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May 6, 2019

4 Genealogy Qestions and Answers

Sue B. wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy with several questions:
How do you know who to include in a tree?  Should I just include blood relatives?  I currently have 2500 people in my tree and it is growing daily.  I am using mostly ancestry and and sometimes to search for information.  My tree is in ancestry because I can move anything I find there to my tree.  I am not sure if I should transfer my tree from ancestry to somewhere else in case I opt out of ancestry.  Can I transfer all pictures, ancestry records, parish records and documents if I move my tree?
These are great questions and hopefully my answers will help not only Sue but any other genealogists who are struggling or floundering slightly. So let's take them one question at a time.

Q: How do you know who to include in a tree?  Should I just include blood relatives? 

A: There is no right or wrong way to research your ancestry. Each genealogist must decide on what suits them, or how much time and energy they want to put into their genealogy. But there are some things to remember before you make your decision. For example it is often the case that when you are stuck on finding an ancestor's parents or some other information, searching another son or daughter may provide the solution to your brickwall.

Q: I am using mostly ancestry and and sometimes to search for information. 

A: This isn't a question but I'm going to respond anyway. It seems you are searching mainly in Lancashire England. I would also suggest your branch out and use Find My Past and British Newspapers sites. They have excellent UK records.

Q: I am not sure if I should transfer my tree from ancestry to somewhere else in case I opt out of ancestry. 

A: I would have a backup copy of my tree on my computer even if you never opt out of Ancestry. My suggestion would be for you to find a genealogy program you like and keep your tree there. I like Family Tree Maker but you may prefer a different program such as Legacy Family Tree, Roots Magic, etc. If you google "genealogy programs for family tree" you will see many results and can read up about each of them.

Q: Can I transfer all pictures, ancestry records, parish records and documents if I move my tree?

A: If you are moving your tree from Ancestry, the answer is "no". You will have to save (download) each document manually to your computer and save it on your hard drive. Be sure to label each file so you can easily find it again. I suggest creating a folder for each surname and putting the appropriate files in there. If you are using Family Tree Maker on your computer you can add Media Files easily to each ancestor.

Here is an example of how I create my Genealogy Folders on my computer drive:

I like to name my files as Surname_First Name_Year_Type of Record. That way the documents fall into alphabetical order and chronologically for each individual. Every genealogist has their own method that suits them.

 I've given you my suggestions. Now it's time for my readers to weigh in with theirs. I'm sure there will be many different ideas and answers and I'm looking forward to reading them.


Unknown said...

Correction: Family Tree Maker allows you to synchronise all of the data, photographs and documents from an Ancestry Tree automatically. Hints from Ancestry & Family Search can be shown in FTM, and changes made in the FTM program can be synchronised back to your Ancestry tree.

It also allows full zipped backups of your data, documents & photographs to be made, and provides a good variety of customisable reports & ancestry books including photographs to be automatically compiled.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Dear unknown - you are correct about syncing BUT my comment in my article was meant to indicate that your Ancestry finds (documents etc) are NOT saved to your hard drive. You must do that manually.

RonNasty said...

Thank you OTG for sharing your file naming structure.

I am a free-weekend user of Ancestry, so I don't have access to all the documents that are connected to my account. I've been working on downloading them via the Library Edition, but I'm left with a collection of files that I've renamed, but is still a jumbled mess. I'm going to try your method and see how it goes.

RonNasty said...

Sorry, one question about your file structure: how do you manage photographs? And photographs with multiple people?

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Ron - I still like to name the files as my documents are named. I just choose one family surname as the file name and sometimes I add something like "and more" or "etc" or "et al"

Then in the meta data info I put the full names, dates etc

Unknown said...

Hi Ron,

My point is that FTM does actually save all of the documents to your hard drive, saving you hours of effort manually saving each one.



Unknown said...

i've read somewhere (eastman's maybe) that roots magic syncs with ancestry and allows you to transfer everything, media files, etc from your ancestry tree to your roots magic tree so that you can save those files to your hard drive.

Unknown said...

Hi Unknown, I can't help with roots magic, however if you are considering software to do this, as documented above, Family Tree Maker 2017 provides a standard option to download all of the citation media (photographs, documents, etc.) from Ancestry to your hard drive. I've personally used this feature since 2017. The only issue I've ever encountered is where Ancestry users have incorrectly named the original file with characters not supported by Windows or Mac (mostly where file names are preceded with a space character), but this is easily overcome. The only thing it doesn't do is organize the files into folders as Ron has suggested, however should you do this after downloading them, it does have a good tool to find and re-structure the broken links caused by you moving the files. Rob