American in Spain

April 1, 2008

Yesterday, Hubbers recommended a website called to me. It's a family tree management application. But it can be useful for so much more, because it allows quite a lot of information, such as birthdays, addresses, etc., to be entered about each person, which is only visible to the rest of the family. Remember how one of the benefits I found in Facebook was in storing your contact information in one place that is accessible by only the people you want it to be? Well, that's also a benefit of, at least for family members. There does, also, seem to be some notion of "Friends" in, but I hope they keep that aspect of the social networking to a minimum. I only heard about yesterday, but I quickly filled in my immediate family (the interface is amazingly easy), and sent them all invitations to join. Most of them have already joined. My grandmother has already filled in the birth dates and places for all of my uncles, aunts, and cousins. And my second cousin once removed, Mark, the guy that sent me all the photos in my previous genealogy post, has filled in a large portion of his branch of the tree from memory, and promises to do more when he's got the actual data in front of him.

Second Cousin, Once Removed will calculate this kind of stuff for you. I'd never be able to figure out Mark's actual relationship to me on my own. also claims to allow export to a standard genealogy data format called GEDCOM, which, in theory, means that the information could be transferred to another genealogy application should one wish to.

Best Online Profile Question EVER

Is this not the best online profile question ever?

All-in-all, I'm quite impressed with I think the benefit of being able to share information to your entire family, rather than have it in a three-ring binder on my grandmother's bookshelf, is worth any possible risk of having such information readily searchable by a third party. Their privacy policy seems pretty sound. The real benefit of this application is the collaboration aspect. The fact that my cousin Mark can fill in photos and birth places of his side of the tree, and my wife can fill in surnames of her aunts on her side, and my grandmother can enter birth and death dates of distant ancestors all to the same tree is really amazing! Every time I refreshed my view of the tree yesterday, there was more information available because a relative eight time zones away was updating the database. Very cool.

Plus, you can embed a reduced portion of the tree in your blog if you so desire.

View more of Erik's tree  |  Get your own family tree at