How to Maintain My Family Tree On Both Ancestry and Familysearch?

+5 votes
Hey there everyone, hope everyone is having a good morning, day, afternoon, or night.

I've decided to add my Ancestry tree over on Familysearch. I know I can just import a GEDCOM file. From what I've gathered it's only text based and doesn't include photos or anything like that but it retains sources. So if I import a GEDCOM file to Familysearch and have the sources added, these soruces would be Ancestry links right? My goal here is to try to keep my Ancestry and Familysearch trees as isolated as possible but still have the same information. By isolated I mean having my Familysearch tree use only Familysearch sources and the Ancestry tree using Ancestry sources. However I'll make an exception for a source that's not on one but the other such as Familysearch having a record that Ancestry does not. The reason I'm wanting to do this is to be able to use Familysearch and have the same information in case I no longer have access to my Ancestry account for financial reasons or if one day Ancestry ceases to exist. I've thought about just manually adding everyone and everything to my new Familysearch tree using only that site.
in The Tree House by Thomas Byerly G2G1 (1.8k points)
You may want to keep in mind that is like Wikitree in the sense that there are not individual trees (like in, but just one single shared tree - so anyone else at can modify (and potentially mess up) your tree there.
Got it thanks!

5 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer
Many ancestors of my family and my husband's family are on FS. I know that FS tries to create a shared family tree however there are few protections that are effective in eliminating in duplicates.

I really like the records that are available on FS and that I can use them as sources here on WT without the complications of editing Ancestry or other paid sites sources so that they work from WT.

I have several trees on Ancestry and decided to recreate all the ancestors on WT so that the information was available to family members without them needing to have a paid membership to another site.

As others have said FS has many duplicates so be careful and pay attention to what others may be adding to your ancestors on FS.
by M Ross G2G6 Pilot (210k points)
selected by Carol Baldwin
FS also gives a warning when there are duplicates that need to be merged (in the information on the right-hand side of the page).  I'm not sure if it can detect all possible duplicates, but it does help.
I have added a number of my ancestors on Ancestry to  Wikitree in order for family to access without cost. I find FS to be useful as described by M Ross. The problem is that I have also found FS to have several conflated families, which has been very frustrating and time-consuming to parse out.

As T Stanton and M Ross have cautioned, we must be very careful and pay attention to what others are adding to FS.
As an example, yesterday because of a WT project I am working on I was looking for sources on FS to support some profiles I was adding on WT.

Imagine this; there were 7 duplicated people entered on FS for the family I was working on. Some of the problems were related to this conversation on G2G.

Someone had added second names to some of the family members. None of the census, marriage or death records had a second name for any of the family members.

After far too much time was spent trying to sort out why, the answer turned out to be that someone had attached records from a family who lived 40 years later about 1000 km away.

So, another thing to be aware of, just because there was a Barber family that lived in southern Ontario in the 1850's doesn't mean that they are the same Barber family that lived in Worcester, Massachusetts in the late 1800s.

It also doesn't mean that the Ontario family travelled to Massachusetts every 18 months or so for the birth of their 7 children.
The inclusion of second names from the Massachusetts family to the Ontario family with no second names created the problem.
M, you are voicing my issues and concerns with FS and, importantly, people who do not take the time to be careful in their searching and documentation!
Several months ago, after having been on FS for a short time, I logged on to find that someone had created duplicates of me and my siblings, and marked us all as deceased!  It was a hard problem to fix, because (as I recall) FS won't allow merges of living people.  That same idiot has added some other stupid stuff to my family profiles, and not responded to my message, and as far as I know he's not even a relative!

So as I mentioned earlier, yes, there is a certain amount of that kind of intrusion that goes on at FS.  On the other hand, the size of FS dwarfs WT, and if you want to get the correct word out about your ancestors, there is some benefit in doing it there where more people might see it.  One thing I've begun doing is posting little messages in the "Life Sketch" box at the top of the profiles, where everyone can see them, such as "If no one objects, I'm going to remove half the erroneous children on this profile."

