Download Records, Don’t Just Save Them

It is very easy to get enthralled with attaching records of your ancestors from the many genealogical websites like Ancestry®, My Heritage ©, or Family TreeDNA. However, you should download those records instead.  

When you just attach a record to your ancestor on one of these sites, it stays attached to that ancestor only as long as you are paying for the service. It also may sync to your database program, such as Family Tree Maker, Legacy 9, Roots Majic, but as soon as you no longer have your paid subscription to the online part, the record will not be available to you.  

Many think that when they transfer their genealogical data through a GEDCOM file (an acronym for Genealogical Data Communication), it transfers everything, but it only transfers the data, not images, text files, or documents. This is why you should download the document to your hard drive or flash drive. I have a folder for each ancestor and download the records I want to those folders. I also back them up through Google Drive. You can do the same with any cloud storage.

You want to attach the record like you normally would because the programs will create the citation for you.   

You can also link them. Here’s how.

  1. Download the genealogy record you need
  2. Upload the record to the cloud location of your choice
  3. Create and get the link for that record (right-click and select “get a shareable link)
  4. Add the link to your source citation (find the source citation, click on “edit citation” and type something like, “This record can be accessed at…..”)
  5. Now when you transfer your tree you, and everyone you decide to share it with will have access to your records.

You do not want to put it in the website field as that is for where the record is stored originally, such as an archive. 

My point is, do not rely solely on your online program. You need to save important finds to your computer and/or (I suggest and) to your cloud storage.  


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