Frequently asked questions

Intro: OK, I'm here... now what?
Privacy: Is my data private? Internet concerns, and "the Google".
Photos and other media...
What's the deal with the "Place" field?

Intro: OK, I'm here... now what?

The primary focus of this site is to provide a central place for information (especially genealogy info) so that everyone could participate. In addition, it saves the current Family Tree historian from being the sole source of info, and allows everyone to contribute their own content.
The family tree currently contains all known information for, well, all known people. In order to get your feet wet, I suggest you first check out your own record. For a shortcut, hover over the "My Pages" link, and select "My Individual Record". If you think you have something to contribute, and would like the info updated, just post a new topic in the "Database" section of the forum. An administrator will respond accordingly regarding anything else that is needed. The types of facts that we would like most updated are addresses, phone numbers, and especially Pictures (see the Media FAQ, below). 
As you browse through the software, most activities should be fairly intuitive. In addition, there is a Help button in the top menu that can help you based on the specific activity you're working on. Under that same Help button, you can find links to this FAQ section, as well as the online User Guide for everything you see here. If you run into problems, or have any questions, I'll do my best help in any way I can. You can contact me directly by using the contact form link at the bottom of every page. Enjoy, and don't hesitate to contact me if you have any issues!

Privacy: Is my data private? Internet concerns, and "the Google".

OK, now that we're past the formalities, your first question might be related to how this site is protected from prying eyes (since there is some private info here). So, here's the bottom line:

1. First and foremost, the public currently cannot view any information about any living person without an approved username, authorized by myself, and I'm only giving them to family members. In regards to dead persons, only very basic information is revealed to public guests who are not logged in (such as their name, and birth and death dates). In order to view any other personal information, you need an official user account. You can test this by logging out, and browsing the site. If there is anything you are concerned about, contact me immediately.

2. This site is currently indexed by Google (and I'm working on a few other search engines), so that if persons search for family members, this site will appear in the search results. Keep in mind, that all privacy rules stated above are still in effect. Google cannot bypass this site's privacy restrictions. Again, if you find something that concerns you, contact me immediately.

3. Security: As of 2017, this site should now only be accessible via a secure browser connection (https://). In the address bar, you should now see a Padlock, which confirms that your connection to the server is completely encrypted and immune to any eavesdropping by 3rd parties. If it sounds complicated, it's because it is and it took be a while to get right. Just realize it's a good thing.

However, all of this can be customized if the family feels too much info is being revealed. Feel free to discuss any privacy concerns with the genealogy administrator.

Photos and other media...

As you may have noticed, this site has the ability to link pictures to individual GED records. Since my stash of family pictures is a bit limited, I highly encourage members to upload pictures themselves, so that there is a face to go with the name. This can be done by navigating to the individual record, and clicking the \"Media\" tab (Hint: for a shortcut to your own record, hover over the \"My Page\" button and select \"My Individual Record\"). From the Media tab, click the button to \"Add a new Media item\", and follow the steps. Just remember to:
1) Keep the \"Automatic Thumbnail\" checked, and ignore the next two lines asking for a thumbnail and new file name.
2) Choose the appropriate folder (usually \"People\"), to help me with organization.
3) Under \"Type\", choose what type of item it is you are uploading (usually \"Photo\").
4) Finally, give it a \"Title\" that will be displayed under the picture.
5) If you like, you can add a \"Note\", by expanding that section at the very bottom. Otherwise, that\'s it, and you can ignore the rest of the lines.

In addition to photos of people, you can upload photos and associate them with specific events and details. For example, to upload a picture of where you got married, first edit your \"Marriage\" fact, then upload the Media item from there. The picture will then be displayed next to that event.

This site also has a \"Gallery\" area, where you can create albums and upload a bunch of pictures at once. The Gallery is not linked to the GED records, so you can upload pretty much anything you desire, if you think the family would appreciate it. If you have any technical questions or problems with this area, just contact me.

IMPORTANT: PLEASE try and keep your file sizes reasonably small (Ideally, less than 1 MB). Most cameras today take pictures that are several megabytes in size, and could quickly fill up our server. If you need a free program that helps with resizing, try IrfanView. Thanks for your understanding.

What's the deal with the "Place" field?

A word about "Places"...

Here in the 21st century, it can be tempting to simply type a city/state in the Place field and assume the computers will figure out what location you are trying to include. Unfortunately, the Place field was never meant for that task, but had a very specific purpuse in the early days of the electronic geneology field. This site (along with basically every other geneology website or software) is trying to follow the GEDCOM standard, a data entry standard created many years ago. The original intent was for the "Place" field to be a cross-reference to a pre-defined database of places, based on a hierarchy of jurisdictional locations, starting from the top level (country) and working down to the most specific (usually the town). This allowed data to be standardized across countries and townships, etc.  

So, what does this mean when entering info? If you are going to use the "Places" field, you need to adhere to the standard. In almost all cases, this means entering it using the format "City, County, State, Country". This works in the USA, but may need to be adjusted for other countries which use provinces, etc.  Again, try and use other entries as an example, so you can see what works. If you want features like the Map to resolve to the exact location, then you also need to add the coordinates (lattitude, longitude). This will also enable the Street View feature on the Map tab.

NOTE: There is no requirement to use the Place field, as many event entries have a spot for an "Address". This can also be used, using the normal Address formatting. It's really up to the user entering the data, and what they want to have recorded. It's just I haven't figured out a way for the map to resolve the Address field, so some features won't work as neatly as the Places field.  
Experiment, and do what works best for you.