Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pining for a Pedigree Chart

I'm "back" home after three days as a virtual RootsTech attendee. While not as tired as those who traveled to Salt Lake City and are now traveling home, my head is still spinning. My thanks to the hundreds of people (at least) who produced such an engaging and enlightening conference and allowed us to attend from afar.

After watching Laura Prescott's Publish Your Genealogy Online on Friday I spent much of the next day rethinking my approach to my nascent website (started in 2010 and still not live - surely the longest gestation period ever). My website focuses on several different family groups of 3 or 4 generations. I use a free site (great price) but have been so frustrated in my efforts include graphic layouts or reports generated by my software program, Legacy.

I hadn't considered Legacy's web design capabilities. But after Prescott's presentation, I looked again at one of my favorite sites, Linda McCauley's Linda's Family TreeMuch of her material was generated by Legacy. Linda has been generous with advice and information and I knew that her choice of self-hosted site, and the option of uploading Legacy's web pages, was not going to work for me.

But I really liked the way her pages link through the small pedigree charts. I went back to Legacy and began experimenting with it's web page styles. I produced examples of each, examined them on my browser, and found the format I'd admired on Linda's site - the Pedigree style.

I realized I could produce pages for only the small groups I was working with. The pages generated were not exactly what I wanted, but they were far closer than anything I'd come up with before.



But there I stalled. The free sites I've been working with do not, as in DO NOT, accept ftp uploads, the only way I could transfer the linked pages as a unit to a web site. And while there are some sites that do (RootsWeb), I need the WYSIWYG "webpages for dummies" interface that Google or Weebly have.
I know almost nothing about HTML, the language used in web page design.

I stewed on this for quite a while before accepting the easy route of using pages produced by my software was a no go. But I was still fixated on that little pedigree chart at the top of the page. Had to have it.



In the end, I got it. It's not the easiest solution - I still have to generate each page and all the links - but I have a template that works well. In my next post I'll share how I did it.

16 comments:

  1. Susan, I'm in the same boat as you. But in the meantime, I'll listen to Laura's talk again and be content having my entire tree via RootsMagic's GEDCOM on RootsWeb.com for the world to see. It's amazing how many people will contact me, and fortunately, they don't care what that free tree looks like.

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    1. Agree completely on the RootsWeb tree, Barb. I've gotten so many contacts from it - and a couple corrections!

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  2. Can't wait for your next intallment!

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  3. I'm with Pam. I haven't considered doing this -- but I may have to reconsider. How much do I want to stretch my learning curve?

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  4. Right - these are the some of the same issues keeping me from starting a blog, Susan, let alone beginning to start to commence gestating one! Keep at it in your spare time, and don't forget to ask for help - someone may be able to give you specific nerdy details to help move everything along!! Cheers!

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  5. You are a braver woman than I am, Susan, for tackling such a big project! It took me years to get up enough guts to merely transfer my files to Rootsweb. Looking forward to hearing more about how--and why--you did it.

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  6. Susan, I'm eager to see what you decided on. I listened to Laura's presentation too, and it gave me a lot to think about. I don't have my tree posted anywhere right now. She talked a lot about TNG--will it work with a free site like Weebly? Like you, I know absolutely nothing about HTML coding. I look forward to your next post!

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    1. TNG will not work with Weebly, Shelley. It requires a hosted website (ie paid). It will, however, work with a self-hosted WordPress website.

      Kathleen at The Misadventures of a Genealogist, has written about TNG and is in the process of writing about redesigning her site to use it with Word press. I'm reading along with her, though I don't think it's not what I've chosen.

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  7. I'd never thought about putting a tree online and only just half-listened to Laura's presentation. Do people look at trees more than they look at blog posts about ancestors? If you post a tree will you also post source documentation? What are the advantages of having a tree online? Are the answers to these questions obvious and I'm missing the obvious?

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    1. I actually have a tree posted on RootsWeb's World Connect Project, Nancy. There's a link to it in the column on the right. No sources there, but I do get messages from people. No where near as many as I get here, though. As to why, I put it up mostly for my family who sometimes wonder who someone is or how we all fit together.

      The website I want to put up is not a tree, but a personal family history site that focuses on specific family groups. It will include some pedigree charts and links. And sources. But it will also include biographies, photographs, and links that connect people through subjects - immigration, Civil War, religion.

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    2. Nancy, I've had a website for 5 years and a blog for 2. The website has most everything I have on everyone in my tree (including sources) from my grandparents' generation back. I get contacts from people who have found my blog but I get more contacts from people who found my website. Since I have them linked together, often people have seen both by the time they contact me. I think the reason the website gets more traffic is sheer numbers - I have yet to write a blog post about the majority of people in my database but they are all included on my website. My website usually comes up pretty high in a Google or Yahoo search for one of the people on my website so people don't have to be "looking at trees" to find it, they just have to be searching for a person.

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    3. Thanks for responding, Linda. This is helpful to know. I can see that having more people "present" on a website would generate more interest from a greater number of people. How much work is your website to keep up?

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  8. Thanks for the shout out. I really don't know much about HTML either - actually knew nothing when I decided to set up a website 5 years ago. I learned enough to get by from online reading.

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  9. MUCH to think about in the post AND in the comments. AS in you all are making me think I need a website to augment my blog. Can't wait to read more!

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  10. Susan , You really hit a familiar learning curve for many of us struggling with how to get the WYSIWYG utility to create some pedigree and group charts on the blogs without a lot of headache . I am currently trying to doing something with my Drupal site to that effect . I still have all my stuff on PAF and actually good ol' PAF has web (html ) outputs too

    Magda

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  11. I forgot to add that I also have a TNG (with a joomla bridge on my husband's server)private family website (Kathleen Moore's is more public) but the threat of hackers or purchasing updates always looms on my mind. My goal is to create a totally public web tree for our future generations to always have up the in the cloud .

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