Monday, January 17, 2011

Project Complete: Family Tree Collaboration Website

I've spent some time over the past couple of weeks putting together a family tree and installing a website to help us collaborate on it. I joined and found a third cousin or something (Cindia Carlson) who had a pretty extensive tree. She gave me her tree and then I added the recent births to it. Her original tree had 1,764, but most of the people in it were from her mother's side (not Carlsons) that traced their lineage back to John Adams and beyond to the 1300s. I whittled it back down to 331 by taking out anyone that wasn't a blood relative or spouse of a blood relative. Here is the tree on Ancestry.comCarlson Family . You have to sign up for a free account to see it. Unfortunately, you need to pay them to actually contribute, which is why I don't want to use them in the long term.

I set up a website at for my family to collaborate. I designed the theme myself -- kind of reminiscent of, and lots better than any of the default themes. I did go ahead and buy desktop software as well to keep track of the family tree. It has the capability of printing nice family trees / pedigree charts, etc. I can do that upon request.

So yeah, bottom line: I've nearly gone cross-eyed weeding through all this information, and I'm happy to say it's now in a pretty manageable state. Now if I can only get my family to contribute ...

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Project: Family Tree Collaboration Website

The Carlsons had a family reunion of sorts this past Christmas. My siblings and an entire set of cousins were represented. There were 12 kids under the age of 5. Naturally, this got me thinking about our family history. Apparently I wasn't alone. My brother Matt, who just had twins, called this morning to talk about putting together a family tree website.

I started a trial account at a few days ago and searched everything I could. I didn't really find anything I didn't already know from their records, but I did find someone else with a family tree on there that included mine. Apparently this person is a descendent of my grandfather's little brother. I contacted her, but I'm still waiting to hear back.

A few years back, I installed some pretty basic web-based family tree software and invited my family to enter details there. Some of them did, and I'm proud to say we have a decent collection of information to get us started. That software was pretty limited and very non-visual (no trees!). Tonight I did some more searching and found a much more slick piece of software, bought it, and installed it. I don't care for the look right now, but it has a pretty robust templating system I'll be taking advantage of soon.

So there you have it. Now I just need to get everyone to contribute!