Building A Single Family Tree

Post date: Feb 18, 2014 4:37:14 AM

My good friend Leland Meitzler just posted the following article at his Genealogy Blog.

Identity Theft issues are also addressed in the letter.

Filed in Internet Genealogical Research, Internet Tech, Online Databases on Feb.17, 2014

Last October, my good friend Jeff Bockman sent the following letter to a number of the folks in leadership positions within the genealogical community. I haven’t heard that he’s received a response from anyone, but he shared the letter with me – giving me permission to post it on this blog.

For many years now, Jeff has been looking to the future of genealogy. In fact, I’ve published two articles written by him on that topic, One in Heritage Quest Magazine, and another in The Genealogical Helper. Jeff has some good ideas – and if they could be accomplished, it would be a boon for genealogists. However, in order for his ideas to work, some giant corporations would have to agree to work together on the development of a Single Family Tree. Whether that’s possible or not, I don’t want to hazard a guess. However, we’re seeing a lot more cooperation now than in years past.

Following is Jeff’s letter:

Regarding: Building a Single Family Tree

Dear Leaders of the Genealogical Community.

Since the number of major players in the genealogical industry has definitely consolidated and many of you are already cooperating on various projects it occurred to me that this might be the right time for you to cooperate even more and take a step from providing genealogical data to providing an easy way to finding families and information and potentially provide a service to more than just the genealogical community.

As a researcher it can be tedious checking all of the numerous sites for genealogical data. It is difficult and often impossible to search the numerous online family tree sites, many of which only show information to subscribers or have portions of the data blocked out.

A single starting point would be wonderful for researchers, students, and anyone just starting to look into their family history or looking for information about a person. It would actually be beneficial for the subscription genealogy sites as well. A single publically available family tree with the basic birth, marriage, death, and parent data would make it easier for researchers to locate their family. This would reduce the effort and resources from multiple people researching and adding the data to various sites. By following the links to the supporting information at the various sites would actually help to increase the traffic to the subscription sites that hold the additional information or records about the various events, photos, stories, etc. while reducing the unnecessary searching activity on all sites. Family History has grown way beyond just adding names and dates to a pedigree chart so why not automate it for once and for all. The data in the tree is not proprietary to the site especially if submitted by a user.

A researcher should be able to build their family tree wherever they want and then be able to add it to or connect it to the public tree. They should also be able to extract a portion as well.

Almost everyone agrees with the concept of a single tree, however, they want to be “The Single Tree."

Read the rest of the article at the Genealogy Blog.