Since this isn't the FamilySearch Users' Support Group, I won't comment further about FS.
Carol, thanks for the star, and as you will well know, the lesson learned from these issues is always check the sources given on both FS and WT. Just because there is a source doesn't mean it is the correct one for the profiled person.

Julie, that's a great idea for providing information about why you have changed or will be changing information. I have often put a detailed explanation for changes, in the 'why did you change this' box. Putting it in the Life Sketches section might be noticed more easily.
+5 votes
Thomas, that seems like a tremendous amount of work attempting to separate sources. If you are only using primary source documents (rather than various user submitted information and indexes found both at Ancestry and FamilySearch which are error prone) there should not be huge differences between Ancestry and Family Search primary sources (much of it overlaps). Would not a better solution be to compare your information to that in WikiTree and adding to WT that which may not yet be found here? And correcting your present information when better data is found in WikiTree? Then just keep your Ancestry account for research purposes as long as you find it worth the expense; and continue using FamilySearch as a research tool. As someone who for a time tried to maintain information more than one place, my personal observation is that it is too much work often done twice over.
by T Stanton G2G6 Pilot (211k points)
I thought about just importing my tree to here on Wikitree, continue using Ancestry for maintaining my tree and research then just compare and update both trees since Wikitree is aimed at collaboration so if I or someone else has incorrect information we can fix it.
+5 votes
I agree with An. If you are worried about losing information then just keep a GEDCOM. Just get a new version every month or so.

P. S. I am doing a survey
by Anonymous Anonymous G2G6 Mach 6 (62.7k points)
+6 votes
I imported my GEDCOM to Wikitree and found it very helpful in getting started here. If you do a comparison search, you can find who in your records already has a profile on wikitree. Then you can compare your sources to the ones already here and add new ones. I have an ancestry account and I do use their hints and sources so it is worth it, but wikitree is my primary place. You can download a GEDCOM from wikitree too.
by Nancy Wilson G2G6 Mach 5 (51.8k points)
Yeah I see someone already has my great grandfather added on here. Would it be find to continue using my main tree and research that I have on Ancestry then just import a GEDCOM here and continue to update both trees to compare to each other since Wikitree is a collaborated site? Since my tree could have incorrect information and someone on here could correct me.
You could do that. But on Wikitree, you have to review each profile and add sources, so if you have a large tree, you might want to break it up but I am not sure how to do that.
Ah I get it ok. I'll probably just do it that way. I only have 90 people in my tree at the moment. That's probably considered small lol. Thanks so much for the response and help.
+5 votes
For what it's worth, Thomas, here is my experience.  I should say, to begin, that my purpose in joining both WT and FS was to share my research with all my relatives and others who might be interested but do not want to pay for Ancestry.

I have a fairly large tree on Ancestry (10,000+ profiles) that I consider well-sourced.  When I joined WikiTree two and a half years ago, I added my ancestors profiles one at a time until I linked into the main tree on (nearly) all my branches.  For the most part, things went well but I ran into a couple of major conflicts with existing PMs.  I have not added all my Ancestry sources to WT, but I have begun listing my Ancestry tree in the See also sections.

About six months ago, I decided to also try and add my ancestors to FamilySearch.  I'm sorry to say that I found things there rather more screwed up.  I don't really blame FS, because it is so much larger, and older, but I will say you might find more cleanup needed, and probably experience more people editing your ancestor profiles, often with wrong information.

I do know people who love FS, and if I spent more time there (it is one more thing to get used to) I could probably get things cleaned up better.  You do not have to add your sources all at once.  FS, like Ancestry, may give you hints which will make the process easier.

On FS, you have the option of clicking on the "Following" star on any profile, which will give you a way of monitoring what happens to the profiles you care about.

On WT, you should check your watchlist daily, and a new option is that on any profile, you can click the Changes tab, then choose to review changes to all ancestors, descendants, or connections.
by Julie Kelts G2G6 Pilot (451k points)

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