Monday, August 31, 2009

A Second Review of Dynastree

Hi there, I have been on travel for the last two months with my job and have not been able to keep up on my blog. But I have been thinking about some topics and plan on adding a few entries over the next few days. Here's the first topic:

Back on November 26, 2008, I wrote a short review about a website called This site is a social networking site with a genealogy twist. They currently claim over 90 million profiles in their database. At that time I mentioned that the site does make collaboration on family lines simple. You can invite family members to the site to work on the same lines and add information. I also mentioned that the layout was cartoonish with avatars which you could replace with your own photos. As a follow-up to that blog, the people at Dynastree have asked me to take a look at the additions they have made to their site. So, here it goes.

I still like the collaborative ability that this site gives families. I uploaded a small gedcom file and worked on it with my wife. She added family on her side while I added family on my side. I also invited my siblings and a few cousins to join in. They were all able to add family members to the one shared tree. As I mentioned in my earlier posting, other sites such as MyHeritage and newFamilySearch also allow for similar collaborative working within family trees but maybe not in the social networking arena.

You can view your family in several ways, such as tree, ancestor, descendant, circle and hourglass formats. This site uses the international symbols for events, with * for birth, † for death and ∞ for marriage. Clicking on an individual in your tree brings up profile pages for that person. The profile pages include spaces for a portrait, map, life information, links to other family members in the tree, biographies and notes. I like these features but they are not unique to this site. You can find similar profile pages at Ancestry and Footnote.

All of the features that I mentioned above are available in the free version of Dynastree. However, they do have a Premium version that includes features such as automatic matching of profiles of individuals in your tree with others in the database, statistics with data from your tree such as life expectancy, vouchers for up to 3 pdf family tree posters, family blogs and no advertisements on the pages. These Premium subscriptions begin at 13.95£/month and have an annual subscription rate of 54.95£. Notice that the rates are in pounds so you will have to make the conversion. Currently the conversion rate is $1.6312 per pound.

So, what do I think? I like the site for collaboration, but we now have sites, such as MyHeritage and newFamilySearch, which also allow collaboration. I like the profile pages, but sites such as Ancestry and Footnote link images of the source documents to their profiles. Dynastree does not have source documents to assist in your research but they do have some tutorials that help you find sources in other locations. My final verdict, this site doesn’t give me anything that I can’t find at a dozen other sites and the Premium subscription appears to be expensive for just a collaborative site with no records to assist you in your research. However, I believe this site could be beneficial to some researchers and their families so I invite you to stop in and give it a try.

If you would like to try out a no strings attached one month Premium subscription to the site go to their website at; and enter the following code in the Voucher block uyN-ZvDX7B-CG. There are a limited number so it is first come first serve.

As always, good luck and happy hunting.