Why have your own genealogy database?

“I’ve heard rumors that some of us started with clay tablets, but I think that may be apocryphal.”

Myrt avatar and a laptop.

Seems many people start out with a tree on the Ancestry website, likely owing to the plethora of advertisements and the Who Do You Think You Are? and Finding Your Roots TV programs.

“Old timers” like OL’ Myrt here started with paper.

It should be noted however, that Linkpendium’s* Brian Wolf Leverich correctly reminds us that old timers started with papyrus. This creator of the old RootsWeb site continues “I’ve heard rumors that some of us started with clay tablets, but I think that may be apocryphal.”

Seriously folks, don’t rely on a website alone for keeping your compiled family history

Websites have been known to disappear. I’ve known people whose online tree was lost. 

Instead, use RootsMagic (using TreeShare) or Family Tree Maker (using sync) on your computer as your one perfect database with photos and document images such as:

  1. Those you linked to your Ancestry Member Tree AND downloaded to your hard drive.
  2. Info and media files on living individuals that you don’t want to put on your Ancestry Member Tree. 
  3. Private notes that you don’t want on your Ancestry Member Tree. 
  4. Documents you’ve found on other genealogy websites, or in brick-and-mortar archives and churches where terms of service preclude your sharing them publicly. 
  5. Having your RootsMagic or Family Tree Maker database also makes it easy to upload your 6-generation tree to other genealogy websites and DNA testing websites.

As of this writing, no other genealogy software programs have direct access to your Ancestry Member Tree at Ancestry.

NOTE: Ol’ Myrt here is careful to back up all computer data including genealogy, media files, along with the documents and PowerPoints I’ve written. I use a combination of an external hard drive AND a cloud service called BackBlaze

* YES, it could be said that the work Wolf and his wife Karen compiling links at their website Linkpendium, means Linkpendium DOES in fact own him, hence the use of the possessive ‘s’ above.

Happy family tree climbing!
Your (retired) friend in genealogy. 

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