RT Cunningham


Ancestry - Building My Family Tree with Genealogy Software

ancestry, family tree, genealogy software I’m creating a new hobby for myself and it concerns my ancestry. I’m taking it upon myself to be the family tree researcher for my surname, Cunningham. Of course, I’m not going to deal with all the people with the same surname. Some are so distantly related to me that it isn’t even worth the effort.

Okay, so I said back in 2014 that I find my ancestry interesting but unimportant. It’s the “interesting” part that entices me to create some family tree websites after I finish building a database for them.

Since I’m using Linux Mint as my operating system, there aren’t many genealogy software choices. I guess it’s not that important as long as it works and I can export a GEDCOM file.

Genealogy Software

I read several articles recommending Gramps, so I decided to install it and check it out. After I added a few people to the database, I could tell it’s going to be a tedious affair no matter how I approach it.

I’m going to create a bunch of subdomains for a bunch of websites, adding each as I add surnames. Naturally, I’ll start with my own. Branches of my family tree will become trees of their own. It’ll be fun once I set everything up.

Each subdomain website (like “”) will have a GEDCOM file available for downloading. I may get another domain name to use instead of “”. I may not. It depends on a lot of things swishing around in my grape over the next few days (or weeks).

Getting Information on my Ancestry is Difficult

My youngest sister (Tammie) set up a family tree at My Heritage years ago. It’s not up-to-date but I can get some of the ancestry data from it. I’m not going to pay for an account just to export data, so it’s going to be a manual process.

I found some more information by searching other genealogy websites (via Google). I now have more information than Tammie ever had and probably more than anyone else in my family tree.

Planning for the Future

It’s going to take some time to populate the database, probably weeks. Then it’s going to take even more time to set up all the subdomain websites. Eventually, I’ll have to ask for ancestry information from some of my relatives (siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins).

I avoid social websites as much as I can. I post links to every article I write here on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus but I don’t spend much time interacting with others on any of them. That will have to change.

I’m not only concerned with ancestry. I want to collect information on the offspring of my generation (and their offspring and so on and so on). The older I get, the harder it’s going to be.

That’s why the GEDCOM file for each subdomain website is really important. The relatives who want to import the data into their own ancestry databases can do so. I don’t want the data to disappear when I do (eventually).

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By RT Cunningham
May 14, 2017
House and Home