10 Best Web Sites for Storing and Sharing Family History
June 17, 2009
Sharing your family history just got easier with these Web sites that let you create a family tree, store pictures and more.
This online family tree site (starting at $39.95 a year) is notable for the control you get over who can do what to your collaborative tree. You can set different permissions for each user, and records display a "Change Stamp" identifying who made a change and when.
This slick new site not only lets you build and share your family tree, but helps you record your life story with "guided life surveys." Multimedia bells and whistles include timelines, video and audio, and a "3-D Life Cube," plus you can import content from social networks such as Facebook. Basic membership is free, or you can add storage space for a one-time fee starting at $20 for 10GB.
No, this wildly popular social-networking site isn't just for teens with way too much time on their hands—not anymore. Genealogy applications such as FamilyBuilder and We're Related turn your Facebook page into a powerful tool for exchanging family tree information. It's an ideal place to network with like-minded genealogists (and become a fan of Family Tree Magazine).
Family Pursuit $
Create a free collaborative online family tree, or upgrade ($59.95 a year) to upload photos and documents, and manage privacy features. Research coordination tools let you create and assign tasks, log research progress and share your findings. Unique to Family Pursuit is a global database of sources contributed by all users.
Here's another site not specifically for genealogy that clever family historians are using—in this case, to post photos of ancestors, gravestones and more. See, for example, the Kansas Civil War veterans graves. The Smithsonian and Library of Congress have collections on Flickr, too. Public content is free to browse; share images with a free account or pay $24.95 a year for unlimited storage and extra features.
Combining online family trees with the DNA-testing resources of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (tests cost $149 to $299), GeneTree is cutting-edge in more ways than one.
A standout among family tree sharing sites with 45 million profiles, Geni was singled out by Time magazine as one of the 50 best Web sites in 2008 and honored on PC Magazine's list of Best Free Software. Who are we to argue? Geni is free, although a new $5 monthly Pro plan enhances relationship pathways, enables GEDCOM export of your tree and all connected trees, and offers priority tech support.
A descendant, if you will, of the old GenCircles pedigree Web site, My Heritage hosts more than 6.4 million family sites. Besides free sites, it offers Family Tree Builder software, a fun celebrity look-alike photo search, and a recently upgraded genealogy metasearch tool that looks for results in up to 1,350 sites and databases. It's all free, but if your online tree tops 500 individuals, you'll need to upgrade to a premium plan at $3.95 or $9.95 a month.
One of the first sites to make the leap from plain pedigree files to online family trees, TribalPages has grown to more than 350,000 family sites with 50 million names. When you outgrow your free site, you can pay $23.40 to $47.40 a year for more space and advanced features.
"Part encyclopedia, part social network," this free wiki is sponsored by the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy in partnership with the Allen County (Ind.) Public Library. In addition to pages for more than 2 million people and families, WeRelate searches nearly 1 million sources, including microfilms and Web sites. WeRelate is also a partner in the launch of a new collaborative site for uploading African-American research resources, AfriQuest.