Youve heard the Internet called the information superhighway. When it comes to your family history, though, is the Web a one-way street or two-way thoroughfare? If you use the Internet to search for ancestral information but not for sharing your own genealogy, youre missing an opportunity to connect and collaborate with distant cousins (both genetically and geographically) who are chasing the same family lines. One avenue for presenting your pedigree is to build your own family history Web sitewhich you can do following these basic directions.
Whats in a name? If its the domain name of your family history Web site, careful thought and a little cash.
A host is not optional: You need a place in cyberspace to store your stuff. Essentially, a hosting company rents you space on a Web server so the rest of the world can access your site. Choosing the right host for you depends on several factors: how good your technical skills are, how sophisticated you want your site to be and how much money you want to spend.
You can put as much or as little family history information as you want on your site. The key is including details that will help other researchers find you, such as stories, photos, family Bibles, records and, of course, a family tree. Most family tree software programs have the ability to create hyperlinked, Web-ready HTML files that include a family tree, Ericson says.
Want to share your family history online, but dont want to go the DIY site-building route? Try one of these options:
With services such as Geni, GeneTree, SharedTree, WebTree and Ancestry Family Tree, you simply fill in the blanks or upload your family file in GEDCOM format. Visitors to those sites can then view your tree and connect with you.
If you want your own site without the technical aspectsand you dont mind a cookie-cutter approachturn to MyFamily.com, MyHeritage or TribalPages. Typically, its free to get started; you may have to pay an annual fee as your site grows beyond the space limit.
Web-based genealogy programs such as Family Pursuit, AGES-Online and myFamilyology let you manage your research online and invite others to view and edit informationyou control how much access others get.
The journal-style format of blogs doesnt mesh well with typical family tree presentation, but a blog can be a great tool for sharing certain kinds of projects; for example, keeping a log of your research discoveries, or transcribing old documents (see an example here). You can set up a free blog through Blogger, TypePad or WordPress.