What do you use to keep track of your extended family?

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Dan Hanks

Mar 20, 2008, 12:43:24 PM3/20/08
to beyo...@googlegroups.com
I come from a rather large extended family on both my Dad's and my
Mom's side. Mom and Dad both came from large families, and I have lots
of siblings as well. There's an interesting age spread, as my oldest
1st cousin is probably in her 80s or 90s (I'm in my 30s).

At a funeral yesterday I was reminded of how poorly I know my extended
family. I'd rather not have too many more experiences of "You're
Maureen, right?", "No, I'm Lousie..."

That got me thinking about ways to help me and my kids better get to
know our extended families. I'd love to have a tool that lets me
navigate around my extended family trees, where each node in a tree
has a picture I could associate with the name. Something with the
navigational capability of the FamilySearch Labs pedigree browser /
Family Tree, but with pictures, and the ability to handle multiple
spouses (death, divorce, etc) in an intuitive way (I'd like to see a
way in which all the children from each spouse can be displayed

Geni.com appears to offer the kind of visualization I'm looking for,
but I'm wary of uploading that much info about living individuals to
an online service.

What tools / techniques do you use to keep track of your extended family?

Thanks for any tips,

-- Dan


Mar 20, 2008, 2:35:43 PM3/20/08
to BeyondGen
Wary of Geni. It seems I find that to be quite common. The irony is
that you find there are plenty of cases where the extended family
members are out there already with blogs, myspace, etc.. Geni does not
force anyone to give anything more than a email account. So even you
do not want to put your life history out on Geni I would say create an
account with the minimum information and start getting the benefits.


Mar 30, 2008, 12:30:59 PM3/30/08
to BeyondGen

On Mar 20, 10:43 am, "Dan Hanks" <danha...@gmail.com> wrote:
> What tools / techniques do you use to keep track of your extended family?

I put together a family website using Drupal/Gallery/PhpGedView. It
turned out to be more work than I anticipated, and it still isn't
fully functioning. I tried to find a good existing sites for hosting
something like this, and was very ready to pay a reasonable amount of
money on it, but couldn't find anything I felt was worth the price.

Geni has become the closest to what I am looking for, though still
lacks a few things. Once I get some time to test it out more fully, I
may decide to use it more extensively.

Many sites are really good at certain things, but lack the integration
or full package, and it's so much work to do it all yourself. I'm
hopeful this space will mature greatly over the next few years,
especially in the ability for integration between different services.
As dlongmore said, many people already have large chunks of their
online profile in one service or the other. I don't want my family
site to replace those, but bring those together in a cohesive way, yet
provide something for those who don't want to sign in to yet another


Jay Askren

Mar 30, 2008, 1:05:56 PM3/30/08
to beyo...@googlegroups.com
In my wife's family everyone has a Gmail account.  So, my wife created a family blog on blogger.  This certainly doesn't do all the things that Geni and all the others mentioned, but it is an easy no cost way to keep in touch with everyone.  All 5 of her siblings and their families and her parents post to the blog.  They've posted pictures, videos, prose and even some poetry.  It's actually been quite successful.  It's not the high tech solution that I would have opted for, but there's a lot to be said for simplicity. 



Mar 30, 2008, 4:36:15 PM3/30/08
to BeyondGen
I also come from a very large family and, along with my wife, have
spent many many years (decades actually; I'm in my 60s) documenting
our family histories using a totally source-centric approach. Between
us, we are managing nearly 2,000 source documents and data on over
4,000 ancestors, collaterals, and descendants.

My wife and I both have used raw html and standardized html templates
to very successfully maintain our family history web site
(www.hancockonline.net) since April 2003. html gives us all the power
and flexibility to manage our sources, process the jpg photos, create
hyperlinks, and do what we, as genealogists, need to do.

I have watched BeyondGen members try and recommend countless packages
and tools. Clearly, using raw html isn't for everyone, but for us it
is a very satisfactory solution and method of keeping track of our
extended family.

Dan Hancock

P.S., We don't put info on living persons on our www.hancockonline.net
site. That would be inviting identity theft. The data on living
persons is currently kept off-line. In the future we might put it
online under https with login ID and password controls.
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