vs WikiTree, or both?

+16 votes
in WikiTree Help by Rayne Tunley G2G1 (1.4k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

5 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
I use both and feel that it is the best idea. that way I have the best of both worlds and a lot less chance that my work would be lost. Don't get me wrong I do not feel that WikiTree is in any danger of going out of business soon but it is always better to not keep all of your eggs in one basket. If I had to choose only one I would have to say familysearch . org because they have a very extensive repository of sources that WikiTree does not have but since I do not have to choose only one it is to my advantage to use both
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
selected by Terry Tanner
I use Ancestry, family search and Wikitree. I check the info on Ancestry and pull it through to both of the others.
+16 votes
Hi Rayne,

Welcome to Wikitree!

I see no reason why we can't have both. I absolutely love Wikitree for its vision, it's community, it's collaborative feel, and its commitment to accuracy. I find familysearch extremely useful for sources, although it is not the only place I look.

If you need help with sourcing on here do give me a shout and I'd be happy to give you a hand.

Susie :-)
by Susie MacLeod G2G6 Pilot (219k points)
+10 votes
Both of course.  The more the merrier.  Also, it depends on your purpose in having a tree.  Most of us like to have our  own personal tree.  And Wikitree sure isn't that.  It's a whole 'nuther ball game! ONE TREE FOR THE HUMONGOUS HUMAN FAMILY!  Our own trees are just branches, leaves and twigs of the BIG ONE! LOL!  So to "own" your family tree, Family Search is a fine way to do that because 1) It's free and 2) I remains out in Cyberspace for all eternity unless you, yourself delete it.  There are other sites with free tree making capabilities.  The two I can think of on the top of my head are MyHeritage,com and Ancestry,com.  Being a diehard genealogist I love ancestry and have been a paid member since 1998 or 1999. I also own Family Tree Maker which was created by  It was recently sold to another company but FTM interfaces with so if I do research from my ancestry tree and save a record to someone's profile there, FTM and Ancestry sync so it goes right over to my software with one click of my mouse.  I can also search from my FTM on my desktop.

On the other hand, if you happen to be an adoptee trying to identify birth family, the more places you put your tree on, the better-don't put all your eggs in one basket is what Grandma used to say and I think she was right.

One nice thing about Family Search is that you can research on their site.  You can see the info in the record which is more than Ancestry allows for a free membership.  But you can't see the actual record on Family Search unless you buy a membership.

While I am on the subject, a word to the wise about MyHeritage. While their trees are adequate, their DNA match search parameters are somewhat faulty.  I was contacted by 5 people about our matches (I uploaded my DNA raw data from Ancestry to MyHeritage because I was searching for birth family).  When we all uploaded to, turned out 4 were NOT even related let alone matching DNA with me!

Once you do anything on MyHeritage, they constantly deluge you with all sorts of enticing "We found something about your family" or "You have new DNA matches!" (yeah, 2nd-5th cousins-whatta' WIDE range!).  And even if you unsubscribe they find some more "newsletters" to subscribe you to.  My impression is that MyHeritage is a cheap imitator of Ancestry and an inferior one at that.  They are all about the money, that's for sure.  I don't advise spending any at that site.

Happy Hunting!
by Saro Genova G2G4 (5k points)
I agree with almost everything except that is also one big tree and not just your own tree.
You know, you are right.  I have not used Family Search for tree making since decades ago when they had their own downloadable software for making your own tree.  After I wrote this reply, I happened to see a G2G question about how accurate is And by reading the replies, it seemed to me that indeed it is one big tree.  I didn't know that.  Don't need to roll over and die any time soon, coz I'm always learning new things!  I stand corrected.  Thanks, Dale.

Happy Hunting!

I'm going to disagree with one point also:

you can't see the actual record on Family Search unless you buy a membership.

All index records and the majority of images on FamilySearch are available at no cost. Some images require a membership but there is no charge for that. You just have to register.  

A few collections of images can only be viewed at a Family History Center or affiliate library. Still no cost but not as easy as looking at it from home.

Also, FamilySearch does have a way for people to upload individual trees which are not connected to their One Family Tree. Those records can be found by going to the website, clicking the search tab and then clicking genealogies. From there you can search within the records of the Guild of One-Name Studies, Community Trees, Oral Genealogies, Partner Trees, Pedigree Resource Files, Ancestral File, and the International Genealogical Index (IGI). Regarding that collection, FamilySearch has included the following at the top:

"Accuracy of the data in these genealogies varies from tree to tree; we encourage you to validate all data."

