With hundreds of different genealogy programs available for the modern day family historian to choose from, selecting the “right one” seemed like an insurmountable task. I toyed around with a ton of different options and quickly became frustrated because I wasn’t finding just the right one. My intention was to select an option and commit to it – move everything from my website to the new solution and keep it there, forever and ever, AMEN! – so, I had some requirements. At this point, I realized I was being a bit of a diva, but, I haven’t done 18 years of research on behalf of my family to be unhappy with how it’s immortalized. So, I made a list of my “requirements” for whatever solution I settled on.
- Like COMPLETELY FREE, FOREVER free. Not just a 14 day trial or a “free, limited account.” I wanted all access, all the time, until the end of the internet for $0 EVER free. And, not only free for me, but free for all of my family members to access whenever their hearts (or brains) desire. Putting 18 years of collaboration with my family behind a pay wall and requiring my family members to pay to our family history was not an option.
- Easy way to cite information sources. Actually, I wanted to be REQUIRED to record sources. I really wish that I would have been more attentive to the importance of citing sources throughout my 18 years of research. I wasn’t, and, at this point, it is what it is. But, going forward, I wanted to include sources for as much of my information as possible so that I (and everyone else) can refer back for discrepancies and verification.
- Can accept an unlimited number of family members. When I started looking for solutions, I had documented 7,432 family members in our family tree. Many solutions have a cap on the number of family members that can be included in a free family tree, and I, of course, was well over all of those caps.
- Can accept unlimited media uploads. I had a TON of media to upload and I wanted to be able to upload it ALL and tie it to ALL the appropriate family members. I also had two big, full boxes of old, OLD family documents that were in my possession that I wanted to digitize and get shared, too.
- Supported collaboration. While I don’t mind being a major contributor to our family tree, I wanted my family members to have the opportunity to get involved, too, if they want to. At some point, I may need / want to take an extended hiatus away from researching and I didn’t want things to stall or become inaccurate just because I wasn’t available to keep things updated.