The reality of today's family history research for those who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that FamilySearch.org involves partner programs with Ancestry.com, Findmypast.com, and MyHeritage.com, all of which, including FamilySearch, provide a constant stream of record hints. Many of these record hints translate directly into sources supporting events in the lives of our ancestors.
If you have a lot of ancestors and relatives in the United States going back generations, you will probably have hundreds of record hints from all four programs. Of course, this depends on whether or not you have a family tree in each of the four programs. Conceptually, having four different copies of your pedigree, i.e. family tree, in four different programs can seem to be overwhelming. The FamilySearch Family Tree creates another conceptual problem by being a shared family tree program where registered users can make changes to any of the entries. I have written about the subject many times recently and done YouTube videos for the BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel.
So there are several questions that come about because of this situation such as the following:
- Do I keep all my information in one or all of the four partner programs?
- If I choose to have four copies of my family tree, how do I keep the copies synchronized?
- If I am concerned about changes made to the FamilySearch.org Family Tree, do I maintain a separate, personal family tree on another program?
- Should I use an online program, such as Ancestry.com or one of the other partner programs or a separate desktop based program?
- How do I handle suggested record hints that are duplicates of existing record hints?
- Do I have all the record hints from all the programs to the FamilySearch.org Family Tree?
- How do I know whether or not a suggested record is actually valid?
- What if I find two record hints for the same person but they disagree?
- How do I handle an excessive number of record hints?
- What if I am getting conflicting opinions from different people concerning record hints, sources, and multiple family trees?
- Isn't adding record hints to people whose temple ordinances have already been done, really just busy work?
- How do I move sources from one of the online programs to another?
- Should I add sources from two different programs that are essentially the same source?
- If I spend my time adding record hints to existing people how will I ever have enough time to do research to add people to my family tree?
- What do I do with record hints to other user's family trees?
- How do I tell if a record hint actually refers to my ancestor?
- How many sources are enough?
- Should I subscribe to all four partner programs?
There are probably quite a few more questions similar to these that I have heard recently. You might notice that this is part one with series. What I intend to do is answer each of those questions. It might take a few blog posts to do so. So cheer up, I'll keep writing as fast as I can. If you can think of any other questions you would like to have added to the list, you can make comments to this post.