Saturday, April 27, 2013

Free Universal Family Trees with Authority Control

Back in October I reported on Family Tree -- a new venture by FamilySearch
to create a universal family tree with ONE single record for each individual rather than the multitude records with conflicting information which we are accustomed to finding on the Internet. At that time this forward looking tool was only available to members of the LDS Church. [Dr D is not a LDS member but he was given a password and allowed to attend two early training sessions while he was on a research trip to Salt Lake City.] It is now available to everyone. It is the policy of FamilySearch, to make genealogical resources available to everyone free of charge. If you haven't taken a look at Family Tree, now would be a good time to explore it.

This morning I was pointed to another free resource that shares many of the same goals of Family Tree. I was referred to this site by KinCityKity [aka: Kitty Smith] who has the unenviable task of managing the Smith surname DNA project at FTDNA -- of which my nephew, Trevis Smith, is a participant. 

Free Wiki Family Tree

To understand this project one must think Wikipedia. To further this image it is named WikiTree.

WikiTree Pledge

Our Pledge

As the creators and hosts of the WikiTree website, we pledge that our mission is the same as that of the community: to create a single worldwide family tree that will make genealogy free and accessible for everyone.
Free is an essential part of our shared mission. We will never charge for access to the worldwide family tree. And we will never knowingly and willingly sell or transfer the worldwide family tree to any individual or organization that intends to charge for access to it. 


Our mission is to grow a single worldwide family tree that will make genealogy free and accessible for everyone.


WikiTree is designed to balance privacy and collaboration so that everyone can share the same worldwide family tree.
We privately collaborate with our close family members on profiles of modern people. As we go back in time, the trust circles for ancestor profiles grow wider and wider. Collaboration on deep ancestors is between distant cousins who are serious about genealogy.
Because all the profiles are connected on the same system the process is creating a single family tree that will eventually connect us all and thereby make it free and easy for anyone to discover their roots.
 About WikiTree well known genealogy blogger Randy Seaver says,
"If you've been looking for a FREE family tree system that encourages collaboration, then I suggest that you try WikiTree. My opinion is that it's the easiest to use collaborative family tree currently available."

Of course there is no such thing as a "free lunch" or a free genealogy site. FamilySearch is subsidized by the bountiful resources of the LDS Church. Without that kind of deep pockets backing, WikiTree relies on relevant ads that border the content. While these can be somewhat annoying, would you rather be paying for access? That is the tradeoff. Remember "Free TV" is paid for by those ads we love to hate.

Both Family Tree and WikiTree are well worth exploring. If you have had experience with either, please make a comment below.

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