I finally took the time to research some of the programs out there which could convert the genealogy data in my computer into a web format that was both simple and clean, but detailed at the same time. I’ve been using different versions of the Family Tree Maker software for about seven years now and I enjoy the interface and flexibility it provides. But one thing that always bothered me was its inability to generate web pages. If I recall, some of the earlier versions may have had that option, but since their affiliation with Ancestry.com — it seemed the only way I could put my tree online was to sync it with an Ancestry account. Unfortunately, every time I tried to upload my information, it would timeout after about 20 minutes and 85% of total progress with a transmission error message.
So I decided to look into some GEDCOM to HTML conversion programs. (GEDCOM is a universal data file format that allows most genealogy programs to import and export data; HTML is the basic format for web pages.) After reviewing about a dozen programs on a site called Gathering Leaves, I chose GED-GEN as the one that best fit my needs.
Last night and this morning/afternoon, I did a little bit of tree pruning and tinkered with the various preferences and options using GED-GEN. Through a little bit of editing and a lot of trial and error, I uploaded four separate family trees to the site today: one representing each of my and my wife’s parents.
I am still working on the integration with the new general web site, which is resulting in a lot of growing pains there, but it will eventually come along. I expect to do a good bit more pruning to promote some new tree growth as I discover some additional program options, so the trees may not maintain their current size and shape. So keep an eye out for changes, and send me any suggestions or feedback as the reorganization continues.
On the eve of my dad’s 80th birthday, I found myself reading the first 25 or 30 pages of the Bicentennial History of Mingo Junction, Ohio 1770-1970 which I found online at one of my favorite family history resources: The Digital Shoebox Project. Mingo is the town where Pop was born and raised.
After reading about those treacherous beginnings for the original settlers in the area of my boyhood home and thinking back on one half of my dad’s life to date, the nostalgic feelings to connect with those who passed before were once again aroused within me. It probably also helped that my sister just recently called two days ago with some questions about our family tree after discovering that her husband’s ancestors may have lived in the same area as our own more than a century and a half before she and her husband met.
A few months ago, I did a major overhaul of some of my other web presences (unrelated to genealogy). I had a notion to do the same with the genealogy site, but didn’t act on it at the time. But reflecting on everything above, just a few short hours before my dad’s milestone birthday, something internal told me the time was right. So I am in the process of moving the family history pages over and creating this new blog to go with it.
Be forewarned, this blog and the associated pages may not be updated regularly. And it will undoubtedly take a few weeks at minimum (probably more) for me to iron out the kinks and move past the growing pains of updating, transferring, and tweaking the information on these pages. I have no idea how many folks found their way to the old site or how often any repeat visitors came back. So if any of you stumble upon the new page during this transition phase, please excuse the mess.
If I am to do this right, it is going to require more than just slapping on a coat of paint and some new window dressing. So, let me wrap up this inaugural blog post and get down to the nuts and bolts in the few hours of weekend that I have left.
Oh, and Happy Birthday, Poppa Luke! Love you lots!