RootsWeb WorldConnect Project

Searchable Databases:

Publishing your family tree online can mean simply uploading your GEDCOM file to a searchable online database. The one I use and highly recommend is the RootsWeb WorldConnect project. You can create the GEDCOM file with your genealogy software program, sign up for the space at World Connect and upload the file. You can even style the database results so the page will more closely match another web site you may have created on your family. If you have a static website where you have presented additional information on your families, you can link to that site from your WorldConnect database pages.

I have uploaded four separate databases, one for each of our maternal and paternal lines, to the WorldConnect Project. Each includes a link to that portion of my site that relates to the particular family line.

Each of the databases has been styled using css - cascading style sheet - to reflect my main Family Genealogy Site. Whenever the information in my database changes, I just upload a new GEDCOM and replace my old one. The information is then formatted and presented for anyone to find with little work on my part.

What is a GEDCOM file?

GEDCOM is an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunications. It is a file format developed by the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). It provides a flexible and uniform format for exchanging computerized genealogical data, and allows you to share files with other researchers who may not use the same genealogy program (Family Tree Maker, PAF, etc.) that you do.

Creating a GEDCOM file

You will need to consult your genealogy program's Help file or documentation for directions on creating this file. All major family tree software supports the creation of GEDCOM files. Creating a GEDCOM file does not overwrite your existing data or change your existing file in any way. An entirely new file is generated by a process known as "exporting".  Remember where you save your GEDCOM file so when you try to upload it to the WorldConnect  web site, you don't forget where the file is located.

Instructions for Exporting GEDCOM files for various genealogy program.

Submitting Your Family Tree

You can submit your family tree to the WorldConnect Project via the Internet. Submitting your family tree is a five step process.

Step One: Create a GEDCOM file from your family tree. Follow the instructions for your particular genealogy software. The file created will end with the .ged extension. I name mine with the same name as the database i.e. geary.ged

Step Two: Once you have created your GEDCOM file, you will need to select a user code and password.

Each family tree you submit will need a unique user code. User codes are 3-16 characters (letters, numbers, hyphen, or underscore characters only), and cannot contain any spaces. It will be visible, as it becomes part of the address for your family tree. Your password will remain private. If someone else is using the code you select, you will see a notation "Password is incorrect for this user code." Simply enter a new user code should that happen. The user code I use for each of the lines contains the family name + family. EXAMPLE: gearyfamily or littlefamily

Click the link to Submit your tree where you will see the form to request your GEDCOM account. View Screenshot

Step Three:   Choose standard or advanced setup. If this is the first family tree you have submitted to the WorldConnect Project, we strongly recommend you use the standard option. You can use the advanced setup/edit form to at any time to modify your options.

Step Four:  The next screen will have your user code at the top. You will add your full name and your e-mail address. You will not need to indicate standard or advanced setup here, as this is a continuance of the previous screen. View Screenshot

The "Oops" button is for those who arrived at this page in error, or found they were not ready to submit their files yet. Clicking on the "Setup" button will take you to the setup form you chose.

Step Five:  Complete the standard setup or advanced setup forms.

Standard Setup Form Options

Your User Code will appear at the top of the form.

Section One: Owner Information - these three fields will be filled in with the information you submitted. View Screenshot

Section Two: Display Options View Screenshot

Title is the only required field. It will appear on every page within your family tree. The header and footer areas appear in smaller print.

If you want the WorldConnect Project to change your surnames to all uppercase (CAPITAL) letters, select "yes" on that option.  "No" indicates that you want the surnames to remain in the format you entered them in your program: all uppercase, mixed case, or even all lowercase letters.

Section Three: GEDCOM download options View Screenshot

YOU determine if others can download your file. If you leave the setting at ‘no,’ other researchers will not be able to download any part of your file; ‘yes’ will allow them to download a maximum of six generations from any individual in your family tree. Only you, the submitter, can download the entire file. NOTE: I have chosen NOT to allow download of my database. I will gladly share BUT I want the choice of whom I share it with and whether they get the entire file or not.

Section Four: Upload Options View Screenshot

The last section of this form identifies where your file is located on your computer, and defines your display preferences.

Click on the ‘browse’ button and navigate to the GEDCOM file on your computer. If you are uploading from a disk or CD, be sure it is inserted in your computer. You will NOT be able to use multiple disks for the same family tree. If you are not uploading a new or revised file, the location should be left blank.

The remaining options determine how you want the WorldConnect Project to display individuals, especially those still living. View Screenshot

You can choose to clean or remove the records of living individuals from display. (The records will still be in your file. Only what is displayed on the Internet is altered.) Living in this case is defined as anyone in your family tree born (or christened) in 1930 or later that does not have a death or burial year included in the proper field of your GEDCOM, unless you change the default settings (default year currently is 1930).The year 1930 was used as the default setting because the 1930 U.S. census has been released as public information. You can change the default to any year prior to 1930 if you wish. NOTE: Since folks are living longer, I chose to use 1920 as my default.

