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Planting Your Family Tree Online: How to Create Your Own Family History Web Site (NGS Guide, 4) [Paperback]

By Cyndi Howells (Author)
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Item description for Planting Your Family Tree Online: How to Create Your Own Family History Web Site (NGS Guide, 4) by Cyndi Howells...

Planting Your Family Tree Online is designed to take you step-by-step through the process of creating a genealogy Web site.

When people begin their genealogical adventure, they usually interview elderly members of the family and contact other family members. The next step is usually one of organization of the information collected. The third step is usually to share this information with other family members, traditionally by publishing research in a book. However, a family Web site has numerous advantages:

  • It is interactive so others can contribute their stories and pictures.
  • It will help you find long-lost relatives.
  • It is an ideal way to preserve research for the entire family.
  • It will break down the walls that have stumped you in your research.
  • It recognizes that family research is an ongoing process,

This book is written by Cyndi Howells, owner and webmaster of Cyndi's List, a Web site of more than 130,000 online genealogical resources. Cyndi points out, "This book is loaded with URLs to Web sites that will give you everything you need to create a beautiful family tree online." However, Web site URLs change daily and some may no longer work. She has created web pages as part of Cyndi's List that correspond to the features of the book so that the URLs will be kept up-to-date.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Pages   272
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.08" Width: 7.38" Height: 0.77"
Weight:   1.39 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 31, 2004
Publisher   Thomas Nelson, Inc.
ISBN  1401600220  
ISBN13  9781401600228  
UPC  031869000146  

Availability  0 units.

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1Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Home & Office > Internet
2Books > Subjects > Reference > Education > Research
3Books > Subjects > Reference > Genealogy > General
4Books > Subjects > Reference > Genealogy > Online Research
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Reviews - What do customers think about Planting Your Family Tree Online: How to Create Your Own Family History Web Site (NGS Guide, 4)?

Nothing more than common sense  Feb 26, 2008
I didn't find this book helpful at all. The other reviews here made the book sound so great. I wanted to put my family tree online, and needed some guidance on the best method for organizing 600+ names...a baby tree by most genealogist's standards. The book gives only one sample model of how one might do this: Have 8 separate pages devoted to your great-grandparents. It stops there without going into any more detail. So, it did not answer my question that had led me to purchasing the book.

Most of the book is common sense advice such as: don't use turquoise font on your website. I say that's true of any website, not just a genealogy website. In fact, that's true of just about any text anywhere at all! So, this book gives basic advice that is not specific to creating a genealogy website. The majority of chapters contain information that you can glean simply by surfing the web and reviewing other sites (of any kind).

I ended up creating my website using Legacy Family Tree software. It's gorgeous, it was extremely simple to do, and the pages are far more dynamic than just having 8 web pages devoted to my great grandparents.

If you need some real hand-holding or are new to the Internet and web pages, then this book may help you. If you have been web surfing for several years or have even a basic knowledge of web publishing (all you need to know is what you like and don't like about the web), then this book won't tell you anything you don't know.
Planting My Tree  Jan 16, 2007
Great examples, references, a must have for those who want too, but don't know how.
The best thing of its kind, period (and here's why . . .)  Oct 15, 2004
Twenty years ago, using only a very simpleminded computer as a glorified typewriter, I put together a thick volume of lineage on part of my wife's family, the result of more than a decade of close research. Because of my very limited budget, the production values were poor and fewer than two hundred copies were printed and mailed. And it took nearly all my free time for a year. Today, I would be able to compile all that data in a computer program, produce text files for further editing, present the final version in an attractive, readable, completely cross-indexed format, and upload the whole thing to a website where it could be visited by many thousands of other researchers from around the world. I could correct and update the information as new data came to hand. And I could do it all with little or no out-of-pocket expenditure. Is it any wonder genealogists have so enthusiastically adopted the World Wide Web as their medium?

Any genealogist who isn't familiar with "Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet" hasn't been paying attention for far too many years. Cyndi Howells owns a website indexing more than 200,000 online resources, and which gets several million hits each month. She's also a member of the NGS Board of Directors and the author of several other books on Internet genealogy. So: Do you need your own genealogy website? Cyndi thinks you do. "Trust me, you need one." Publishing on the Web is the least expensive and mostly widely accessible method of disseminating to others what you've learned.

Howells notes that she could have subtitled this volume "All the Things Cyndi Learned the Hard Way," and the reader should be thankful for her experiences. Through reviewing the sites that make it to Cyndi's List, she has become more aware than most of us of what really works online, and what really, really doesn't. Her approach combines "high concept" and style on the one hand with practical, hands-on advice on the other. Though she doesn't try to teach the very basics of computers or the Internet, she walks the reader step-by-step through the process of "planting" a website: Finding a hosting service (your ISP probably provides space for free), choosing your tools (there are some good free choices here, too), the differences between writing your own HTML code and letting your genealogy software produce it for you (a somewhat contentious matter, actually), enhancing your site with photos and digitized documents, and the growing problem of proliferation of inaccurate data because of unthinking copyright infringement. There are a lot of decisions to make first, though. Do you want to construct a full-featured site, with sections on local history as well as purely family matters? Or would you rather just submit your own database to be included in an online lineage-linked database? It's a matter of maintaining control. Should you start now? Or wait until you've "finished"? That's print-thinking. When you can continually change and update, why wait? Your research is always a work-in-progress anyway.

The author recommends a mission statement as a guide to keep you pointed in the right direction and Chapter 10, "Guarantee Success," discusses a number of common website do's and don'ts (like avoiding border-type backgrounds that don't wrap properly). Then she confronts the problems of presentation (artsy vs. readable), site navigation, establishing a baseline structure for your site, and deciding what content to include. (You don't have to build the entire site all at once.) Then it's time to create the basic pages (keeping in mind that you don't have to accept your software's defaults), probably using a WYSIWYG editor to produce the HTML until your sophistication increases. And for all of this, Howells provides many addresses to online resources that provide additional instruction and advice. She can be rather opinionated about design, as in the matter of blinking text: "If it moves, delete it." And "Frames are evil." And also unexpected music files that play automatically (a real annoyance when you're surfing the Web in a public library). She's usually right, though.

Finally, she tells you how to upload your work, how to carry out the necessary trial run, and how to publicize your site. Don't forget, too, that running a website of any kind is an active, ongoing process. (Few things are sadder than a Web page whose "Last Updated" date was three years ago.) You're making a commitment in time, if not in money. Establish a maintenance routine and update your site regularly. Check and update the dead links you've included to other sites. (There's a word for this: linkrot.) If necessary, you can solicit help in doing all this from other family researchers -- especially those you've met through your site.

I've read numerous books on website design, as well as having planned and set up several sites for other family members (and not just in genealogy), and this is easily the best thing I've found -- print or online -- for the genealogist interested in establishing a presence on the Web.
Another information-packed, 'not to be missed' reference  Jun 7, 2004
So you've used the reference guides to build a substantial family tree, and you've located photos and documents but still have questions: where to next? Use Cyndi Howells' reference Planting Your Family Tree Online to create a family history web site the entire family can enjoy. From locating an appropriate web hosting service to planning and maintaining a family history web site, this provides a core group of tips based on the genealogist author/web site owner's own hard-learned lessons. Another information-packed, 'not to be missed' reference.

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