Free Family History Genealogy site that lives on after you do

Authors experiences History Legacy Special Interests

Now that I am retired, I wanted to find a way that the massive Family History (Genealogy) files that I have been keeping in various places will live on forever, without payment.

I was pleased to discover a “free” Wikipeida style site called WikiTree, that is unique in their vision to have a SINGLE family tree for everyone, that lives on after you pass away! This means that there are not multiple separate family tree’s that may or may not overlap. The good news is that you can also copy your information that may already be in place on the various other popular Genealogy sites like Ancestry or MyHeritage.

You still choose to build your own “private” view of the common information, plus your own separate things if there are skeletons in the closet that you might not want to reveal. e.g. I remember needing to have TWO different copies of a family tree, because the grandmother raised two of her daughters children (Grand children) as if they were her own son and daughter. It was not until they were 18 years old that the truth was revealed to the kids.

Printing for a book is limited

The site is really designed to be viewed online, and has lots of beautiful ways to review your family tree, but I found the ability to print a hard copy for publishing a family book is very weak. You can print many things out to PDF’s, but there is no option to output to an editable document format like Microsoft Word or similar, and the page breaks may not be in ideal locations. The solution outlined is to export the data using GEDCOM, and then into some other software like RootsMagic and use their printed reports. This does work, but expect to spend some time re-organizing the extracted information a bit.

Even less popular genealogy software like RootsMagic, have the ability to extract the information into a “GEDCOM” file, which can then be imported into any other site.

Security and Quality of Information

It is important to protect living people from the possibility of identity theft, if too much information is made available publicly. WikiTree DOES have good measures in place to help in that regard. You can set multiple levels of authority so that your immediate family can have access to things, that you don’t want the outside world to have access to.

A good balance seems to be in place to ensure its EASY to add your information, but at the same time measures are in place to ensure references with citations are added, which ensures a high quality of information. You need to earn your free credentials through online training, to be able to change information before 1700 and 1500 CE.

A supportive community is also in place to help with simple or deep questions.


Other popular genealogy software require a monthly subscription if you want to keep using it ($200/year or so). I did review them and tried their 14 day free trial, but was happy to see how well WikiTree worked.


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