Branching Out: Getting Connected

By Diane Haddad Premium

Web 2.0 updates are making it easier for members of subscription site to get in touch and collaborate on research. (See the story at right for news on the site’s parent company.)
  • Member Connect features in the record viewer (being implemented at press time) let you comment on records as well as see what others had to say, who saved the record to an family tree or shoebox, and who’s listed related surnames or places in his member profile. A click takes you to the person’s family tree or lets you contact him through the site.
The new commenting functionality replaces the former clumsy, hard-to-find tool for “correcting” records, which allowed suggestions only for alternate names (not places, ages or other indexed information). They also bring into closer competition with Footnote’s well-integrated commenting and annotation features.
In the family trees view, Member Connect shows you others members’ matches to your ancestors and highlights any conflicting information. Then you can link or ignore the match, or decide on a fact-by-fact basis which information to add to your tree. You also can “follow” others’ family trees for updates on their recent activity.
  • Expert Connect lets you search profiles of genealogy service providers to find people who can do anything from a simple record lookup to custom research (“experts” signing on for custom research must fulfill several qualifications). Providers bid on your project; handles the contract and gets a cut of the fee.
Name That Company

The online genealogy megabusiness formerly called The Generations Network has changed its name back to in acknowledgement of its most prominent brand. “We started with,” says CEO Tim Sullivan, “and it now feels completely natural to let our company once again share the brand with our flagship product.”

Other properties include Family Tree Maker software,,, RootsWeb, MyCanvas and several international genealogy Web sites. Here’s a timeline of’s name changes:

  • 1983: Ancestry Publishing
  • 1997:
  • 1999:
  • 2006: The Generations Network
  • 2009:

From the November 2009 Family Tree Magazine