This is a site where people can have their family tree online, either uploading a GEDCOM file or by adding people one by one. One advantage is that it seems to give access to all the Ancestry.com trees for those who can't afford to subscribe to Ancestry.com.
There we found lots of people with Ellwoods in their tree.
That was exciting, but the excitement didn't last long.
The site is clunky and awkward to navigate, and when you look for a family (Ellwood, in our case) it shows a list of trees, and then another list, but with nothing to distinguish one from another. You can't look at the first one on the list, then go back and look at the second, and so on. No, you have to repeat the search over, and perhaps end up looking at the same tree you looked at previously, without realising it. On most of the screens there is no identifying information to show who created the tree. But it does encourage you to copy and paste people from that tree to your own, without any indication of the source. We quickly discovered that a lot of people had done just that, sometimes, apparently with entire trees -- when you are shown three trees with 10247 members, one beginsd to get just a little bit suspicious. There were lots of inaccuracies. People had joined one family to another with improbable or wrong connections, and others had copied the errors wholesale, and the site seems to encourage this.
It does warn you that it is a beta site, and so they do ask for feedback from users. Here is the feedback I sent them
The whole experience of Mundia is a bit like feeling one's way in the dark, and very frustrating.
You are directed (in the dark) to a group of objects. You can feel them, and chose one and turn on the light to look at it, but when you put it back on the shelf the light goes off again, and there is no way you can know whether you have picked up the same object, or one of the others. There is no way of comparing two objects to know which is the original or which is the copy.
The objects are "trees". You enter a person to search for, and are shown a list of "trees" with that person. About five of them have exactly 10542 people in them. So which is the original and which are the copies? There's no point in contacting the owner if they have just copied everything from somewhere else. There is no identifying information in the list to show which is which, so once you put a "tree" back on the shelf the light goes off, and you might pick up the same one five times.
The "home" page for each user is singularly uninformative. There's nothing to say which families you are interested in and how you connect to them. There isn't even a list of links to web pages where the person can give more details. The whole thing seems to be designed to encourage bad "copy and paste" genealogy.
As a bare minimum of improvements I suggest the following:
- On the user profile, allow an explanation of the main familties being researched, or that the person links to, and a space for a link to the person's web page or blog.
- When a list of "trees" is shown, provide enough identifying information so that you can know whether you have already looked at it -- even the owner's user name.
- Provide an easy way of GEDCOM import and export, with the export clearly showing which "tree" the information came from in the source tag.
Even more concerning, however, is the terms of service, which include the following:
and then this
Once you upload content to the Website, it may become accessible by all persons accessing the Website or any websites in the Ancestry.com Website Group. Other Website users may be able to copy, download, store, edit, change or delete certain content that you post. You agree that other users may access your family tree and may add to, subtract from or otherwise amend your family tree (including information and other content you include in your family tree).
We may use the personal information you provide:
- to an Affiliate or other third party in the event of any reorganization, merger, sale, joint venture, assignment, transfer or other disposition of all or any portion of our business, assets or stock (including, without limitation, in connection with any bankruptcy or similar proceedings); or
- as we believe to be appropriate: (a) under applicable law or regulations (including laws outside your country of residence);
In many such sites the commercial interests of making a profit appear to override the need to make them useful to researchers. This will tend to drive away serious genealogy researchers. I, for one, will not put any content there, nor will I invite any members of my family to join it until they have made the minimum improvements I have sugested above. But I get the impression that they won't make those improvements, and they don't care. The target market is people who think that they can find their "family tree" on line and so just about any tree will do. Quantity takes precedence over quality, because quantity makes more money.
I thought Geni.com and MyHeritage were bad, but this one takes the cake!
And other genealogical bloggers, who discovered the site earlier than I did, also seem to have doubts about it:
- Genea-Musings: Another look at Mundia.com - FAIL!
- DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog: Mundia? Oh no! Ancestry.com strikes again
One of the positive points some people mention is that on these sites you can "create your family tree for free". But a far better way to do it, and equally "free" is to download a free genealogy program like Legacy and do it on your own computer, and get it right before making your own boo-boos public and spreading them like genealogiy viruses on line.