I often see people asking in online forums which genealogy program they should use to keep their genealogy data -- Ancestry.com, Geni.com or My.Heritage.com.
The do not seem to be aware that these are not programs, but web sites where you can publish your genealogy, and the web sites themselves often do not make it clear that that is what they are.
A genealogy program is a program that runs on your computer and enables you to enter, sort and organise your family history. A web site may have a program working in the background that does such things, but it is running on someone else's computer, not yours, and you have less control over it.
There are many genealogy programs available and it's not my purpose to compare them and make recommendations of the comparisons here. If you want such comparisons of programs, click here.
My main point here is to point out the differences between a genealogy program that runs on your computer, and a web site on which you publish your genealogy, and what they are good for and what they are not good for.
And my first recommendatuion is that you get a genealogy program to run on your computer. Two good ones to try are Legacy Family Tree and RootsMagic.
You can download and install both of them for free, and try them both to see which one you like best. The free versions do an adequate job of keeping your family tree information. Once you've learnt how to use them and decided which you like best, you can buy a "deluxe" version, which has extra features.
If you don't like either of them, go back to the comparison page and look for another one. The point about Legacy and RootsMagic is that they have free versions, so if you try them and don't like them, you haven't lost anything.
The point about using a genealogy program is that you have your family tree on your computer, under your control. You can share your data with other family members because both these programs can import and export GEDCOM files, which allow you to transfer genealogical data to other programs (and also to upload it to online web sites). "GEDCOM" stands for GEnealogical Data COMmunication, and it produces text files with the .GED extension. If you're looking for a genealogy program, make sure that it can import and export GEDCOM files.
Once you have entered enough of your family in a genealogy program, and are reasonably sure that your information is accurate, then you can think about putting it, or some of it, on a web site like Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, Geni.com etc.
So which is the best web site to upload your family history to?
My recommendation is none of the above.
The best online web site for your family tree is FamilySearch.
And the good news is that both Legacy and RootsMagic can link to FamilySearch and upload or download data.
FamilySearch is a collaborative family tree, which is eun by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), though you don't have to be a member of the church to participate, and they won't proselytise you if you do participate.
FamilySearch family tree has many sources of information, one of which is people like me, who upload their family information. Another is information that has been extracted from records around the world. That means that you will find some information duplicated, and you can merge duplicated people if you know what you are doing. And the way to know what you are doing is to get a genealogy program and enter it on your own computer first.
For example, a couple in my family tree are Thomas Henry Sandercock and his wife Fanny Harris, who have several children. FamilySearch has information on the children extracted from the baptism register of the Church of England parish of St Neot in Cornwall. If there are seven children, the parents are repeated seven times, and you can merge them, if you are certain that they are the same people. This makes the family tree on FamilySearch more accurate and more useful to all the users. That is why it is collaborative.
I find Geni.com and MyHeritage.com much less useful. I've written about my reservations about Geni.com here, and about MyHeritage.com here, and about the perils of online family trees in general here.
So if you are starting your family tree, don't start it on an online web site, start it in a genealogy program on your own computer. Only put it on line when you are reasonably sure that it is accurate.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Monday, June 08, 2015
This resource includes the archives of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa (ACSA), also known as the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (CPSA), which includes many church registers of baptisms, marriages and burials, some original and some microfilmed copies.
Historical Papers, Wits University:
Historical Papers, Wits University:
The Historical Papers research archive, situated in the William Cullen Library, was established in 1966. We are a friendly, vastly used, valued and popular service as well as unique and accessible hub for human rights research serving civil society, scholars and researchers. Historical Papers is one of the largest and most comprehensive independent archives in Southern Africa. We house over 3300 collections of historical, political and cultural importance, encompass the mid 17th Century to the Present. Our primary aim is to serve the broader community as well as the university and to transform archives into accessible centres for research. Included are the records of many human rights NGOs, trade unions, labour federations, political parties, women's organisations, churches and church bodies, and the papers of human rights activists. We are also home to a huge volume of political trials, photographs, press clippings, oral interviews, and material collected by several research institutions and individual researchers.