I’m not really sure how I got into genealogy, but I’ve always loved the family stories my dad told about his grandpa and the tales my mom shared about our relatives from upstate New York. On April 16, 2016, I decided to dig into these stories and find out if they were true. I started building my family tree on and spent seven years searching through records and connecting the dots. I ended up tracing almost five thousand ancestors!

Using’s tree system was kind of annoying. Everyone has their own tree or trees, and it’s tough to figure out when to stick with one or start a new one. Like, when I looked into my wife’s family, some folks would create a separate tree. But switching between trees is a pain, especially when you’re working with family members who have their own versions of the tree.

As I went further into this whole thing, I realized there’s really just one big tree, and we all have different parts of it. Digging up the info for all these trees could be a cool data science project, but it’s not easy to find. Then, I stumbled upon, a site that’s all about one shared tree. Users can add content and sources in a wiki style, with each ancestor getting their own page and people only editing that specific page. By using, I’m part of a bigger project that helps a whole bunch of people. If you want to check out my profile and see who I’m related to, you can click on this link. has a strict policy regarding the privacy of its users. As a collaborative and open-source genealogy website, Wikitree allows users to add, edit, and update information regarding their family history. However, it places a premium on the confidentiality of the user’s personal information.

To ensure the privacy of its users, Wikitree has implemented several privacy controls. Firstly, the website allows users to customize their privacy settings, so they can control what information is displayed to the public, the logged-in users, and the members of their family group. Secondly, the site has a comprehensive policy regarding data protection, which follows the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other data protection laws.

Moreover, Wikitree’s collaboration features allow users to share information with others while maintaining control over their data. For example, the site enables users to collaborate with other users on a specific ancestor, share access to specific parts of their family tree, and communicate through private messaging.

Gedcom (GEnealogical Data COMmunication) files are a standard format used to exchange genealogical data between different software applications. Many genealogy enthusiasts use Gedcom files to transfer their family tree data from one program to another. allows users to upload their Gedcom files to the website, making it easier to transfer their family tree data to the site.

When a user uploads a Gedcom file to Wikitree, the site automatically processes the file and imports the data into the user’s family tree. However, the user must review the imported data to ensure that the information is accurate and complete.

Wikitree’s Gedcom upload feature enables users to add new family members to their tree more efficiently. It also makes it easier to collaborate with other users and to compare and merge different family trees. However, it is important to note that the Gedcom upload feature may result in duplicate profiles or incomplete data. Therefore, it is crucial for users to review their imported data and make any necessary corrections.

The Impact of the Mormon Church on Genealogy


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, has long been a significant player in the world of genealogy. With a deeply rooted belief in connecting with their ancestors, the Church has contributed immensely to the development and accessibility of genealogical resources. In this blog post, we’ll explore the history of the Mormon Church’s influence on genealogy, its ideas, and the various websites and data sources that have shaped the field.

The Theological Foundation: Central to the Mormon faith is the concept of eternal families, which drives the Church’s dedication to genealogy (1). The belief in the importance of connecting with ancestors stems from the doctrine of baptism for the dead, a practice that allows deceased ancestors to receive the same ordinances as living members of the Church (2). As a result, the Church encourages its members to research their genealogy and participate in the sacred work of temple ordinances for their ancestors.

Early Efforts in Genealogy

The Church’s commitment to genealogy dates back to its early years. In the 19th century, the Church sent missionaries to various parts of the world to collect genealogical information (3). In 1894, the Church established the Genealogical Society of Utah, which aimed to gather and preserve genealogical records (4). This society eventually became FamilySearch, a leading organization in the field of genealogy.


FamilySearch, operated by the Church, is a nonprofit organization that provides free access to the world’s largest collection of genealogical records (5). Since its inception, FamilySearch has made it its mission to help people connect with their ancestors by offering resources such as historical records, family tree services, and research assistance., the organization’s website, is a popular platform for amateur and professional genealogists alike.

Family History Centers

To further promote genealogical research, the Church has established over 4,600 Family History Centers worldwide (6). These centers provide access to a wealth of genealogical resources, including FamilySearch’s vast collection of records, as well as additional databases, books, and microfilm. They also offer classes, workshops, and one-on-one assistance for those interested in researching their family history.

New FamilySearch and Family Tree: In 2007, the Church launched New FamilySearch, a collaborative online family tree platform (7). This platform later evolved into Family Tree, a free, collaborative, and public platform that allows users to build and edit family trees, upload photos and stories, and contribute to a shared ancestry (8).

The Mormon Church has made significant contributions to the field of genealogy, from early missionary work to the establishment of FamilySearch and the creation of Family History Centers. The Church’s theological beliefs have inspired its dedication to connecting with ancestors, resulting in a wealth of resources for genealogists worldwide. The continuing influence of the Church in the realm of genealogy is undeniable, and its efforts have made family history research more accessible and enjoyable for countless individuals.


Several controversies and critiques have arisen regarding the Mormon Church’s actions in the field of genealogy. Some of the most notable issues include:

  1. Posthumous Baptism of Holocaust Victims and Other Non-Mormons: The practice of posthumous baptism, or baptism for the dead, has generated controversy when the Church has baptized Holocaust victims and other prominent non-Mormon individuals without the consent of their living relatives. The Church has since implemented measures to prevent such instances, but the issue remains a point of contention (11)(12).
  2. Privacy Concerns: Some critics have raised concerns about privacy and the potential misuse of personal information collected through genealogical research, particularly as the Church and its affiliated organizations hold vast quantities of data (13)(14).
  3. Accuracy of Collaborative Genealogical Data: Collaborative online platforms such as FamilySearch’s Family Tree have faced criticism regarding the accuracy and reliability of the information contained within them. Errors may arise from user-generated content, duplication of individuals, or merging of records, leading to potential inaccuracies (15)(16).


  1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (n.d.). Family History. Retrieved from
  2. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (n.d.). Baptisms for the Dead. Retrieved from
  3. Tanner, J. L. (2014). A Century of LDS Church Genealogical Efforts. Retrieved from
  4. FamilySearch. (n.d.). About FamilySearch. Retrieved from
  5. FamilySearch. (n.d.). Free Family History and Genealogy Records. Retrieved from
  6. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (n.d.). Family History Centers. Retrieved from
  7. Eastman, D. (2007). New FamilySearch Announced. Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter. Retrieved from
  8. FamilySearch. (n.d.). Family Tree. Retrieved from
  9. McKellar, M. (2012). The Contributions of the LDS Church to the World of Genealogy. Retrieved from
  10. FamilySearch Wiki. (n.d.). Family History Library. Retrieved from
  11. Goodstein, L. (2012, February 14). Mormons to Stop Proxy Baptisms of Jews. The New York Times. Retrieved from
  12. Fisher, M. (2017, August 18). The Mormon Church’s long history of baptizing the dead – including Holocaust victims. The Washington Post. Retrieved from
  13. Phillips, R. (2008, July 14). Criticisms of the Mormon Church’s Genealogical Practices. Retrieved from
  14. Shaw, J. (2012, August 20). The Privacy Risks of Online Genealogy. Forbes. Retrieved from
  15. Blankenau, G. (2013, September 10). The Pros and Cons of Collaborative Genealogy. The In-Depth Genealogist. Retrieved from
  16. Berres, T. (2012, November 21). The Pros and Cons of FamilySearch Family Tree. Genea-Musings. Retrieved from