Tribal Pages: Organizing Your Family Tree Online

by JoHarrington

Placing your genealogy online allows other researchers to find you. It also helps you keep your records in order.

Recently my cousin expressed an interest in our family tree. He e-mailed me for information.

It took me whole seconds to tell him about thousands of people in hundreds of branches.

To be fair, I didn't actually tell him anything. I merely sent him a link to my Tribal Pages database. Halfway across Britain, he now had access to everything that I know; and he can join in the hunt too.

He's joining all of the more distant relatives, who found me by finding it.

The Benefits in Storing your Family History Data Online

As you delve further into your genealogy, you will be amazed at how much stuff you begin to amass.

It begins with a notepad. Before long there are copies of photographs, documents and certificates. A trip to the local archives results in a sheaf of photocopies stuffed under your arm - snippets from census records, clippings from newspapers, an index from the national registers and maybe, if you're lucky, a scanned page or two from a history book.

They all need a home. They all need somewhere to be, where each bit of information is easily accessible. These contain the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is your family history. You will need to reference them often.

For the first eleven years of my genealogy research, there was no internet. It existed out in the world, but it was as remote and foreign to me as Kazakhstan. That is to say that it was outside my culture and experienced by absolutely nobody that I knew. Text was something that happened in books, accessible to me only via a typewriter and later a word processor.

The point is that I know what it's like to store all of your family history off-line. My shelves are still creaking under the folders and boxes. In many respects, nothing has changed. Genealogists will continue to collect information. But then again everything changed utterly.

Personal computers and the internet revolutionized genealogy. Family historians everywhere no longer had to rely on accidentally bumping into each other in libraries and graveyards. We were on-line and we were talking to each other.

Forums, websites and databanks sprouted up like mushrooms all over the web. We swapped information and found distant relatives. We no longer had to travel hundreds of miles to visit a local archives. Someone who lived there would pop in on our behalf; and we all did the same for those researching an ancestor close to our homes too.

But best of all were the family tree websites. From the depths of dozens of folders came every piece of data going back centuries. Whole generations were suddenly organized, as could never be achieved on paper. A click of a cursor revealed patterns, links, relationships and the sort of clues that only those with eidetic memories could have slotted together before.

Those starting their family history research today are very lucky. You get to put it in order from the very outset. You will never know how much time you've saved. Moreover, with data placed directly into your digitalized family tree, you will not have to pile up so much paper!

A Tiny Selection of my own Genealogy Collection

This is a mere scattering of a much, much larger amount of information that I've stored over the years.
Photo: Some family history information
Photo: Some family history information
Jo Harrington

Where are you going to put all of that stuff?!

Buy a practical storage unit, so you an tidily file away all of your genealogical documents.

Introducing Tribal Pages - A Free Family Tree Website

A simple and effective way to digitally store all of your family history data.

There are thousands of places on-line which allow the budding family historian to record all of their genealogical data. They each have their merits and they can be found with a quick search engine query.

I am recommending Tribal Pages for one simple reason - I have been using it since 2000. For over a decade, it has proved itself a reliable site, with plenty of opportunities for fellow researchers to find me. It is not only easy to edit, but my family tree can be displayed in a variety of ways. It is fantastic for instantly looking up everything that I have on a particular ancestor. It also produces an entire ancestry, whenever a family member asks to see one.

The site is free to use. It can be used to record names, dates, locations and relationships, as well as miscellaneous notes for each individual on your family tree. The template couldn't be more easy. As soon as one name is added, then there is the option to add parents, spouse(s) and children. Any photographs or scanned documents can also be linked to a particular person or a whole family group.

As your data amasses, you may eventually wish to purchase more storage; but that is a long time in the future for those only just beginning their adventure into the past. It took me sixteen years of researching my family tree before I became a paying member. I am a very thorough historian. I want to know every descendent of every sibling in every branch, no matter how distant, how many times removed from myself those cousins might be. This approach adds up to a lot of names, digitalized documents and photographs.

Screenshot of Tribal Pages Family Page

Family of Queen Elizabeth II
Family of Queen Elizabeth II

Tribal Pages Links

Tribal Pages Homepage
The place to get started!

The British Royal Family Tree
To show you what is possible with Tribal Pages, the administration keyed in one of the most famous genealogies in the world. Click the various links to show how it might look for your family too.

My Own Family Tree
Alternatively, you could view a real live user family tree by exploring what I've personally added to the site over the years.

Tribal Pages Pricing
Beginners are unlikely to need to pay for extras, but they are available as your family tree grows.

Other Wizzley Articles in my Genealogy Series

These pages are designed to guide you every step of the way through researching your own family history.
The International Genealogical Index is a great, free resource for exploring your family history. LDS records go back to the 16th century.
You don't have to be a professional to begin adding leaves to your family tree. You begin very close to home.
When exploring your family tree, censuses can act like a fast-track through the 19th century. Understanding them is vital for your genealogy.
A century ago the majority of people could not read or write. Your surname changed often, as clerks wrote phonetically what they thought they heard.
Updated: 05/04/2014, JoHarrington
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JoHarrington on 07/11/2012

I'm sorry to hear that you've had problems there. I've been on it for over a decade, but never had cause to contact customer support, so I didn't know about that.

I'll see what I can uncover for you.

Tuan Tran on 07/11/2012

I too am a user of Tribal Pages (since 2009). The site is easy to use but I find it extremely frustrating by the fact that there's no Customer Support at Tribal Pages. Emails have never been replied to and phone calls un-returned. I'm debating whether I should look for a more responsive site.

JoHarrington on 01/13/2012

Thank you, Paul. I certainly cheered the advent of the internet. There's still paperwork, but we can keep it on-line and not worry too much about the paper copies!

pkmcr on 01/13/2012

Excellent information. As a keen genealogist I know how easily one can become buried in paperwork!

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