We periodically get asked this question.
We recommend that each of us have our own family history file on our own computer using any of the many excellent recordkeeping programs that interact with new.familysearch.org.
Why keep your own records? Some of the reasons include:
- I want to have full detailed records of living family and relatives – this is not the role of nFS – you need your own database
- I need a place to keep my notes and sources – at least until nFS updates their tools for sources
- I need a place to keep my records in case someone changes my information on the web site
- I need a place where I can keep images of documents and photographs linked to my ancestor information
There are more reasons than this! Knowledge document 105366 gives 8 reasons! This document discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using nFS instead of personal software on your computer. Note: most of the advantages given for using nFS can be voided by keeping good backups and giving family members a copy of your data.
Why do some people object to doing this?
- They don’t want to keep 2 files updated – the one on their computer and the web site – solution: use products that act as intermediaries with nFS so you can move any data elements to and from nFS with typing them. If you are a PAF user this would be Family Insight or Ancestral Quest. If you are not a PAF user then select a product that works with nFS such as (in no particular order) Rootsmagic, Legacy Family Tree, Ancestral Quest, Family Treemaker (Windows or Mac) with Family Insight – several of which are free (see Products link at bottom of page at FamilySearch.org)
- They don’t want to type all the information into a new file – solution – you don’t have to type all the information into a new file – you can either download data from nFS using the free program Get My Ancestors or use one of the products listed at the end of #1 above which will add names to your file for you. Of course if you download from nFS and don’t know the source of the information you will need to verify the validity of the information i.e. do some research – which you will have to do anyway if you are beginning.
Remember the purposes of nFS include: prepare names for the temple, build one pedigree chart for mankind, clean up records (as much as we can), and collaborating on Family History.
See knowledge document 100317 for the purposes for nFS