You are 100% right on those points Debi, I tried to read that answer and comment before my second cup. But after those trees are uploaded they can and usually are merged into existing files much like WikiTree and the end result is one big tree.
Hi Dale and Debi, we are splitting hairs here but I always prefer to be set right so I know the correct answer.  I take exception to what you stated, Dale about being free.  My reference point: I've been a user of for at least 20 years and back in the day like say early 2000's everything was free. Even got my very first tree making software, PAF, I think it was there totally free.  And it was good too. But in recent years, with the new look and updated features this is what I experienced with my free membership.  When I located a record, if I wanted to view the actual document, I received the message that I would have to buy a membership. Members of the LDS Church are provided membership of this site free of charge because genealogy is an integral part of their church doctrine and rituals.  So I asked my LDS cousin if I could use his full membership.  I still use my own free memberships (actually I have 2 of those; 1 with my adopted name and one with my birth name).  But if I want to view an actual original record I must sign in with my cousins full membership account.  So I dunno.  Doesn't really alter the fate of the world, but good to know.

Thanks also, Debi for clarifying that Family Search does have private trees.  I thought so as it did in the past,.  But I have not used their trees much if at all in recent years.  So I did not know.  In fact when Dale mentioned about the one big tree similar to Wikitree, I was surprised coz I didn't know about that!

Dale, I relate to the first cup!  I am non functioning till I finish mine!!!!  If I'm out of java, it only gets worse! LOL!

Happy Hunting!
Saro, I am not a LDS church member and my account is and has always been free, I used several times today, so I do not understand why they sent you that message. I just checked and the link I have in this reply takes you to a page that you can search from, sign in, or create a free account. most of the time I never bother to sign in, I only do that when I want to view a record image that requires that and that is not often.

Well, Dale, I'm no spring chicken and some of my brain applications do not work as well as they used to so I went to Family Search to check it out.  Oddly enough, I remembered the record I was researching when I got that message (crazy how the brain can remember some minute detail but can't remember what I ate for breakfast) so I searched the same record without signing in.  Yes, as I stated, you obtain the information but can't view the record.  This is the message I got:

Images Available Image Unavailable

This image is unavailable for online viewing at this time.

To view these images you must do one of the following:

When I logon with my cousin's LDS account, I can view the original record. 
Glad you are able to view what I can't without logging in!  No worries.  As I said, doesn't alter the fate of mankind-or genealogist of the world either! LOL!

Also Dale, the link you provided took me to:

Sedo LogoThis webpage was generated by the domain owner using Sedo Domain Parking. Disclaimer: Sedo maintains no relationship with third party advertisers. Reference to any specific service or trade mark is not controlled by Sedo nor does it constitute or imply its association, endorsement or recommendation.

That is not the that I use.  The link to it is:




Using your link and then going to the sign in page it has a link to Free Account. It is the same website. You do not need to be a LDS member to obtain a free account so I still do not see where they are trying to charge you. That is my point.
I don't dispute that there are some images that can only be seen by meeting some requirements. The only discrepancy between what you and I are saying is on the word Free. Technically an LDS member account is still free as you can't purchase it; it's a benefit of being a member of the church.

I'm curious whether you tried logging in with your account to see if your free membership would let you see it?  I've run in to that message when wanting to look at early Texas death certificates. As soon as I signed in to my free (non LDS member) account, I was able to view that image. But there are still some (NJ state census records for instance) which can't be viewed from a non-member account.

For those, a trip to a Family History Center or Family History Library Affiliate will let anyone view the image for free. My local library is an FHL affiliate library, so I can walk in there and view the images at no cost. Good thing, because I don't have a cousin who is a member of the LDS church.
My point is that your link or mine takes me to the same web site and there is no fee involved. I am using it right now and it is totally free even to a non LDS member like myself. I have never seen them ask for money in the many years I have used that site.
You are 100% correct, Dale and Debi. I am wrong, Wrong, WRONG! LOL!

My bad!

Oh, and yes, when I try to access the same record with my free account it gives me the same record.  That was what originally prompted me to ask my cousin to use his LDS account.

When I lived in Hawaii, I has two Family Search Libraries within walking distance of my house.  But here in the Philippines, the closest one is 5 hours away in Manila or 6 hours away in Lopez, Quezon.

