Many people ask this question, so here is a walkthrough of my process.
FTM – Family Tree Maker
2012 2014 2017
Why Family Tree Maker – 20 years ago I started with FTM v2 and as it has changed I have stepped up through all the different versions. Each time I found new functions that allowed me to clean my data time and time again. Setting myself rules about how I would add information like place names and cemetery locations has been a challenge but slowly entering data becomes second nature and so you get quicker at it. I did, in the beginning, do some gedcom imports of other people’s work but I now don’t as the clean-up is harder than the manual entry.
Some of my rules
- All people are entered as Birth Name
- Changes, AKA, married & nicknames names are listed separately.
- Adoptions as original name if known
- UNKNOWN is used instead of blanks as I find it easier to read and follow.
- Mary UNKNOWN – B: Unknown, M: Unknown, D:Unknown
- Locations are written longhand if know – Midland, Western Australia, Australia
- Abbreviations like Midland, WA, AUS don’t look right in story reports and FTM can build stories from your data.
- Lookups for places is easier – You can go to Australia then Western Australia….
- TNG (outline below) auto groups the places if you keep to a pattern.
- Pictures and Documents are saved with a Naming Pattern based on set rules.
- E.g. Group pictures are saved under the oldest person in the picture related to me
- E.g. BRADY-WilliamG1882-PT001 would be a picture of my Great Grandfather.
GEDCOM – The Export Process
All data, pictures, stories are entered in FTM ONLY. So every few weeks I do a gedcom export of all my info and then that is uploaded to the web site and imported into the web site.
Simply Hosting – Web Hosting
I registered my domain with NetRegistry in Australia but use Simply Hosting in the USA to host my site. Why? Because they host a lot of similar sites to mine and are very helpful in getting issues sorted for me, knowing what the site should and shouldn’t do. Also they are a lot cheaper.
TNG – The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding
This is the Power Engine of my info, The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding written by Darrin Lythgoe in the USA.
I have, over the 15 years, gone through a number of packages that allowed me to load my gedcom file straight to the web.. Some harder than others but none with the added features and ongoing support that TNG offers. So I would recommend it to anyone wanting to get info online.
phpAlbum – Extra Pictures
I have hundreds of pictures and not all are related to me or even in the tree at this point. Many of the people that submit info to the site have also included wonderful pictures of their families. I use phpAlbum an add-on that is part of the options under my Simply Hosting cPanel console to give people access to them and hope to add more of them as time goes on.
WP – Word Press Blogging
I have found that no one person’s way of doing things is right but when you get a few years down the track and lots of info later, it is hard to change what you have done…I will be forever spending time cleaning up and applying my rules to the data that I have as it’s still a long way of perfect. Maybe this outline will help you in designing you approach… Good Luck and don’t let the idea of it being hard scare you away from starting or sticking with it.
As Nike say:
“Just Do It.”