How To Keep Family In The Loop About Your Discoveries

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on my weekly post, “Asking For A Friend,” how people share their discoveries with family. Kathryn said she had a blog like mine that helped keep the family up-to-date. She mentioned that she printed family tree charts, but sometimes that’s not practical. So, let’s look at our options.


Like any other program, there are several ways to get to the same destination.

There is your original way of sharing, which you can find when you look at your tree view, and then in the new left-side menu, you can choose those three dots. There, you will find an invite at the very top. Alternatively, on the right side at the top, you’ll see “invite,” which will take you directly to the invitation input screen.

Once you click the three dots, you get an input box like the one below. You have several choices here. First, you choose what “role” you want them to have. Guest, contributor, or editor. I would suggest guest unless you know that they are the same type of researcher as you are and you feel comfortable with them changing things on the tree. You will also see that it’s your choice whether they see the details of living people. Copy the link, and then anyone with that link can have that access.

Notice to the right of the “invite link,” there is Email and Username. Here, you can be more specific about the person with access. You can enter their email or username and even provide a comment before you send. You will be notified when they accept your invitation. If you’re unsure who you’ve invited, you can return to those three dots and “tree settings.” you’ll find “invitations.

You’ll also be able to see when someone has made changes if you gave them a contributor role when you look at your tree view. You’ll find that in the upper right corner under “activities”.

Ancestry Circles

This screen can be accessed right under your username. When you click “circle,” you see the input box like the one below.

You can create as many circles as you like and have as many as fifty (50) people in a circle. All those invited will need an Ancestry account, but they don’t have to be subscribed. It can be a free account. If you’d like to learn more about “Circles,” you can find out HERE.

Ask Family For Help

Here’s something handy. Have you ever looked at your tree and realized that you’ve been concentrating on the ancestors but haven’t kept up with the new family additions to the tree. Like when your cousin’s children have children and all the details. See that red arrow? I can click on it, and then it gives me a few choices, one of which is “Ask family for help.” If I choose that, it takes me to an email screen, and then I can send it to Duncan or his mom and ask for updated information on when Duncan and his wife got married and the dates of his children’s birth or any other information that I need. Or I can copy the link and send it another way, such as social media. Later, I’ll get a notification to the right of the button showing that the task has been completed.

The Ancestry View

Before we leave Ancestry, let’s look at the view. The tree view, that is. Again, go to that left side menu and look at “view.” Now, you can look at your tree horizontally and vertically and as a fan. I know that Kathryn said that sometimes the tree view wasn’t practical, but this new fan view is more compressed in some ways.

Remember, you can print your tree by going to those three dots on the left and printing whatever view you’d like.


Sharing is a bit different at MyHeritage. You can invite someone to your tree if you go to the Home tab and then invite family. Here, I’m given a complete list of people in my tree, and if I add their email to their profile, I can send them an invitation. Just below the “invite family” is “site members,” which shows you all the people you have given access to your tree. It can be through your invitations or from other MyHeritage members who have requested a look at your tree.

MyHeritage Charts

Just like at Ancestry, you have three different views when you look at your tree. Family tree view, pedigree, and fan. You can also share your tree on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, or by sharing a link to your tree.

Note when you are in the tree view or pedigree view, you can only see 5 generations. But in fan view, you can see from 4 to 10 generations.

If you haven’t searched around on MyHeritage, you can go to the tree tab and see “print charts and books.” Then, you can choose the type of chart you want and the style and request a preview. For some, you can see them right away on the screen, or you may be sent your preview in an email. Here’s what mine looked like.

Ancestry has something similar, but you are taken to an outside company when you go that route. But in the case of MyHeritage, I think you could either print it yourself or have it printed at a print shop.

I hope this has helped show a few ways to collaborate with family and keep them in the loop. Whether it’s at Ancestry or MyHeritage, it’s free to have a tree, and searching is also free. When you want to look at documents, you’ll hit a paywall. In those cases, you can wait for a record set to become available on a “free weekend,” wait for a membership sale or go to your local library, archives, or genealogy society, where they often have access to these genealogy sites.

Happy hunting.

You can always give each of the companies a 14-day trial. You may need to provide a credit card, but if you go into the setting and cancel the trial the system will not automatically charge your card after the 14-day trial. If you decide it’s right for you, then you can just go back and sign up 🙂

Try a 14-day free trial today with Ancestry®

Click HERE to get your 14-Day Ancestry Trial

Enjoy everything on MyHeritage with a FREE 14-day trial and 50% Off Subscriptions

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  • Patricia Proskurniak says:

    I started 4 different family name Facebook private pages to keep family informed. To join the page they are asked how they fit or how they think they fit on that family’s tree. There are unfortunately, some of the family who are not participants of Facebook which makes it more challenging but nice for the ones who are. Nice for me too as I am able to ask for more information and photos etc.

    I’ve been sharing certificates and newspaper stories with the cousins, etc and it is very much appreciated. I do have to ask/remind them that they are expected to share too, photos and funeral cards are especially appreciated by me. I’m looking into having a web page and trying to figure how expensive that might get.

    • Patricia, That’s a great idea… but as you say works if the family is on Facebook. You are so right that it can’t be just you sharing what you have but everyone must participate with information and those documents that they might have.
      I have my blog on WordPress and it’s hosted on GoDaddy. Here’s a link to WordPress pricing and you can have them host it