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Websites and other online tools, with their collaborative and dynamic nature, make the perfect mediums for sharing your family history. Putting your family tree on the web allows other relatives to view your information and add their own contributions. It is also a great way to exchange family photos, recipes and stories.
These websites and software options include the tools you need to put your family tree online, along with photos, sources and pedigree charts. Some offer additional features such as chat, message boards, and password protection. Many are free, although some do require a one-time charge for software, or ongoing payment for hosting, additional storage space, or upgraded features.01of 07
Ancestry Member Trees
Free, but no records access without subscription
While access to most records at Ancestry.com requires a subscription, Ancestry Member Trees is a free service-and one of the largest and fastest growing collections of family trees on the Web. Trees can be made public or kept private from other Ancestry subscribers (there is an extra privacy check box available to keep your tree out of search results as well), and you can also give family members free access to your trees without the need for an Ancestry subscription. While you don't need a subscription to create a tree, upload photos, etc., you will need one if you want to search, use, and attach records from Ancestry.com to your online trees.
If you like to keep things pretty simple, then RootsWeb WorldConnect is a wonderful (and free) option. Just upload your GEDCOM and your family tree will be available online for anyone searching the WorldConnect database. There is no privacy option for your family tree, but you can use controls to easily protect the privacy of living people. One caveat: WorldConnect sites often don't rank very well in Google search results unless you add a lot of keyword-rich text so if discoverability is a priority for you, keep this in mind.
TNG - The Next Generation
$32.99 for the software
If you want complete control over the look and feel of your online family tree and the ability to keep your tree private and only invite the people you want, consider hosting your own website for your family tree. Once you've created your website, consider enhancing it with TNG (The Next Generation), one of the best self-publishing options available for genealogists. Just import a GEDCOM file and TNG gives you the tools to publish it online, complete with photos, sources and even tagged Google Maps. For Master Genealogist users, check out Second Site ($34.95), a great tool for getting information out of your TMG database and onto your website.04of 07
This free, public service genealogy Wiki allows you to create a profile to tell others about your research interests, to receive and respond to emails from other users without publishing your email address, to create online family trees and personal research pages, and to collaborate with other users. The service is completely free, thanks to the Foundation for Online Genealogy, Inc. and the Allen County Public Library, and very easy to use. But if you're looking for a private family Web site option, WeRelate isn't the place for you. This is a collaborative Web site, which means others will be able to add to and edit your work.05of 07
Free for basic version
This social networking site's primary focus is connecting family, allowing you to easily create a family tree and invite other family members to join you. Each individual in the tree has a profile; family members can work together to build profiles for common ancestors. Other features include a Family Calendar, an editable Family Timeline and a Family News feature which highlights new additions and upcoming events from sites within a user's Family Group. All of the basic functions are completely free, although they do offer a pro version with extra tools.06of 07
Tribal Pages provides 10 MB of free Web space just for family history sites. Your genealogy data is stored securely, and you can set an optional password for viewing your site. Each free family history site allows you to upload a GEDCOM file and photos and comes with ancestor and descendant charts, ahnentafel reports, an events page, photo album and a relationship tool. You can include your family names in their database so your website can be found by other researchers, or keep it private.07of 07
This free, collaborative family tree website works like a wiki in that others can edit and/or add to your work if you so choose. You cannot easily make an entire tree private, but there are several levels of privacy that can be set individually for each person in your family tree and you can also limit access to a "trusted list."