Sharing Data
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Sharing Family Records


By Joseph Vernon Leavitt

Sharing Family Histories, meaning text files like biographies and autobiographies:

     Dr. William P. Leavitt, our Family Historian, has added a section to the WALF website where this information is kept, and he shows you there how to submit your personal and family histories. 

Sharing Genealogical Data:

NOTE:  Permission must be obtained from living individuals before submitting their information to us.  Except for names and family connections, information on living persons will be kept from appearing on our website, but will be retained in our private genealogy database.  Such details make it easier to merge similar information from several sources, and to resolve conflicts. 

     We don't want to include anyone in our database against their wishes, and are willing to remove the name of anyone who wants to be excluded.  Just let our database manager, Joseph V. Leavitt , know in an email message of your concern.

     Otherwise, we feel we should try to include all the Leavitt descendants we can find out about in our file, because so many cousins have found their connections to the family only after seeing familiar names of close relatives in our online data, and this service to them has been so gratefully received.  Besides that it feels great to be in the midst of such a wonderful family of cousins, and it seems a shame to be unaware of some of them.

Simplest sharing methods 

   Type the data directly into an e-mail message, or, if you already have a data file, and know how to attach it to an email message, this is a quick and easy approach.  If you have pictures in digital format, they can also be submitted in this way.  If you prefer to send paper records and/or pictures, please send them to Joseph V. Leavitt, at 4335 Smoketree Ave., Yorba Linda, CA 92886.  He will make the entries into our database.

Using a home computer genealogy program 

    If you are just starting out, and realize that you need to have a way to organize your information, including all the various family connections, notes, and sources, a genealogy program is a must.  The advantages are numerous, but here are a few:

  • Once the data is entered, it is easy to make changes.  The old way, with a typewriter, required typing in the pages all over again.  The new way is done by entering changes in a genealogy records computer program, and re-printing the pages.  The old way gave you only a few poor copies if you wanted more than one, the new way lets you print however many copies you want - all with the same quality.  Even though you use plain paper in your printer, the output pages, charts or forms, are printed to look like the preprinted forms, but with the data included in whatever fields you had entered.
  • In the past, if you wanted a list of your data, you would have to type it up yourself.  Genealogy programs will print many different kinds of lists and charts, letting you choose options for each.
  • If you want to find out where there might be problems in your data, you can let the computer find them for you.  It lists possible problems, and you decide if you want to make corresponding changes.
  • If you wanted to get copies of someone else's research, the old way would have been to go down to the copy shop and copy all the pages for yourself.  You would still only have it on paper, but that would be better than nothing.  The new way would be for you to ask for a backup copy of their data (if you both use the same kind of program), or a "Gedcom" (sharing) file, that the program can generate for you.  If you get a backup file, you would need to use your program to restore the data from the backup file.  If you get a Gedcom file, see the text below for helpful instructions on this topic.  There is one other way you might receive data, and that would be from someone who knows how to copy their data file directly onto a diskette.  In that case you would need to direct your program to the location of the data file in order to open it.
  • Having a copy of someone else's computer data file is very helpful, because you can start out with that, and not have to type it all in; or you could merge it in (Gedcom needed for this) with data you had already started.   Here again, check the instructions below before you do that.  Merging data files can be hazardous to your original file and your valuable time (always make backups).  You should want to make it as simple a merge as is possible.
  • The program I like the best, and use for managing the WALF genealogy database, is Legacy Family Tree .  Even the free standard version is very full featured.  Those who will be using the program frequently, might want to upgrade to the deluxe version (inexpensive) which provides even more advanced features.

GEDCOM:  Sharing Genealogical Data Computer Files 

     1.-  What is a GEDCOM file? -- How do I open one? 

     2.-  You use the terms “data,” “file,” and “program,” seemingly the same way. What's the difference? 

     3.-  Why do we need gedcom files? 

     4.-  How can I tell what's in the gedcom before I add it to my own records? 

     5.-  I want to make a file to share with others, but I want to keep what I have, just like it is. How do I do that? 

     6.-  How do I connect the new information with what was there already? 

     7.-  How do I attach a file to an email message?

     8.-  Couldn't I just make a backup of my data and send that to you?