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Family Tree Maintenance: Best Practices Checklist

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Daniella Levy

Family Tree Maintenance: Best Practices Checklist

Just like a regular tree, a family tree needs regular care and attention to continue bearing fruit! Below are best practices to keep your MyHeritage family tree error-free so you can access accurate, easy-to-understand information — and share it with others — at any time.

Run the Consistency Checker on a regular basis

The MyHeritage Consistency Checker is an extremely useful tool. It automatically scans your tree for 36 different types of consistency issues, helping eliminate common errors.

As your tree continues to grow, the chance of incurring errors grows, too. That’s why it’s a good idea to run the Consistency Checker on a regular basis — every month or so.

All MyHeritage users will receive one issue for free through the Consistency Checker. For unlimited use, you’ll need a PremiumPlus or Complete subscription. Learn more about our plans here.

You can read more about the Consistency Checker here.

Add new photos

Whether you just dug up and digitized a shoebox of old photos or just received the results of a brand-new family photoshoot, there are many great reasons to upload your family photos to MyHeritage:

  • You can add profile photos for any relatives who don’t appear in pictures you’ve uploaded to MyHeritage previously. Profile photos add color and personality to your tree and make it easier to recognize and connect with the individuals who appear on it.
  • Adding new photos helps keep your tree up-to-date — and this is especially important for the youngest generations on your tree. Kids grow up so fast!
  • If your photos are fuzzy or not great quality, you can use the Photo Enhancer to sharpen them and bring them into focus. Using the Photo Enhancer could even bring out important details in photos you may not have noticed otherwise. Click here to learn more about the Photo Enhancer.
  • If your photos are black and white, you can breathe new life into them by colorizing them with MyHeritage In Color™. Click here to learn more about MyHeritage In Color™.

Add new births and deaths

As the Beatles said: obla-di-obla-da, life goes on! Your family may grow over the years, and unfortunately, you may lose some relatives, too. Be sure to keep your tree up to date on these details.

Marking relatives who have passed away as deceased is especially important. There are few things more heartbreaking than getting a notification celebrating the birthday of a relative who has recently passed. Furthermore, marking a relative as deceased makes them easier for your distant family members to find. Living individuals are marked as private in your family tree to anyone who isn’t a member of your family site, but the information of deceased individuals is made public.

When adding information, add a citation

It’s hard to overstate how much adding good source citations benefits your research. Citing your sources accurately and clearly makes it easy for you and future researchers to retrace your steps, and perhaps correct any inaccuracies or omissions you made the first time around.

Adding source citations for all the information at once can be a drag. Therefore, save your future self the trouble and carefully record a source citation every time you add information to your tree.

Check your new matches, discoveries, and Theories of Family Relativity™

Even if you receive email notifications about new Smart Matches™, Record Matches, and DNA Matches, you may not always have time to read them carefully. What’s more, the lists of matches on the MyHeritage site are organized according to priority: the matches most likely to be of value to you are listed first. That means that looking at your lists of matches periodically may bring your attention to a match you hadn’t noticed before that could help you make your next breakthrough.

You can access your Smart Matches™ and Record Matches by hovering your cursor over the “Discoveries” tab in the navigation bar and selecting “Matches by people” or “Matches by source.” You may also want to take a peek at your Instant Discoveries™, also located in that menu: there might be a Person Discovery™ or Photo Discovery™ worth looking at.

Theories of Family Relativity™ are not calculated automatically: MyHeritage runs periodic updates that add new theories to your DNA Matches. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check your DNA Matches page every now and then to see if there’s been an update that yielded some new theories.

Access your DNA matches by hovering your cursor over the “DNA” tab in the navigation bar and selecting “DNA Matches.”

Correct languages when extracting information from a Smart Match™

Thanks to MyHeritage’s robust automatic translation technology, you may receive matches from family trees in other languages. If you add information to your tree from a Smart Match™, it will be recorded in the language of the tree where it came from. Therefore, it’s a good idea to visit the profile and change the text to match the language of the rest of your tree.

Even if you understand the other language, maintaining your tree in a single language will keep things simple and make your research more accessible to people who don’t speak the other language.

Running regular maintenance on your family tree will help save you time and frustration later, and might even help you make new discoveries. Follow the above tips to ensure that your family tree stays accurate and up to date.

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