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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

MyHeritage: a new adventure with a new to me family tree

Back in May at the NGS Conference I found myself waiting for Dear Myrtle at the MyHeritage booth.  While I was there I spent my time talking to the great guys manning it.  Honestly, they are really nice people and we were having a great time.  Well, anyway, one thing lead to another and after I mentioned that I was a writer and blogger I found myself being set-up with an account.

Not exactly what I had planned.  I mean how many family tree accounts can one person have right?  However, the demo and the way they answered my questions kind of hooked me. Well, I will admit, I was intrigued by what they could offer me that was different from the other sites out there.  A lot of the same record sties, just searched in a different way.

I do have an Ancestry tree and the beginnings of a Family Search tree.  I am also lazy about my own family research.  Seriously.  Over the last year I have been so focused on lectures, teaching, and writing that my poor shrub has started to gather dust and be decorated by spiders. 

It took a lot for me to say that I would give this a try and have them help me set-up my account.  Now, this is where I need to admit something to you.  I have a free premium plus subscription to try MyHeritage and blog about my experiences.  You all should know that I will be honest with you about those and I did warn them that I could be a bit opinioned. 

Now they knew I would not be able to really delve into the site until August.  The summer is always crazy for me with kids home, vacations, outings, and parental visits to name a few, but, true to my word I sat down last week and played with the site for a few hours.  Oh my, it’s addictive.  Just what I didn’t need!

To put it through its paces I decided to start from scratch.  Well, start with what I have in my head only.  It would be super easy to transfer information over from another site or my computer database but I wanted to try it like a “real” person.  You know, someone who is just starting out and might only have what is in their head, what their parents told them, and a shoe box of pictures or documents.

It was actually very easy to get started.  However, I didn’t fill in all the miscellaneous information the site asked for.  Like what were my parents hobbies, interests, likes, and dislikes.  That may have to wait for the Christmas visit where I will interrogate them one on one.  I can hear them groaning now.

In this first session I managed to enter me, my husband, our kids, our parents, their siblings, and our grandparents.  I figured that was a good first week since I am trying to get as much as I can remember down about them, with pictures if possible, before I start uploading documents later.  What I couldn’t believe was the record hits that happened very quickly.  Even for my husband!

I plan to do 2-4 hours a week on this site for the next couple of months, giving you updates and progress reports as I go.  Also reviews of how I like the functionality of the site and if I run into anything I really don’t like.  After I get the tree up and running I am interested how connecting with others and gathering documents from the site will work.  Plus I just downloaded the app, let's see if I hate it or love it next time!

On that note, I hope you will stick around and see what happens.  It should be fun!

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