execution has been less than optimal. Privacy is an issue, with, for
example, the information of minor children (whose parents don't want
them on Geni) readily available to all.  My experience with the curators
is that some are terrific and others more on the hamfisted side,
depending on their ideology.


--

Web sites I manage - Personal home page, Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, Woodside Civic Club, Skala, Ukraine KehilalLink, Joniskelis, Lithuania KehilaLink, and pet volunteer project - Yizkor book project: www.texsys.com/websites.html


Alan Ehrlich
 

On Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 04:16 PM, Marcel Apsel wrote:
  I feel a pity for all the geni administrators who have to clean out mistakes and non realistic input. 
Except, from my experience, they don’t (clean out mistakes) even after several messages set months apart.

Very frustrated about that platform.

Alan Ehrlich
Switzerland


Alan Ehrlich
 

Sorry, however that’s not my experience with geni. (i.e., ”like open source code progressively more correct”... not). In my opinion, a more accurate simile might be: ’like a camel is a horse put together by a committee... And there aren’t sources’.

Alan Ehrlich
Switzerland


Max Heffler
 

Geni most certainly has a Sources tab for each profile and one random one I pulled up has links to 1920 and 1930 censuses. There is also a Media tab for each profile, Discussion, Revisions, etc…

 

From: main@... [mailto:main@...] On Behalf Of Alan Ehrlich via groups.jewishgen.org
Sent: Friday, August 7, 2020 5:41 PM
To: main@...
Subject: Re: [JewishGen.org] Online trees #general

 

Sorry, however that’s not my experience with geni. (i.e., ”like open source code progressively more correct”... not). In my opinion, a more accurate simile might be: ’like a camel is a horse put together by a committee... And there aren’t sources’.

Alan Ehrlich
Switzerland


--

Web sites I manage - Personal home page, Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, Woodside Civic Club, Skala, Ukraine KehilalLink, Joniskelis, Lithuania KehilaLink, and pet volunteer project - Yizkor book project: www.texsys.com/websites.html


hccolby@...
 

I have had my trees on FamilySearch, wikitree, my heritage and probably others. No issues found family, found documents. But recently FamilySearch has recruited "volunteers" who now add whatever they want to my tree. Some of their information is correct, but some is not. They add the information without approval, and sometimes with very poor research. I was furious. I spent at least an hour removing their finds, including relatives they gave me that were not mine. I am now thinking of removing everything from FamilySearch.


Alan Ehrlich
 

On Sat, Aug 8, 2020 at 08:32 AM, Max Heffler wrote:
Geni most certainly has a Sources tab for each profile and one random one I pulled up has links to 1920 and 1930 censuses. There is also a Media tab for each profile, Discussion, Revisions, etc…
Notwithstanding, nothing but an infinitesimal, insignificant,  number of the profiles there provide sources, "etc."... which indeed was one of the points of origin for the present discussion as well as others which recently appeared here.


Max Heffler
 

And how is the “infinitesimal, insignificant,  number of the profiles there provide sources” different from any of the sites, especially those with “billions and billions” of conflicting trees?

 

From: main@... [mailto:main@...] On Behalf Of Alan Ehrlich via groups.jewishgen.org
Sent: Sunday, August 9, 2020 8:07 AM
To: main@...
Subject: Re: [JewishGen.org] Online trees #general

 

On Sat, Aug 8, 2020 at 08:32 AM, Max Heffler wrote:

Geni most certainly has a Sources tab for each profile and one random one I pulled up has links to 1920 and 1930 censuses. There is also a Media tab for each profile, Discussion, Revisions, etc…

Notwithstanding, nothing but an infinitesimal, insignificant,  number of the profiles there provide sources, "etc."... which indeed was one of the points of origin for the present discussion as well as others which recently appeared here.


--

Web sites I manage - Personal home page, Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, Woodside Civic Club, Skala, Ukraine KehilalLink, Joniskelis, Lithuania KehilaLink, and pet volunteer project - Yizkor book project: www.texsys.com/websites.html


JPmiaou@...
 

Max Heffler wrote:
Geni most certainly has a Sources tab for each profile
...but adding citations to it is well-nigh impossible, at least in the non-Flash interface. For links, it auto-generates an image which cannot be edited, which means that all FS citations have a thumbnail of an error message. And there are three or four layers of "just attach the dratted thing already!" involved in getting even that malformed citation onto a profile. It's no wonder nobody bothers.

Granted, other tree sites all have their own problems, sources-wise. On Ancestry, it's easy enough to attach Ancestry's sources (if you've paid them enough money recently), but good luck with outside sources -- you have to fill out a form that consists almost entirely of totally-inapplicable fields. (Author? It's a vital register, it has no author. Publisher? It's a vital register, it has never been published. Publication date? Grrr, what part of _not published_ is so hard to comprehend...?) And then it eats all the whitespace in the transcription. Oh, and if you need to attach the same source to another profile, you have to start over at the very beginning.

I've never managed to attach a source on MyHeritage. If I allow the tree-propagation process to add a cousin's mistakes, er, I mean entries, then the system can auto-generate a citation of the cousin's tree; I've figured out how to edit that citation, but I have yet to find a means of adding any others. (No, I haven't looked all that hard; the site has too many paywalls for me to invest too much time in it.)

