been collecting data on your family for years, and
want to share what you've found. Or maybe you've just
started researching your family and hope to find new
cousins by putting your names on line. But where do you
Fortunately, there is a wide variety of programs and help for beginning web authors. Unfortunately, there is so much to choose from, it can be confusing. This brief guide will get you started. It is impossible for me to be familiar with all of the many programs available and I don't claim that the ones listed here are the only ones you should consider. My criterion is simply that they are user friendly for beginners and preferably (as of this writing), are freeware or shareware.
You need the same three things for a genealogy website as you do for any website:
If you're reading this, you may have already reserved your web space. If not, you can Request a FreePages account at RootsWeb. However, the following suggestions and software will work with most servers and websites.
Absolutely the easiest, hassle-free, and most effective way to put your genealogy data on line is to submit your GEDCOM to the RootsWeb WorldConnect Project. You don't have to learn HTML or File Transfer Protocols. Your data can be viewed as a variety of reports: Pedigree, Descendant, Register, etc., and is fully searchable. You can add a search box to your Freepages site so your visitors can search your database directly from there. You can choose what information you want to display using the wonderfully flexible WorldConnect filters; but you can retrieve your unfiltered GEDCOM, should your own database be lost or corrupted. You can change it as often as you like, or even remove it completely. It is easy to do, and reaches a large, and genealogy-focused audience. The only thing you need is a genealogy program that will export a GEDCOM file. It's as easy as 1-2-3.
Your WorldConnect database can be linked to your Freepages website where you can be as creative as you like in uploading additional information -- family stories, photographs, documentation, etc. Here are some examples:
Ambrose Genealogy by Pat Asher
If you like this approach, you can go directly to Getting started with HTML to learn how you can easily create your supporting pages.
If you want to create your own web pages from your database, you'll need to convert your genealogy data to HTML, so it can be read by a browser. The right software can simplify this. But you might as well hear the bad news now. Each type of conversion program has its quirks. Most write less than perfect HTML and you'll probably have to tinker a bit to make the output work on the server. Translation: you will probably have to learn some HTML.
There are several programs which will convert a GEDCOM to HTML pages that can be uploaded to your website. Their output is similar to the display at WorldConnect and is usually based on a Family Group Sheet. Most allow you to use your own page background and/or graphics. Some include pedigrees or descendent trees. They vary in their ability to handle notes and sources.
My genealogy program will create a web site
Many genealogy programs say they will create a website for you. While this may sound like the easiest way of all to put your genealogy on line, it can be the most difficult, depending on how well your program writes HTML. A genealogy program is, after all, designed to organize your data, and creating web pages is often an afterthought. Before you upload pages generated by a genealogy program, check them out on your own computer. Here are some things to look for: