Frequently asked questions
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all our family and 'cousins' in genealogy and encourage you to catch the fever as you search for your ancestors . This can become both a labor of love - and hate - because it can consume an extraordinary amount of time, but personal satisfaction, camaraderie, and other rewards are exhilarating. I offer you the opportunity to colloborate and enjoy family tree research I have compiled, by using webtrees, a wonderful open source genealogy software developed with the skills of a talented development team. Launched 26 AUG 2010, webtrees is a significantly enhanced fork from John Finlay's phpGedView.
There are a number of different ways that you can get help to do something or find anything on this site. The following are the main ones:
- Help links: Many features on the site have a small Help icon beside their title or description. It looks like this: "?"
Clicking on the Help icon will pop-up a small window with a context sensitive comment on the item in question.
- Email Me: There is a link at the bottom of every page: 'For technical support or genealogy questions, please contact this site's administrator. Please remember that we might be in a completely different world time-zone to you, and we do this as a hobby, so it might take a days in some cases.
- webtrees forum: This site is powered by webtrees, open-source genealogy software. Visit the webtrees site at http://webtrees.net where an online forum exists for general questions on using webtrees.
Please do not use the webtrees forums to ask specific questions about the information found on this site - the developers and other users will not be familiar with this site and while they are superb at providing support on webtrees they do not have an in-depth knowledge to answer specific genealogical questions relating to the data here.
- webtrees WIKI: Using that same webtrees link to webtrees.net, you can also find the webtrees WIKI pages. These contain many helpful articles for users, administrators and developers.
If you are still confused, simply ask us via email.
First off, try a variant spelling.
The search can be performed in several ways:
Menu "Search" => "General search"" (or "Phonetic search", or "Advanced search") => complete the search criteria.
Menu "Lists" => "Individuals" => choose the initial of the surname => choose the surname in the list => choose the person.
Menu "Lists" => "Families" => choose the initial of the surname => choose the surname in the list => choose the family.
If you can still not find them, that means that they are not in my database. If you think that they should be, please contact me and lets get connected so that I can add them.
Nothing's easier ! To report a technical problem, ask me a question, tell me about an error, ask for a correction, provide me with additional information ... Use one of two links located on the left in the gray banner at bottom of each page of the site and fill in, as accurately as possible, the form which will open in popup . Thank you in advance for your interest in my work; I will answer you as soon as possible.
The easiest way would be to contact me to exchange information. For this purpose there is a contact link on the left side of each page ( For technical support or genealogical questions, please contact ...), which allows you to send a message to the site operator.
Click on the 'Sign in' tab, then 'Request a new user account'.
NOTE: This site DOES NOT REQUIRE REGISTRATION to gain access to data on deceased persons on the website. However, to contribute or to see facts on presumed living relatives, you will need to register for a free account and advise me of your relationship to the tree.
- Registrants should be relatives, albeit a distant cousin in many cases, however somehow related to someone already listed or someone who should be listed on the site;
- Registrants should be prepared to regularly visit and contribute to our sites, at a minimum providing us with your personal and immediate family information and later - modifications, augmentation, amplifications and additions to the existing data;
- Registrants must pledge to protect the privacy of the data on all living persons on the site, and, as noted above, contribute their own personal information. Violations will lead to immediate termination of access privileges and may be cause for legal action. I take the possibility of identity theft or information abuse seriously. Please see the Privacy Section below for more details.
If you qualify for registration and agree to abide by these rather simply policies and procedures, please feel free to use the registration form built into the site.
Please use the comments field to answer ALL the information requested on that page, explaining your relationship to relatives contained within the existing site, a brief lineage to that person and also clearly confirm by affirmation your acknowledgement of your intentions to abide by our policies and access rules.
I will then review your application for approval. Please be patient as proper review and verification may take some time and effort and we may be away for several days. Incomplete applications will be held until I can the confirm the relationship, enter you into our database and receive your promise to protect privacy and all data on living persons.
An email will be sent to the email address you provided. Be sure to check your junk/spam folder for this email.
You will need to open this email and click on the link. You will also need to be verified by the administrator, which may mean some clarifying questions from them. Once approved, you are then ready to log in.
- Registered members can view and download documents, images and other media files in the original, optimal format, without the watermark.
- Registered members have additional menus to change sources, families, people, etc. They can add and modify information themselves, add documents, sound files, photos, films, stories and any other type of media file, all of this while respecting decency and privacy rules, the administrators decide on the final changes.
- Registered members can exchange messages with other members.
- Registered members have their own, private page, which can be arranged in its discretion to monitor favorite data, store their own research results, etc.
- Registered members can collect and select information from the family tree and download it as a GEDCOM
- Registered members can have their relationship with each other from the family tree counted.
- Registered members can view detailed reports from individuals.
- Registered members help add to the knowledge base. Every person who registers, provides a helping hand.
If you had an account on this site in the past, and it no longer works, please register for a new account. All old accounts were purged in a server migration. I appologize for the inconvience.
I do my best to present accurate information. It is inevitable however, that there will be some incorrect data entered presented in my database. While I make every effort to verify the data, sometimes this is impossible or just hasn't been done yet.
If you believe there is incorrect data on the site, please contact me, letting me know what the incorrect data is, and what you feel the correct data should be. If you are able to provide a source for your correction, it would be appreciated if you include that as well.
I will review your suggestion, and incorporate the new/modified data if I feel that it is supported by a verifiable source.
The GEDCOM standard allows for us to state the level of confidence we have in a particular peice of information. This is done using the QUAY tag. The QUAY tag’s in value conveys the submitter’s quantitative evaluation of the credibility of a piece of information, based upon its supporting evidence. Some systems use this feature to rank multiple conflicting opinions for display of most likely information first. It is not intended to eliminate the receiver’s need to evaluate the evidence for themselves.
0=Unreliable evidence or estimated data
1=Questionable reliability of evidence (interviews, census, oral genealogies, or potential for bias for example, an autobiography)
2=Secondary evidence, data officially recorded sometime after event
3=Direct and primary evidence used, or by dominance of the evidence
Many (but not all, especially some of my earlier work, will have this tag) facts in this database have this tag attached to the fact.
SOURCES and CITATIONS: In genealogy, it's not enough to simply say something "happened on such-and-such a date". Historians like proof. We do too! Please provide whatever information you have as to the source of the information you are providing. Look over the various sourcing notations available and use the NOTES option when in doubt or you need space to write. Put in more than you think may be necessary, it won't be too much.
I now believe it is VERY IMPORTANT that whenever possible anything recorded on a family tree should include some evidence about where the information came from - in other words a SOURCE or references for it. In this FAQ, we describe why sources are important, and give some specific help for adding source references to data on the family trees of this site.
Dick Eastman describes the issues well in his Genealogy Newsletter:
Entering source references on family trees here is incredibly easy. They can be included with any event (e.g. birth, marriage, death, divorce, migration etc.). 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.
When you add or edit any data on the Family tree there a few general principles that should be followed:
1 - Every person and / or 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 sophisticated like a database, a Parish register, or a book. It might be something as simple as "Aunt Mary remembered....". These are both valid sources, but the more information you can give about a source, the easier it will be in ten, twenty, or more years time to look and say, "Ah, so that is where we got that bit of information!"
2 - 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 error on the census page, or even in some cases people might have misrepresented their age. In these cases, the use of date qualifiers like ABT (about), or EST (estimated), or CAL (calculated) to show how you arrived at the birth date you entered would be appropriate. Another good example is finding a birth, marriage or death on the UK's registration index pages. These only record events within a quarter (3 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 in the software we use - just type "Q1 1850" and it will be converted to the full text required for you!
3 - 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 date. If it is the only record you have for the person's birth you should either not enter a birth (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 event, so the death would be better recorded as BEF the date of the burial.
4 - General site appearance - How to best view this site. This site is best viewed with the newest browsers, but includes almost any browser made in the last couple of years. Using older browser versions may result in all kinds of viewing glitches and navigational problems, including transparent images that may have grey backgrounds in Internet Explorer 6 and earlier. We do not support deprecated (old and discontinued) operating systems and browsers.
webtrees works on a variety of screen sizes but some pages may require you to scroll sideways to see all of the information. This is especially true with many charts like the Pedigree Tree. I recommend using a screen size of at least 1280 pixels in width.
4 - Use of data and media - May I use information obtained from this site elsewhere?
If you are intending to use any data or images on this site for commercial purposes, then do not even both to ask as the answer is very emphatically - NO.
Entering of names is pretty straight-forward via the form and help is provided. The form should already have expanded fields. If not you could expand the fields by clicking the corresponding + sign.
- NAME PREFIXES are usually titles or honorifics such as Dr., Ing., Drs., Judge, etc. Ordinary honorifics such as Mr. and Mrs should not be entered.
- GIVEN NAMES are the first and middle names usually selected at birth.
We enter the given name with an initial uppercase letter. The rest of the name is entered in lower case letters.
- SURNAME is the family or last name. This is the birth name for a married person, and not the surname assumed after marriage. See married name below. When name changes occur after birth, these additional names can be entered separately after the person has been recorded in the database. They can also be entered as AKA (also known as) names.
We enter the SURNAME with an initial uppercase letter. The rest of the name is entered in lower case letter.
- NAME SUFFIXES are Jr, Sr, III, etc.
- NICKNAME is the name commonly used for the person if different from their given name; e.g. Jack would be the nickname of John "Jack" Arnold, Daniel Wilson Avery had the nickname Tuggy, and many Margarets have the nickname Maggie, Nancy, Peggy, Polly, etc.
- MARRIED NAMES are the person's new name when assuming the spouse's surname) It is auto-created by the program when you enter the new surname in the Married Name field. i.e. Mary Jane Smith marries John Jones and becomes Mary Jane Jones when you enter Jones in the Married Surname field. Married names are not gender-specific; you can enter a married name for persons of either gender.
I use the GEDCOM v5.5 standard format. DD MMM YYYY or 01 JAN 1822 instead of January 1, 1822 or Jan 1, 1822.
The system can make some minor corrections to input errors, but you should not depend on this.
Additionaly you can use abt, estimated, calulated, and ranges for dates. Examples of date modifiers are shown the table below:
|Plain English||Gedcom Code||Short Form|
|About 1920||ABT 1920||~1920|
|Between 1920 and 1924||BET 1920 AND 1924||1920-1925|
|From 1920 to 1924||FROM 1920 to 1924||1920~1924|
|Before 1924 but After 1922||BEF 1924 / AFT 1922||<1924 / >1922|
|From March 1924 to June 1924||TO JUN 1924 / FROM MAR 1924||-JUN 1924 / MAR 1924-|
Places are in the process of being standardized (see the "News" section on the homepage of the site).
When it is known, the place of each event (birth, baptism, marriage, death ...) is indicated with with as much precision that is known. In general, are informed the municipality, the great administrative region (according to the administrative organization of the country: region, state, nation, canton, lander, wilaya ...), the country. If an additional precision exists (name of the castle, locality, church, street, parish, county ...), it is indicated in the "address" field of the event or in note.
Important : some places change their name or country in the course of history. In this database the places are recorded as they would have been in contemporanous records for the event (ie. West Virginia Pre Civil War is recorded as Virginia).
Places are defined by the heirarchy of Administrative divisions, with the country being the highest or most broad divistion. Places should be entered in order from local (on the left) to broadest (on the right) and comma seperated. This generally would be:
Specific Place, City, County, State, Country. They should be entered in the language used at the location.
Autocomplete will attempt to suggest predefined locations, please use them if available.
Locations are mapped on Google Maps. It is optional to enter location coordinates, however location will not appear on map - administrator does not verify and enter coordinates each day.
Places can be associated with most Individual and Family event records. Entering a place properly in the family tree helps to maintain consistnecy across all the entries, helps reduce admisitrative overhead for the family tree admin team, and ensures that the Google Maps integration works.
A specific place would be a church, cemetery, university contained within a City. The County is included as most records tend to be kept at the county level, having the county in the place helps for genelogical research purposes (now and in the future). The easiest way to find the county for a specific city is search wikipedia.
There are some country specific variations to the place naming convention used within the family tree. Place components in [square brackets] below are considered optional based on if the higher administrative division uses that lower division or based on it's knoweldge at time of data entry. Below are the conventions for the major Countries currently contained within the Family Tree:
- United States: [Specific Place], City, County, State, Country
example: Saint Hedwig's Catholic Church, Thorp, Clark County, Wisconsin, United States of America
- Canada: [Specific Place], City, [County], Province or Territory, Country
In general, most Provinces contain counties, but most Territories don't. I beleive it's based on population density within an area.
example: Kentville, Kings County, Nova Scotia, Canada
- Mexico: [Specific Place], City, [Municipality], State, Country
Many Municipalities are the same name as the largest city in the Municiaplity, rather than duplicate the name which leads to confusion, we usually only enter the City name.
example: Moroleon, Guanajuato, Mexico
I really appreciate your addition of pictures, Birth Certificates, Marriage Licenses and Certificates, Death Certificates - anything you've got for support. Members with edit rights can upload these images themselves by using the ADD MEDIA link and Upload/Browse feature.
When entering new media, consider a naming convention that is unlikely to conflict with existing media. The system allows you to browse your hard drive and upload the document with an entirely different name, retaining your local filename intact. Just imagine how many "john.jpg" files there could be (well - only one) but you could possibly overwrite an existing file if you don't change the filename. We like to keep them short (less than 35 characters) but descriptive - something like J_Name-b1820-I23445.jpg or K_Name-I23444-Headstn.jpg. If in doubt, please, simply ask us.
If you have any trouble uploading your images or if you have no rights to upload the images yourself please send your digital images to us by email and we are happy to add them on the site for you.
When you fill in data of a person, you can add a source to each event. Click on the bottom of the page on "Add a new source citation". A new page will appear with just below the middle "source" with a question mark beside it. More to the right you will see an open book and next to it a book with a plussign on it. If you know the source already exists, click on the open book, by which you can search for the source. When you have found it, click on it and the field will be filled in with an S plus a number, the source number. If you want to make a new source, click on the book with a plus on it and a page will appear where you can make your own (new) source. Remember the S number so that later on all you need to do is fill in the S number. When done, click on save.
Facts pertaining to the creation or modification of a family unit are entered on the Close Relatives/Family Link page. This is where you note marriages, divorces, children, family census - any fact or event that affects the family unit. We find when adding several children, it's best to bring up the VIEW FAMILY link for that husband/wife and add each child via the link at the bottom, 'ADD a CHILD to this Family'. It is faster than using the Close Relative page as with each addition it defaults back to the View INDI page rather than the Close Relative page. Any questions? Just ask if you don't understand. Corrections, advice, and help are readily and freely offered.
To enter a marriage , (after making sure you are on the page of the person you want to join or add a spouse to, his / her name is roughly at the top and is checked when it reappears on the page ) we search below " Add a new spouse ":
A small page opens where we can note the first names , last name .
The family name after marriage usually written alone for women; it can be erased or corrected if the woman has not taken the husband's name.
One can possibly note a nickname and a name of use .
Sex can be changed; same-sex marriages are allowed.
It is not necessary to check birth ; we can note the date (in the form 2/8/1955, it is the simplest one, or 1955 if one knows only the year or even abt1955 if one is not sure of the year) and the place of birth :
When we note the first letters of a place, the places starting with the same letters that are already in the tree, appear on a drop-down menu. If the good figure in this list, we just have to click on it.
If the couple has not been married, we can uncheck the marriage box.
If the person is dead but you do not know the date or place of death , check the death box .
When we have validated all that, we can modify it by clicking on " Show family "
There are several ways to do it:
1. The easiest is to insert it as a note . For all facts and events, you can add notes - one of the [+] buttons at the bottom of the edit window.
2. If there are notes that involve more people, you can add a " Shared Note " (same place). It is in principle a note that is not linked to a particular person registration, but is free, as a separate record in the database. It can therefore be linked to several different entries, so you do not have to write the same text multiple times. If you click on "Add Shared Note" you can choose between creating a new (icon with a "+" above) or using an existing note. If you click on the icon itself (without a plus sign) there will be a window where you can search for a word in the note. You can also use the autocomplete function and write some words in the header of the note.
The first line you enter into a Shared note will act as a headline and put into larger types.
You can see a list of all Shared Notes under Lists in the main menu.
3. If, as in this specific example, a date is a comment, the comment can be added to a calculated date . If the person was born 1/4 1990 and died after a week, but without having an exact source statement (as it may be 7th or 9th), you could write in the data field for the death:
INT 8/4 1990 (died after a week)
INT means "interpreted" and is one of the date formats in GEDCOM. It will be translated into " calculated for 8/4 1990 ".
The parenthesis belongs to the syntax: The INT format is used just for approximate date statements of this type. (The other options are EST "estimated" - "He must have been born approximately at that time", etc. - and CAL "calculated", for example, if the wedding indicates that the bride was 24 years old.)
4. Finally, it can be entered as a source reference , also in the edit window. For source references, a reference to a particular source is required . It does not have to be an official text; There may be something like "Oral report from Kari Trestakk".
Which method you choose is to a certain extent a taste taste. But keep in mind that it's ALWAYS a good idea to enter a source. You will ALWAYS regret it later if you leave. ("Who was it now that told it? Hm ...")
GEDCOM is an acronym standing for Genealogical Data Communication, and 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 (LDS Church) as an aid to genealogical research. Webtrees uses GEDCOM as a base. You can learn more about GEDCOM here:
When I happen upon a hand written record, I may try to annotate texts, especially when transcribing notes, wills and documents that contain a lot of narative text. The Following symbols may be used in the transcription:
- [text in square brackets] to indicate a comment;
- abr [evia] tion to complete an abbreviation;
- [a blank] to signal a missing word;
- [...] one or more illegible or untranscribed words;
- [?] following a word or name on which there is a doubt or if a part is missing;
- [X] to report an illegible signature;
- ... the points of suspension at the end of a document (or text) if it is not fully transcribed.
My earlier transcriptions may not have these symbols, but I have done my best to use them going forward. I will re-visit older transcriptions as time allows.
If you are an approved user, and have made a change to a record in the database, you may not see it right away. Changes to existing data for a person or family will not appear until they have been approved by the site administrator. When you make changes, the site administrator will automatically be notified and can thus assess and accept the changes. Only after changes have been approved by the site administrator, they are visible to other users.
If you feel like your question is still not answered, please let me know and I will consider adding to the FAQ section.
I consider privacy of paramount importance and protect the data vigorously.
Fortunately, webtrees' software confidentiality functions are excellent in the application of certain rules of privacy - our main site hides details about people who are alive or to those who you are not linked. To view details of living people, you will have to be a trusted member of our site and you must connect to the site with your username and password account. Your free membership gives you access to your special page (INDI record ID #) in the family tree. In addition, our site uses several levels of privacy access and user verification, as well as webtrees' relationship privacy. The latter function lets you see information for people defined as a close relative. If you are a member of the site and connected and still see some individuals or families still marked as "private", this feature has been enabled for your account. If you think your access is too restricted, please email the administrator and explain with details of identification numbers, where you were blocked and why you believe you should see this information.
Of course, no system is perfect or unbreakable and inadvertent access to data remains a remote possibility. I do my best to address all privacy issues quickly. If you feel strongly about some of your personal data stored here, please contact the administrator via the e-mail links below. Your data can be removed from the site, but your access may also be restricted.
I take abuse of our information seriously, and will not tolerate theft or misuse. We will take legal action against those who engage in or attempt identity theft or harassment as result of accessing the data.
Do not copy the data on living persons to any other sites or to places that you may be unable to protect the privacy of these individuals. You can be held responsible for this exposure or abuse. As you will see, there is a lot of time, effort and talent that has been extended to assemble this database. I don't want others simply copying our collective work. Also, I do not share the information contained herein with other sources, nor do I contribute information to any commercial enterprise (Ancestry.com, Geni, Tribal Pages, etc). I expect you to respect this policy as well. Please do not copy the data to other sites, and certainly never post information on living persons elsewhere. This database will remain in our possession for the public display of public domain information, and will not be sold, given or loaned in any way or form in order to generate revenue. Personal data will not be shared by us with a public source and you, as our users, are sworn to the same high standards.
Remember, the security of your password is essential in protecting the privacy of your own and other family members information, so keep it safe. We recommend that you change your password from time to time. Please note also that, as site administrators, we can not access your password. If you forget yours, please use the "Request for new password" on the login page and a new, temporary one will be sent to your registered e-mail address.
As with etiquette for genealogical data generally, details of living people have been removed from public view. In order to be able to view details for living individuals you need to be a site member (with ID and password). As the genealogical data held on this site relates either directly or indirectly to the site author you can be sure we take matters of individuals privacy seriously. Of course, mistakes can occur and if you have any concerns about data available here, either your own or details reating to a relative, then do please contact the site administrator with your concerns. I endeavour to address privacy issues quickly and ensure any sensitive data is removed from public view promptly.
All information on familytree.itowler.com is the copyright of the author or others and protected by international copyright laws. This includes genealogical information, text, images, database content and the underlying code. Genealogical data and certain graphics are the copyright of the site owner while the underlying webtrees software and themes are the copyright of the respective others (refer to webtrees.net for details). The site owner reserves the right to take action against people who infringe copyright.
The automated and/or systematic collection of data from this website is prohibited.
You may request permission to use the copyright materials on this website by using the "Contact Me" portion of the website.
Enforcement of copyright
The site owner reserves the right to take action against people who infringe copyright.
If you become aware of any use of this Site’s copyright materials that is in violation of or may violoate the license above, please report this by using the "Contact Me" portion of the website.
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