MyTree is a database being developed to allow members to electronically search by surname other membersí family trees to identify possible matches and to link members who are researching the same surnames, which may help to breakdown brick walls. The more family trees submitted for inclusion in the MyTree database the more likely it is that a match will be found. Any privacy requirements you have will be respected. The data is encrypted to protect access and corruption from malicious interference. Information will only made available to other SFHG members and future generations if appropriate permission is given. MyTree also provides an off-site backup of all of your valuable research and can include scans of photos, certificates, video and sound clips, etc
There are over 120,000 people plus thousands of different surnames in the database (April 2017). All family trees are accepted no matter the size, currently they range from 19 to 20,900 people. Contributions to the database have come from all over the UK as well as Australia, Canada, Fiji, New Zealand, South Africa and USA. Some members have promised that their research will be sent to us when they die. I have a basic database surname search facility working which, when you enter a surname, displays a list of membersí trees containing that surname, the number of instances and the earliest and latest date that the surname occurs. If a match looks promising and if both parties are willing, I can put them in touch with each other.
Does it work? Yes, matches have been found and members put in touch as part of the testing. Although I prefer to be sent data in the GEDCOM format, an international standard for exchange of genealogical information, I accept information in most formats including paper. For those using family history software I can in some cases use a copy of your database or otherwise provide help on how to export your data in GEDCOM format. Please contact me for further information if necessary. The database is designed so that any individual contribution can be updated without duplicating entries even when there are multiple trees from one person. No family tree is ever complete! It can also have links to other documents and/or web sites when relevant. Care is also taken to remove all references, as far as practicable, to living people by checking birth/baptism and death/burial dates and also to try to exclude possibly living people with no date information by referring to the ages of parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren etc.
Currently the database is a prototype and not particularly user friendly. It has been more important, so far, to concentrate on the data the database holds and develop easy ways to update it without duplicating information. This is an ongoing project and will be improved in 2017.
Brian Eaton. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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