Questions about options for sharing tree w/family & etc

The reason I’m excited about Rootsfinder is that it resides on the web, so that my family and other researchers can look at all the years of work of done on my family history. With that in mind, I’m trying to figure out how best to share my tree/database with family members. It seems like the two options are

  1. The Invitations feature. My question about this option is, how will the emails I enter into this be used, apart from sending those people the invitation? I don’t mean to sound paranoid or cynical or whatever, I just want to know if I’d be putting my family members on an email list of some kind where they’re going to later get marketing emails. I don’t mind being on any email lists Rootsfinder may have, because I’m interested in the product; I just don’t want to make that choice for my family members who may not like that.

  2. Emailing out the URL of a profile page. I understand that the information of living individuals won’t be visible to people who might click on those links. I was wondering how that would work navigation-wise, since I am the root person in my tree, and I am living. What would someone not logged into a RF account see if they look at my late grandfather’s profile
    — will his still-living children not appear in the right-hand “children” column at all? Will they just appear as “(Living person),” etc., and if you click to go to their profile page it will just be blank…? I tried to answer this question for myself by logging out of my RF account and pasting a deceased ancestor’s profile URL into the address bar of another browser (to avoid browser cache hangups), and… it didn’t work. After about a full minute of loading, this was all I saw:

    So, those are my questions.

  1. Emails to family members are only used to send them the invitation. We don’t add them to any mailing lists unless they create an account.

  2. Families, media, or anything else that is attached to at least one living/unknown person will not be displayed. So if any member of the family is living, the entire family is hidden.

It looks like you’ve uncovered a bug. I’m having the same problem viewing that URL. I’ll look into this later today and let you know.

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If I designate them as read-only, do they have to create an account to browse through my tree/profile pages? I assume they do have to create an account if I give them editing privileges.

So if the parents are deceased but the children are not, a page viewer without a RF account won’t even be able to see the parents’ profile page(s)??

Yes, if you invite them, whether as readers or editors, they have to create an account. People you invite can see the living people in your tree, and asking them to create an account ensures that we can authenticate them when they come back later. Also, if you have a Pro account so you don’t see ads, the people you invite to your trees won’t see ads either, and the tree performance will be a bit faster since we cache the tree locally for invitees.

I fixed the problem with guest access to a large tree. I can open your tree as a guest in 30 seconds now.

Currently, if parents are deceased but the children are not, a page viewer without a RF account will be able to see the parents’ profile pages, but the spouse-family on the right-hand side of that page containing the spouse and children will be empty.

I’ve been thinking recently that I’m being too conservative in this treatment of living. I may move to the traditional approach of showing pages for living people that are completely empty except for the name “Living” and a gender. In that case, you’d see the spouse and children for a deceased person, but living children’s pages would only have “Living” and a gender. This will probably work better for future integration with DNA matches: we could show that you have a DNA match to a living person, only show “Living” and a gender, but this would allow you to navigate up to the deceased people in their tree.


I endorse moving to the traditional approach. It would make the trees much easier to navigate for those without RF accounts.


I also would like the traditional approach. To not show a couple who are both deceased because their child/children are living is quite restrictive and can make sharing prohibitive. Thanks!

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Ok, I plan to move in this direction next month.

Being brand new to RootsFinder, but am long time user of FTM with public trees at ancestry. I uploaded my gedcom here this morning and noticed I can access all of my notes, just as I can via ancestry (if I need to), however at ancestry my notes are not made public to anyone be they another subscriber or an invited guest.

I prefer my “notes” to remain private and hope that they are and will be at RootsFinder as well?

On public trees, notes (as well as stories and pictures) attached to living people are private; notes attached to living people are public.

On private trees (requires a Pro plan), everything is private. Only people you invite can see your tree.

Would you consider giving an option on the notes. Have the tree public, but “notes” private. I keep a lot of info in my notes that I may want everyone to see. Don’t want to go through 15,000 peoples notes and delete them so as to keep a tree public here.


I’ll add this to the Under Consideration part of the Roadmap. If more people ask for it, then sure.

If there are particular notes that you’re worried about, you can make them private in the following way:

  1. create a Research Log and make that private. You can have private research logs even in a public tree.
  2. Attach the note to the research log. This makes the note private even in a public tree.
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