Sending in your own information

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Joined: October 4th, 2009, 6:28 pm

Sending in your own information

Post by mardler »

Here's some advice if you'd like to send information from your files to help improve the site. I regret that we don't allow people to upload directly because we try to retain some consistency in the way we display data. There's a benefit for everyone in our doing that although it has a small cost in inconvenience.

Simplest way
Send in a GEDCOM file. GEDCOM files are the supposedly standard method of sharing data between family history software programs. With the flowering of our hobby these programs are becoming more and more sophisticated and it is becoming more difficult to move data between them based on standards developed some years ago. The latest common standard is 5.5. It is not perfect but even imperfect it's still better than retyping data by hand!

Here are a few pieces of advice:
- In most family history programs look for a command like File/Export and then look for the numbers "5.5" and select that option. If your program doesn’t have that option, then worry not – just use what seems like the simplest choice.
- Export only selected individuals, not the whole file. Pick the oldest Howes in the database and all their descendents.
- Export all the data you have. We're particularly interested in Name, Birth, Marriage, Death, Baptism, Burial, Occupation, Residence, Migration, and so on with dates for all the above, but almost anything will do. For one sea captain we have the names of all the ships he commanded, for example.
- If you get the choice, export the source information too, because that will help other researchers repeat/verify your work.
- Don’t bother to send pictures, video, sound files with the file – the technical term is “exclude media”. I'm not ready for those yet and if your file has several pictures and so on, it might be too big to send by email!
- If you have copies of interesting certificates (not just birth, marriage and death) by all means send those separately. The next note will have standards I'd ideally like for these.

Other methods
I've been sent data by almost every method you can imagine, including:
- handwritten trees and notes
- Excel spreadsheets
- Word documents - sometimes these are standard reports generated by family history programs
- PDF files
- links to trees already posted on the web, on sites like GenesReunited or Ancestry.

Mostly I get material by email but if you want to send material by snail mail, I can provide a UK or a US address for mailing.
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