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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ancestry.com Renewal

I recently renewed my subscription to Ancestry.com.  At least for another year, I will continue to utilize this research tool.  This will be my 4th year with a active subscription.  This year will bring some changes to my approach to maintaining my family tree.

First, I have privatized almost every single one of my family tree lines that I have on Ancestry.com.  What this means to others who come upon my tree is that they will need to email me for full clarification on what I do have my tree.   I have found that many people aren't that interested in knowing the whole story or the facts behind the research that demonstrates real proof.  For those who are wanting the complete story, they can email me.   I can authorize a connection from their tree to mine.  The site will show people my email address.

Second, I am in the process of cleaning up my trees.  I do a little bit of cleanup everyday.  My goal with this clean up is to limit my tree to more direct line relatives and collateral relatives with whom I have a real connection.  My main lines that I plan to continue and not limit are Borchers, Flanagan, Gartlan, Maxwell, McLaughlin, O'Brien, Shaffrey, and Vienop on my mother's side.  On my father's side, the list is much more limited but includes Coughlin, Hickey, McGuire, and Rohman (Roman).  I can always expand my trees but must start limiting them to closer relatives.  When I trail off on a collateral line which produces some very distant relatives, I lose site of my real goal which is to discover my origins further back in time.

My third change this year comes in the form of the subscription itself.  I have nixed the world portion of the subscription.  I found that most documents outside of the U.S. have no substance to them.  A tithe applotment  reference online may say Patrick Flanagan but it does not indicate enough information for anyone to truly know which Patrick Flanagan is being referred to.  It is a bit of a shot in the dark.  I find that the only online documents that have value in the world view for my research are in England on their census and other marriage/birth records going back to 1790.  Well, I just don't have English ancestors that I know of in the timeframe except one.  Richard Flanagan who went to London from Ireland is the only person I have found in those records.  I don't have anyone else to look up there.  Too bad, as those records are amazingly complete.

A final thought on my Ancestry.com family trees is that I will need to somehow "pull them down" off the site.  While Ancestry.com will maintain my trees in their database for an infinite amount of time, I need a copy of them for myself.  I need to be able to add source documents not found on Ancestry.com and manipulate my tree as a living document.  It needs to be something that I can truly pass onto my children. 

Will Ancestry.com actually exist in 50 years?  Who knows.  In the meantime, I must preserve this information online, in my blog, on my computer, and, yes I'm going to say it, in paper form.

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