Happy Hunting!
if you are paying for Family search then you have a bad link and it need to be reported to the church and Blockers for Spam, and HiJacking, as I am aware of the church don't charge for login, how ever you will have to go their Libraries to view some records, yes your correct this is due to the agreements with their partners.  yes I could say my bits about the tree and how they can fix it, I feel that this enogh on this comment area so people are a ware what is going on to some point.
S Sagers, I was unclear about the way I wrote what I said about paying.  I do not pay and was in error when I inferred that Family Search has paying membership.  Though I clarified that when I said "My bad" above and clarified.  Again sorry.  As it is I use my cousin's login.  He is a member of the LDS church and members have access that I do not using my non-LDS membership.  That's all.  Not a big deal.  No hackers or spamers!
+6 votes


Both WikiTree and FamilySearch have the goal of one big tree. WikiTree is also a collaborative and (very) helpful community. Although you can communicate on FamilySearch, it’s only via email and not the community you find on WikiTree. Part of that collaboration includes helping with and sharing sources. FamilySearch also provides access to a large collection of source records, as does Ancestry.

I have ancestors on WikiTree, on FamilySearch, and in a private Ancestry tree. My master tree is in a program locally on my computer. Since discovering WikiTree, this is where I share and publish ancestors. For me, the biggest difference between WikiTree and the FamilySearch FamilyTree (or an Ancestry tree, for that matter) is the ease of referencing sources from a variety of places. It can be done on FamilySearch, but is more difficult. Also on WikiTree you can write interesting biographies. Were your ancestors early settlers in an area or did they do something notable?

It sounds as if you have some experience with FamilySearch FamilyTree. I’d suggest that you try WikiTree for just a few profiles, perhaps a parent and a set of grandparents. Don’t do this from a GEDCOM, just enter those few. That will give you a feel for it.
by Kay Sands G2G6 Pilot (269k points)
+8 votes

I use both.

The main differences I can think of:

  1. Goal: The reason that FamilySearch Family Tree exists is to collect names to perform religious ordinances on. The previous system had many duplicates so a single family tree reduces duplication of work. WikiTree's reason for creating a single family tree is not religious.
  2. Because of religious reasons same-sex marriages are not able to be entered on FamilySearch at this time. They can be entered on WikiTree.
  3. Currently pages for living people can't be shared with other family members in FamilySearch, but they can in WikiTree.
  4. People cannot see a FamilySearch person without registering for a FamilySearch account. Anyone can see a public WikiTree page. WikiTree pages can also be found on Google.
  5. WikiTree has DNA features, while FS does not.
  6. There isn't a great way to resolve disputes on FS. There is a process to resolve disputes on WikiTree.
  7. There is no place to ask for help *edit: with research* on FS. You can ask for help with a profile on G2G at WikiTree.
  8. A lot of desktop genealogy software integrates with FS. There aren't any that integrate with WikiTree.
  9. FamilySearch has source hints. WikiTree doesn't.
  10. WikiTree has projects. FS doesn't.

Edit: some more:

  1. WikiTree has profile managers that have to approve merges before they happen. FS doesn't have profile managers (but they do have a watchlist). Anyone can perform a merge without asking permission.
  2. Merges can be undone at FS if there hasn't been any other edits done to the profile. Merges can't be undone on WikiTree.
by Jamie Nelson G2G6 Pilot (247k points)
edited by Jamie Nelson
This is an okay list, except that you can definitely ask for help on Family Search.  I've used their chat service many times.
Chat won't help you research.

They might help with a dispute or problems you are having with the software but every time I've contacted them they have given me an unhelpful generic answer.
WikiTree doesn’t have hints, per se, but from the profile there is a pull down menu labeled Research that prefills criteria to search a number of places, including FamilySearch
I only use Family Search chat for resolving problems with the tree--e.g., the first time I merged records, or to express my despair in having two family members merged out of existence.  If I needed help with research beyond what's available here, I would go to a Family History Center in person, which may or may not be fruitful.  Or, even better, go to a library, possibly public, depending upon the size of your town.  Or even more conveniently, use chat reference through a library.  There are many options.
Updated my answer to specify *with research* which is what my original intent was.

Maybe FS support hasn't been very helpful for me because I haven't paid my tithing in years lol.
Jamie I could add some other things you might have not notice and some of them I wished WIKI TREE WOULD IMPUT, (sorry for the Shout out), but the ones I would say people would be shocked, and notice how much easiler thing go on Family search.  Nice list.
With Disputs Family search just throws people under the bus, I have it happen a few times!

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