Frequently asked questions

How can I get help?
How do I register on this site?
Who can see my data?
Why don't I see my changes?
What are source references, and why are they so important?
How do I add a person?
How do I enter names?
How do I enter dates?
How do I enter places?
How do I enter a fact or event?
How do I add a source?
What is GEDCOM?

How can I get help?

Many options on the site have a help link beside their title or description. It looks like a question icon. Clicking on that will pop up a window with a description of the item and some directions on what you may enter.

Each page footer has contact links. Click on those to send an email explaining what assistance you need. We will try to answer as quickly as possible, but please remember that we might be in a completely different time zone to you.

How do I register on this site?

Registration on this site is only available to people who are relatives of someone in this family tree.

When you apply to register you must provide details of how you link to a person, and details of the people between them and you. We will not establish member access to the site until that is confirmed.

You should be prepared to contribute to the site, including providing personal information as well as modifications and additions to the data. The minimum requirement is to provide sufficient links to show yourself on the tree.

You must agree to protect the privacy of the data of all living persons on the site. Violations will lead to immediate termination of access privileges and could be cause for legal action.

If you are unsure whether you are a relative, contact us so we can help you identify any possible connection.

Note that you do not need to register at all if you only want to browse the site or search for information about long-deceased relatives.

Go to the “Sign in” link, either at the top right corner of the page or on the mobile device drop-down menu. From there select "Request new user account". Complete the registration form and click "Request new user account" at the bottom.

If you are unsure whether you are a relative, please contact us, so we can help you identify any possible connection.

Remember that the security of your password is vital in protecting the privacy of your own as well as all other family members' information here, so keep it safe.

Note that we cannot access your password. If you forget it, you will need to use the "Request new password" on the sign-in page.

Who can see my data?

We follow the usual practice of family history archives.

For visitors, people who are still living appear in charts and reports, but all details, including their name and date of birth, are hidden behind a “private” marker. All the information you provide about your deceased relatives is visible.

Only members can see any information about living people.

If this is insufficient, please contact us, because we can apply further restrictions, on a case-by-case basis, to the information you provide.

An example may help. One of our then unmarried relatives became pregnant in her middle teens. As was usual for that time she was sent away to distant relatives. Upon her return her parents adopted the child. The fact that her adoptive sister was really her daughter is well known, but only in some parts of the family. We have hidden the true relationships by restricting access to the relevant data to levels above site members.

If you have concerns about adding information for similar reasons, contact us, and we will help you define who can and cannot see sensitive family history.

Why don't I see my changes?

All changes, additions, or deletions to records on this site are subject to moderation.

The new data for an individual or family will not appear until approved by a moderator. Although we frequently check the site and the moderation messages, send us an email if you want us to review and approve additions or modifications more rapidly.

What are source references, and why are they so important?

Everything recorded on a family tree should include some reference about where the information came from - in other words, a source. It is frustrating when you come across something entered earlier but have no idea how the submitter came by the knowledge.

Every fact or event in a person's life in this tree should include a source reference.

The concept is very simple. If you have a piece of information about someone, you must have got that information from somewhere. That "somewhere" is the source.

Genealogy without evidence is mythology.

A source is usually, but not always, a government department or religious organisation register. Some common examples include the General Register Office at Somerset House in England, the New South Wales Registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages, or the register of Birth Deaths and Marriages maintained by the Lutheran Church in Germany.

Please note that family history websites such as and are NOT sources. All they do is aggregate historical records. If you are transcribing information from such places, make sure you obtain the underlying source of the information.

If your source is a discussion with a family member, then please record that.

These are valid sources, but the more information you can give about a source, the easier it will be in the future to look and determine the validity of the information.

Entering source references on entries is straightforward and can be included with every fact or event, or even media attachments. In many cases, you can re-use an existing source reference. If the one you need hasn't been created yet, you can easily add a new one. You can look at any of the existing source references to get an idea of how they work.

These existing sources can be accessed from the Lists > Sources menu item.

See the FAQ on adding sources.

How do I add a person?

You cannot add a person who is not directly related to someone already in the tree.

If this person is several generations away from someone in the tree you must start with the person already in the tree and add the people between them and your target person.

This is done by adding children to families, or by adding spouses to make families, then adding descendants. You should use the “add a son” or “add a daughter” links.

Ancestors can be added in the same way. In this case you would use “add a father” or “add a mother” links.

Once you have added a person it is important to add a few facts or events. As a minimum, we ask you to add the birth date and place. If these are unknown, adding an estimated birth date will suffice. Please see the FAQ on entering dates.

Add a death fact with no details, unless you have them, for people you know are dead. Marking a person as dead will allow them to be seen by other members who may be able to provide more information.

Every person and every event in that person's life should include a source reference. The concept is very simple. If you have a piece of information about someone, you must have got that information from somewhere. Please read the FAQ on how to enter a fact or event.

We assume that people who were born more than 120 years ago have died.

How do I enter names?

You should avoid entering information into the Name or Married name fields as these are usually derived from the other data fields. The help icon will explain how you might use this field. In most cases just entering the Surname and Given name fields will be sufficient.

Name prefixes are Dr, Rev, Hon, Judge, etc. Avoid punctuation.

Given names are the first and middle names. If you have a person whose preferred name is not their first given name, then you can add an asterisk after the preferred name. This will cause that name to be underlined on the display.