When there is no birth or christening date, the WorldConnect program attempts to approximate the year of birth from other information in the GEDCOM file.

Clean means the entries for living individuals will be displayed in WorldConnect but the given names will be replaced with the word ‘living.’ The advanced user setup/edit form gives you a multitude of ways to protect the privacy of the living in your file. Included are the choices to treat tags as notes or to remove specific tags. Listing of common tags.

Remove means your family tree will not display entries for ANY living individuals. You will still need to determine how you want notes, source information, and tags to be shown for those who are not living.

You have additional options to protect the privacy of the living, including removing notes or source information from display. If you wish, you can add a message that will be attached to each of the living individuals in your file.

The last section of the form shows the various Submit buttons and they are self explanatory.

Submit buttons on WorldConnect Standard Setup Form.

Once you click the Upload/Update button you will receive a confirmation page when your upload completes. Large GEDCOM files can take quite a while to upload over slow connections.

Advanced Setup Form Options

Your User Code will appear at the top of the form.

Section One: Owner Information is exactly the same as the Standard Setup Form with the addition of a field to allow you to be notified when someone adds a Post-em to an individual’s record (4). View Screenshot

Section Two: Display Options – in additional to those options available under Standard Setup, you have several more to choose from. View Screenshot

You can choose to have your surnames displayed in bold type (6) or changed to all uppercase (CAPITAL) letters (7). If you select ‘No’ the surnames will remain in the format you entered them in your program: all uppercase, mixed case, or even all lowercase letters. View Screenshot

Your family tree will be seen in an assortment of reports and charts. You can choose to have the Pedigree displayed as Table or Text. If you select Table you will see a four generations with dates and place. The text display is a simpler display but you have more choices. View Screenshot

The maximum number of generations shown on a report is determined by the depth (number of generations) (9) you choose, and by the number of generations appearing in your family tree. You also determine which pedigree format will be initially seen (when applicable). There will be a link on the report to the alternate pedigree format.

You can also add a link to your Home Page URL (13) and Home Page Title (14) where you can link back to your static site if you choose.  View Screenshot

The last two options in this section pertain to your GEDCOM file. If you want to include HTML coding in your notes or source materials, choose ‘yes’ to allowing HTML in your GEDCOM (17). If the words in your notes run together, choose "yes" to adjust CONC tag output (CONC is a term that means "continue with the previous text, and do not leave spaces") (18).

Section Three: GEDCOM download options View Screenshot

In addition to specifying whether someone can download your GEDCOM file you can indicate the download depth. You also have the option to include a note that will appear when your file is downloaded. EXAMPLE:  you may wish to state that the original information you have contributed to the family tree is to be used for private research only, and/or you may wish to include your name and contact information.

Section Four: Upload Options View Screenshot

In addition to the options you can select in the Standard Setup, there are several more in the Advanced Setup screen. They are only available to you if you select Clean or Remove (23).

Once you have uploaded your initial WorldConnect database, you can sign on at any time to edit or replace it. You can even upload additional databases if you so choose. Mine are divided into four separate ones – my husband’s maternal and paternal lines and my maternal and paternal lines.

Accessing WorldConnect for Editing

There are two ways of accessing your WorldConnect databases. What you see will depend on the method you choose.

METHOD 1 - You can sign in to RootsWeb from the main page and access all of your accounts not just those for WorldConnect.  RootsWeb member accounts are a new free service from RootsWeb that will help you coordinate and maintain your member information. Click Sign in. View Screenshot

If you already have a RootsWeb Member Account, enter your username and password. If you need to create a new account, click ‘register.’ The credentials for this page are NOT the same ones as you would use signing in to your account for FreePages or any of the other RootsWeb hosting accounts. View Screenshot

Click the Sign In button, then My Accounts from the upper right corner. You can view a screenshot of what the My Accounts Page will look like. Yours may be slightly different depending on which services you have signed up with.

If you have already setup your accounts, you will see your WorldConnect Databases listed. If you need to add any accounts that are not shown, you can easily add them. You WILL NEED the email addresses you have used. View Screenshot

Choose the one you would like to work with and click Edit. The next window is the Tree Administration screen. View Screenshot

From this screen you can add a new tree or any trees that may be missing. Next click the tree you would like to work with.

The Manage Trees screen displays the selected database Tree Information and Tree Settings. Tree Settings is the one you will work with. View Screenshot

Method Two: Sign in to the User Setup/Edit page at WorldConnect and enter the User Code and Password for the database you wish to work with. View Screenshot

Choose the Standard or Advanced button. The screens you see will be those shown in the Standard and Advanced Setup Tutorials.

Now that you know how to access the account we can add some more advanced features.

Adding some style to your Family Tree

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