WikiTree tries to emphasize sourcing, but the interface is pretty miserable; you basically have to write code, and it's not possible to link between the entry fields and the citations.

FS's sourcing can be a bit schizophrenic due to its misguided emphasis on indexed data, but overall, I find it easiest to use. I especially like the ability to write up a citation just once and then attach it to everyone mentioned, which is quite handy for things like funeral notices.

hccolby wrote:
But recently FamilySearch has recruited "volunteers" who now add whatever they want to my tree.
Huh? I wonder what has been mangled into this misconception. FamilySearch falls in the communal tree category: there is no "my tree" and "your tree" on the site, and everyone who adds data to the tree is a volunteer, including you and me. Yes, users make mistakes, especially when different people have the same name -- but nobody recruited those users, for any purpose; they're just people working on genealogy, exactly like you and me.

Julia
./\ /\
.>*.*<


Max Heffler
 

I used to replace my trees on Ancestry and MyHeritage each January 1 but after attaching all of the record matches and DNA connections they quickly became impossible to keep fresh. So I just keep my local database and geni up-to-date. Simplifies things tremendously.

 

From: main@... [mailto:main@...] On Behalf Of JPmiaou via groups.jewishgen.org
Sent: Sunday, August 9, 2020 1:44 PM
To: main@...
Subject: Re: [JewishGen.org] Online trees #general

 

Max Heffler wrote:

Geni most certainly has a Sources tab for each profile

...but adding citations to it is well-nigh impossible, at least in the non-Flash interface. For links, it auto-generates an image which cannot be edited, which means that all FS citations have a thumbnail of an error message. And there are three or four layers of "just attach the dratted thing already!" involved in getting even that malformed citation onto a profile. It's no wonder nobody bothers.



--

Web sites I manage - Personal home page, Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, Woodside Civic Club, Skala, Ukraine KehilalLink, Joniskelis, Lithuania KehilaLink, and pet volunteer project - Yizkor book project: www.texsys.com/websites.html


Lee Jaffe
 

I appreciate the discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of different family trees services.  I helps put my puzzling experience in perspective.  I started out with a tree on MyHeritage, eventually migrated to Ancestry and, on the advice of several people. recently uploaded a .ged file to Geni.  The result has been disappointing, to say the least.  I have found some features in Geni to be laudable – better consistency checking, for instance – but the intrusion of the curators has been a nightmare.  One of the reasons I was exploring Geni in the first place is research into the parentage of my 3x ggm.  While related trees in Ancestry identified two different possible sets of parents, the record on Geni showed only one option, with notes, discussion, and links to supporting documents.  I wrote to the person who created the record asking for help clarifying the supporting documents and he suggested I start a discussion with the record.  I did, explaining the two possible options, asking whether anyone had any sources supporting either version.  Several people weighed in and, though no one made any attempt to actually answer my question, one took it upon himself to merge what he considered duplicate records.  I'm not sure which records were merged – maybe the purported 4x ggf with his brother? –  but he was told to undo that by another correspondent.  When the dust cleared, my 3x ggm was now the daughter of yet a third set of parents, again without any supporting documentation.  When I asked what happened, I was told that I was wrong, that she had always been linked to this set of parents.  (I have a screenshot of the earlier version but you can't post images to a Geni discussion.). 

You can catch part of the thread here:https://www.geni.com/people/Slawa-Ludwinowska/6000000089675728890

I understand the theoretical advantage of one unified family tree over the messy confusion one can find in sites like Ancestry and MyHeritage.  But the reality is that genealogy is messy and there are some questions we can't answer definitively . While having some people record different stories in their individual trees looks chaotic, its better  – more honest, a better reflection of the situation – than a single version dictated by some bureaucrat.  I'd rather be aware of the confusion or controversy than have someone clean things up and make them neat (but also, as in this case, probably wrong).

Lee Jaffe


Max Heffler
 

I think to some extent this is a “religious” issue in that those that believe in private trees and those that believe in a single One World Tree are rooted in their choices. I know I am. Much as in politics, or even religions, there is an element of faith that makes some of unwilling to sway from our own beliefs…


--

Web sites I manage - Personal home page, Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, Woodside Civic Club, Skala, Ukraine KehilalLink, Joniskelis, Lithuania KehilaLink, and pet volunteer project - Yizkor book project: www.texsys.com/websites.html


Eva Lawrence
 

One thing that has just become clear to me is that a lot of the
difficulties of JewishGen users with Geni may be due to a language
problem. Geni was historically run to a great extent by German
volunteers, though more recently it has become much more Anglicised and
also fussier about accuracy.
As for the ideological difficulty of not controlling you own family
tree, it's one I have as well, particularly as I prefer to call my
female ancestors by the names they were born with,a feminist habit I
picked up when looking at the ones in various old French-German
records.. So I do confuse all the Geni and Ancestry people unless I'm
careful. But basically, the two aren't mutually exclusive. One can do
both if one has the software on one's own computer rather than on a site
in the cloud which one doesn't administer. and which one has to pay for
the service into the bargain.
It's only this year that I've heard about the large amount of research
being done by members of Geni and MH in little-known (by me) European
archives, and that of course might be worth aa subscription.

Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK
--
Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK.