Even if you don't have time for research or reading Email lists, you may still be able to reap some information about your ancestors. Many genealogists (even amateurs) would be happy to share their information with you, but they have to be able to find you. Listing your ancestors in a large worldwide internet database may enable relatives that you don't even know about to contact you and give you additional information about your common ancestors and relatives.
Reaping genealogy info - easy publishing
a quick guide
If you know your ancestors at least 3 or 4 generations back, and if you have entered them into family tree software, then it may be worthwhile for you to publish your information on the internet. Doing so will take just a little time and effort on your part. It is as easy as this.
Export your data to a GEDCOM file. See your family tree software help to learn how to do this.
Upload your GEDCOM file to World Connect.
Link to other databases that contain your individuals
Sharing your information with others by E-mail, mailing lists, and message boards remains a popular option for those who have the time for it. No matter how you choose to share your information, hopefully you will be rewarded by receiving information from others, or perhaps your reward will be in knowing that you have helped someone else with their search.
E-mail fishing -- posting
Posting is a way to share information with many people at once using only the web or E-mail. Post information about some of your genealogy puzzles. Perhaps someone has some missing pieces for your puzzle, and maybe you have the pieces that they need. To learn more about posting, see the Rootsweb
message boards and
Fill in the blanks
Find your ancestors or relatives on the net. If the data is incomplete, provide the author with missing info, and ask them to include it in their info. Many authors will include brief stories in their comments.
Need an E-mail account?
If you don't already have E-mail, you can obtain a free E-mail account from
You can send and receive E-mail right from a web page. There are many other free services that you can find by entering this search phrase into your favorite search engine;
Web page addresses in E-mail
Want to send a web page address to someone? Highlight the address in your browser's address bar, copy it, and paste it into your E-mail message. The recipient should be able to click the address to see the page.
Want to send an E-mail to several people? You can put many addresses in the TO box separated by commas or semicolons (see help for your E-mail). Besides the fact that you may exceed the allowable limit on the length of your TO list, if your message falls into the hands (computer) of a spammer, then everyone in the TO list will be receiving more
spam. Also for this reason, it is not a good idea to forward a message you received that has a long list of E-mail addresses. If you want to forward the message, delete the addresses first. So, how do you E-mail a lot of people at once?
A mailing list allows you to create a list of people that you want to send mail to. You can save the list and use it every time you want to send another E-mail to this group of people. Your E-mail provider may have a limit on the number of recipients. This is to limit spam. Just create more than one list. If your provider has a daily limit on outgoing E-mail, just send to another list the next day.
Why mailing lists may not work
A few E-mail providers will not deliver E-mail addressed to a list, because many spam E-mailers use mailing lists. In that case you will have to add addresses to your TO box so that spammers can see the address and send more spam. If your E-mail provider is one that blocks all mail to mailing lists, then you may have trouble receiving mail from a list that you tried to subscribe to. Contact your provider.
Caution: some free E-mail services send you ads in exchange for giving you free E-mail.
If you find your ancestors and relatives listed in the
Social Security death index, or
GEDCOM lists at Rootsweb, you can add more info and comments via Post-em notes. When adding notes to a GEDCOM file, the author of the file would probably appreciate receiving an E-mail from you also.
Family Tree Software
If you have your own computer, or have regular access to a computer, you can buy or download software that will help you keep track of your ancestors and relatives. The process is a bit different depending on your software. However, the effort of typing the info in is rewarded because you can then see the data in many different ways, and you can share it with others -- even
publish your info on the internet. Most software can calculate the relationship between any two people that you have entered.
Obtaining the software
Any store that sells computer software probably has a selection of family tree software. You can also download software from the internet. Some shareware and demoware is available -- you can try it for free, but some features are disabled until you pay for it. For more info see
Cyndi's List, or search for the following phrase at your favorite search page;
Publishing your genealogy information
All decent Family Tree software can export a GEDCOM file -- a standard file format that can be read by any other Family Tree software. See Help in your software to find out how to do this. Once you have a GEDCOM file saved on your computer, you can upload it to
for all to see. There is no charge to upload your information. Updating the info is simple, you just export a GEDCOM file again, and upload the new file.
Linking common individuals
Wouldn't it be nice if you could find everything that everybody knows about your ancestors? You could assemble all the pieces of the puzzle to complete the picture. Someone else may have already published their data which may include more descendants or ancestors of someone also in your data. You may not want to add a lot of ancestors or siblings of someone who married into your line, but you can provide searchers with a link to the additional information. Just include the address in your notes. Also you can add a link to your data as a post-em note in the other person's database, or ask the database owner to include the link to your data. If everybody does this, then searchers will be able to quickly complete the puzzle.
How to link (for those who don't know what I am talking about): Just copy the address from the address bar in your browser window. Slide the cursor over the address while holding the left mouse button. Right click, select copy, move to where you want the address pasted, right click, and select paste.
World Connect will show only the surname of living individuals, or you can choose to show no living individuals at all. This happens automatically for any person who does not have a death date or who was born after a certain year that you can specify. Identity thieves will not find what they are looking for in World Connect.
Publishing a web page - hints and links
The main thing is to publish your genealogy data somewhere in some form, and you have already done that if you have been following the steps listed. Telling you how to publish a web page is beyond the scope of this simple article, but here are some hints.
There are several places that offer free web hosting for genealogy pages including;
Genealogy.com. For other free web pages, search for the following phrase on your favorite search page;
"free web pages"
Most free web page services include instructions about creating web pages. If you do not want to learn to use an HTML editor, there are other options;
Good luck with your search, sharing, and publishing.
Genealogy search tips