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Basic, basic digital family tree question

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  • Basic, basic digital family tree question

    I've just started on the whole family tree thing in the last few months. It's overwhelming how many Facebook pages and websites are available. I've joined many of them.

    So, my basic question is, where does your main family tree exist? Is it on this site? MyHeritage? Ancestry? A program on your computer?

    My followup question is, if you have trees across multiple sites, how do you keep them in sync?

    I started on MyHeritage, and I made a bad link to a great-grandmother, and it screwed up that tree. I removed the bad data, and by then had joined Ancestry, and now my main tree is there. I'd like to sync the data I have on Ancestry to MyHeritage. What is the best practice to do that?

  • #2
    Originally posted by verena View Post
    I've just started on the whole family tree thing in the last few months. It's overwhelming how many Facebook pages and websites are available. I've joined many of them.

    So, my basic question is, where does your main family tree exist? Is it on this site? MyHeritage? Ancestry? A program on your computer?

    My followup question is, if you have trees across multiple sites, how do you keep them in sync?

    I started on MyHeritage, and I made a bad link to a great-grandmother, and it screwed up that tree. I removed the bad data, and by then had joined Ancestry, and now my main tree is there. I'd like to sync the data I have on Ancestry to MyHeritage. What is the best practice to do that?
    Mine is on 2 websites - WikiTree and Ancestry (Ancestry totally hidden) and I also use a software programme that I purchased called Legacy the basic edition is https://legacyfamilytree.com/ . After using the free basic edition I paid and upgraded. This programme can convert into a Gedcom file, also you can add names without actually linking them. You really need to play with the programme to get the best out of it.

    Whatever I put on Ancestry I also add to my Legacy programme. I never worry too much about wiki though now and again I will update it purely for the sake of doing it.

    Back to Legacy - I use it for preparing books for family members - there are lots of programmes and you can also design your image of a tree.

    In final reply, my main family exists within my software programme, though in case it crashes - I do a back up onto a portable hard drive as I've 000s of names on it. Not just my own family, my spouse his side of the family for our son. Then in-laws and their families.

    To sync the data - possibly a gedcom file is the best option but that would mean putting it all into a software programme. There are benefits to re-writing as you'll be amazed at the silly little mistakes you may have made when you first start out.

    I've been doing this now for about 8 years.

    Hope that helps.

    P.S. Maybe someone will come along and provide better advice on how to sync the data from Ancestry to MyHeritage.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by verena View Post
      I've just started on the whole family tree thing in the last few months. It's overwhelming how many Facebook pages and websites are available. I've joined many of them.

      So, my basic question is, where does your main family tree exist? Is it on this site? MyHeritage? Ancestry? A program on your computer?

      My followup question is, if you have trees across multiple sites, how do you keep them in sync?
      My working tree is on Ancestry which is synced to Family Tree Maker (which I use for more advanced tools that Ancestry's tree doesn't offer). I then use FTM to export a basic pedigree to upload to other sites. I update that pedigree periodically.

      I started on MyHeritage, and I made a bad link to a great-grandmother, and it screwed up that tree. I removed the bad data, and by then had joined Ancestry, and now my main tree is there. I'd like to sync the data I have on Ancestry to MyHeritage. What is the best practice to do that?
      I don't think that's possible - not a true sync. Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic are the only ones that will sync with Ancestry, and I believe MyHeritage have their own software that syncs with their site (Family Tree Builder, I think it's called? And I think MyHeritage also now own Legacy). There may be other software that will also sync with MyHeritage, but I do not believe there's any one software that will sync with both Ancestry and MyHeritage. You would have to have two software - one for Ancestry, one for MyHeritage, and then use the software's merge option to update your tree from one software to the other, then sync it to the relevant site.

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      • #4
        IMHO, it is best to have your main tree on your own computer, in the genealogy software program of your choice. If you have your main tree on your computer, then whenever you update it, you can have the software create a new .ged file (GEDCOM) to upload to any of the sites (Ancestry, MyHeritage, FTDNA, etc.). I believe all will accept a .ged file, but someone will correct me if that's not the case. Beware of limits for how many people you can have in your tree, on some of the sites; some may charge a fee for going over a limit (such as MyHeritage), and sometimes very large trees may not upload to some sites.

        Most sites have a way to create a tree from scratch, while in your account. That is tedious, and duplicates work. Not all will allow you to download your own tree. Right now FTDNA does not have a way to download your tree (although I've heard that they are planning to have that feature), and I don't believe MyHeritage does, either.

        In the case of limits for size/people, you can create different versions of your tree in your own software, and produce tailored .ged files to upload to different sites.

        23andMe currently does not have any tree function, but they used to a few years ago. I'm not familiar how trees work with other sites, such as Geneanet.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by KATM View Post
          IMHO, it is best to have your main tree on your own computer, in the genealogy software program of your choice. If you have your main tree on your computer, then whenever you update it, you can have the software create a new .ged file (GEDCOM) to upload to any of the sites (Ancestry, MyHeritage, FTDNA, etc.). I believe all will accept a .ged file, but someone will correct me if that's not the case.
          That's true but you can't update an existing tree at most sites if you're manually uploading a gedcom. Without a sync, to update, you have to delete the existing tree and upload a new gedcom, which is problematic if your tree is private - everyone you gave permission to access will lose that access. You also have to remember to re-link DNA kits. I did this once at MyHeritage and vowed never to do so again, because when I deleted the old tree, my uploaded DNA kits lost any indication of who was who! I had to try to figure it out based on the ethnicity reports. Then I had difficulty re-linking my grandfather kit to who he was in my tree because he is now deceased - apparently MyHeritage don't let you link a DNA kit to someone who has a death event in your tree. So I had to delete his death info, re-attach his DNA kit, and then re-add his death info. It was so annoying and took me a while to figure out why it wouldn't link, I swore it off ever again - my tree at MyHeritage will just forever remain un-updated from now on. Oh well!

          Comment


          • #6
            Good points, Germanica. I had not thought it through. I have only updated a tree at MyHeritage with minor changes, not re-uploading a GEDCOM, and didn't know about all those headaches. Thanks for the warning!

            You are, of course, right about re-linking DNA, which I think applies here at FTDNA with the trees. I suspect the permission problem you mention is at Ancestry, but again I don't have the experience, as I don't have a private tree there.

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