Surname is the family or last name. This is the maiden name of a married woman. If this is unknown, leave the surname blank and enter the Married surname instead.

Name suffixes are Jr, Sr, III, etc. Avoid punctuation.

Nickname is the name commonly used for the person if it is different from their given name. Multiple nicknames can be listed, separated by commas.

Do not use periods (.) in names. Use “St Clair” rather than “St. Clair”.

How do I enter dates?

We use the date format from the GEDCOM v5.5.1 standard. This format is DD MMM YYYY.

Use 01 APR 1822 instead of April 1, 1822 or 4/1/1822, or 1/4/1822.

Abbreviations such as BEF ("before") and ABT ("about") can also be used - eg. ABT 1795.

Other options include BET (used like "BET 1900 AND 1910"); CAL ("CAL 1900") meaning "calculated as 1900"; and Q1 1900 (displayed as "between January 1900 and March 1900" for dates that are only known to within a quarter, such as BMD index data.

Date fields have a popup help window that explains the possibilities.

How do I enter places?

Please try, wherever known, to include the city or town as well as the county or state, and country. The format we prefer is “Tonbridge, Kent, England, United Kingdom”.

The country is always required. For American locations we require “United States”, not “USA” or “US”. Do not use abbreviated country names, but use the full name, such as Ireland, Australia, Canada, for example.

Do not abbreviate state or county names. Use “New South Wales” rather than “NSW”, for example. For American addresses the same applies – do not use the two-letter abbreviation, rather spell out the entire state name, such as “New Mexico”.

Do not use periods (.) or apostrophes (‘) in names or locations. Use “St Leonards” rather than “St. Leonard’s”.

When entering a place, a drop-down list may appear listing places the application knows about. If the place is in the list, you should select that.

Following these guidelines will make the process of geo-locating places much easier.

Over the period this family tree covers, place names change. For example, historical records will refer to “Calcutta” which is known today as “Kolkata”. Further, geo-political boundaries have changed and places that were in India, for example, may now be in Pakistan or Bangladesh.

From a genealogical and historical perspective this is well understood. Common practice is to use the current place name. Historians know how to deal with this.

How do I enter a fact or event?

An event or fact is simply a description of something in a person’s life. These events may apply to an individual, such as birth or death. Some events will apply to multiple individuals, such as a marriage.

Every person and every event in that person's life should include a source reference. The concept is very simple. If you have a piece of information about someone, you must have got that information from somewhere. That "somewhere" is the source. It might be something like a Parish register, or a book. It might be something as simple as "my mother remembered....". These are valid sources, but the more information you can give about a source, the easier it will be in the future to look and determine where that information came from.

Please refer to the FAQ on source references.

All information must be factual or described in a way that clearly indicates how accurate it is. If, for example, you know a person's age, from a census, but not their actual birth date, then you cannot say as fact that they were born in a certain year. There are issues of rounding, possible errors on the census page, or even people misrepresenting their age. Use the date options like ABT (about), or EST (estimated), or CAL (calculated) to show how you arrived at the birth date you enter.

Another good example is finding a birth, death, or marriage on the UK's registration index pages. These only record events within a quarter (a three-month period) so the closest you can record the date is, for example, BET JAN 1850 AND MAR 1850, meaning "in the Mar quarter of 1850. Entering a date like that is easy - just type "Q1 1850" and it will be converted to the full text required for you.

These options are discussed in the FAQ on entering dates.

Information should accurately reflect what it really is, and what you really know. This means that the date of a baptism found on a Parish Register, for example, should not be entered as a birth. It is a baptism or christening.

If it is the only record you have for the person's birth you should either not enter a birth, and the baptism will be used instead in any age calculations, or enter the birth with a date of BEF (before) whatever the date of the baptism was. That clearly shows that the only thing we know for certain is that the birth happened before the baptism, but we don't know if it was 1 day or 10 years before.

The same applies for Parish register burials. They are not a death, so the death might be recorded as BEF the date of the burial.

How do I add a source?

After adding the normal date, place and other information for the event, before you save the entry open up the Source panel, just below where you have entered the data.

This reveals some new entry fields. The first is Source. We have many sources already entered and the full list is available from the menu under Lists > Sources. Type part of the source title in the field then select it from the drop-down list. If your source is not on that list, click on the “plus” button (+) to add a new source.

The next field is the Citation Details. Here you describe, in a formal way, where in the source you found the information. This is often a list of information such as Volume, Page, Date, Place, or similar references. The important thing to note for citations is that each element should include a ':' (colon) after its descriptor, and a ',' (comma) after each section. These citations are usually provided on most research websites with the formal citation available to copy and paste.

In some cases, there may be no real citation so that section can be ignored if necessary. In fact, for many sources, all that is required is the reference number. This is often the case when information is supplied by another researcher, particularly in the case of photographs.

The next field is Text. This is again an optional field. It can be used instead of the citation if there is no formal reference, or as well as. It allows for free text entry, but no fancy formatting.

If you have media, such as a scan or photograph, then click on the Media Object button. See the adding media FAQ.

The Note field is used to reference shared notes.

Once this information is entered, click "Save" or "Add".

What is GEDCOM?

GEDCOM is an acronym for Genealogical Data Communication. It is an open, de facto specification for exchanging genealogical data between different genealogy software.

GEDCOM was developed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an aid to genealogical research. It is used by many genealogical service providers, such as and It is also used by many desktop applications.

This site uses GEDCOM as its underlying data structure.