Ancestry Family Trees

The user submitted family tree databases called OneWorldTree were discontinued by Ancestry in late 2013. The discontinued One World Tree has been replaced by's Family Trees, a much improved database that contains millions of family trees submitted to Ancestry by users. You can search the family trees and then you can contact the owner of the tree to get more information.

The following information is very outdated:

One World Tree
offered by One World Tree

There is a lot of buzz on the RootsWeb mailing lists and message boards about the new search service from called OneWorldTree.

The general misconception is that Ancestry will begin selling the gedcoms and family trees that have been submitted to Ancestry World Tree and RootsWeb WorldConnect. Recommendations are being passed around that if you don't want your family tree to be sold to remove your gedcom from AWT (Ancestry World Tree) and WC (RootsWeb World Connect)

I am seeing e-mails being forwarded from one mailing list to the next, all bearing the same message that

"If you submitted a family tree to for free viewing by researchers, that's all about to change. Later this month, Ancestry plans to BEGIN CHARGING RESEARCHERS TO VIEW YOUR TREES. If you don't want that, you'll have to remove your tree."

A little investigation shows that THIS IS NOT TRUE.

Everything that was free at Ancestry will remain free including the family trees.

The confusion seems to be that Ancestry introduced a new product with a very similar sounding name to the Ancestry World Tree.

  • Ancestry World Tree is the site where we have uploaded our gedcoms and trees. This can still be browsed and searched for free as always. Try the search here for yourself and you will see it is really still free.

  • Ancestry's One World Tree is Ancestry's new search service for which there will be a charge.

The FAQ at the RootsWeb help desk answers the questions about OneWorldTree - including that OneWorldTree is not required to view these trees and that you still own the data that has been submitted. It also states:

"Submitting a tree and accessing a tree online is still FREE — as always."

Read the rest of the FAQ

RootsWeb also stated,

"Ancestry is *not* charging for access to trees or selling trees: access will remain free from both the RootsWeb and Ancestry side as it has always been."

"What Ancestry is offering for an extra charge is access to a special search engine to search the trees for you. Folks can still search the trees manually or browse the trees for free the same way they always have."

Ancestry says,
"We regret any confusion this matter may have caused. User-submitted family trees are free and will remain free through the Ancestry World Tree and the RootsWeb WorldConnect databases.

The One World Tree service is simply an optional tool available for your research.

A subscription to the One World Tree service is not required in order for you to submit a file or for other researchers to search and view the files you submit at no charge through the Ancestry World Tree and the RootsWeb WorldConnect databases."

OK, but What is OneWorldTree?

Ancestry's new product, One World Tree is essentially an intelligent SEARCH ENGINE that links family history records through a process Ancestry calls "stitching" - pooling resources from Ancestry databases and grouping them by person. These "Person Pages" created by OneWorldTree are what is being sold as a subscription.

Eventually the user-submitted trees will become less and less important as Ancestry stitches its datasets together for a "Person Page" which will provide references to the original sources. Within the next couple of months, Ancestry will stitch the 1930 census information building trees from the relationship information in the census and then will start stitching all of its datasets, including all the census and vital records, grouping sources by person.

Instead of getting search results for every "Mary Jones" (yes, unfortunately, this is really my great-grandmother's name), and having to go into every database to see if it is "my" Mary Jones, Ancestry's OneWorldTree will give only Mary Jones results that match my Mary Jones by birthdate, deathdate, location and more, and present a sourced family tree for my Mary Jones with links to the sources and references located in the Ancestry databases - all on one Mary Jones "Person Page"

If you have ever searched a common name especially in a big city, you'll appreciate how wonderful this will be.

OneWorldTree will be able to validate family trees by verifying them against Ancestry databases of original documents, such as census records. Those trees we have all complained about with long lists of names without any dates or locations will NOT be able to be validated by OneWorldTree. Hurray!

Ancestry says,

"OneWorldTree gathers family trees and family history records for millions of people, analyzes the birth, death and marriage data and then displays the most probable matches for your ancestors."

"OneWorldTree links family history records - through a process we call "stitching". Put simply, these "all-in-one" trees will pool the best resources from our Web site and group them by person."

Want to see what all the fuss is about? Read Ancestry's Description of OneWorldTree. Note that it says the product is still in development which means that Ancestry databases are just starting to be being added to OWT for "stitching".

Try It for Yourself with the FREE preview at OneWorldTree.

    Preview Instructions:
  • Enter a name, click search.
  • You will get a list of matches - however, now duplicates of the same person are now merged (for the name I was searching there are 28 matches in Ancestry World Tree and just 5 in the new OneWorldTree because with OWT there is only one result per person)
  • Click on the person you want to view in more detail based on the birth date, birth place, mother and father.
  • IMPORTANT** Read the info on the preview page, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Continue", and "do not show me this page again".
  • The NEXT screen is a pedigree tree but with links. It lists the person's date of birth and place of birth, spouse and marriage date, children, parents, grandparents and great grandparents, all on one page with links to view more info for each person and the ability to move up and down the tree.

    It also gives source records with links,

    • Search Ancestry Records for that person,
    • Read newspapers from this person's birth year/death year
    • Find the origin and meaning of the name
    • See where people of the same surname lived in 1920.

    This is ALL on one page.

    Ancestry states that it has just begun to add the source data to OneWorldTree which is why it is offering a preview price.

    Try it for yourself at One World Tree Preview. It is free. Then compare your results as I did with Ancestry World Tree

I plan on leaving my family tree on Ancestry World Tree. Cousins have found me in the past using Ancestry World Tree, and I expect with the new improved search, even more cousins will find me. What a great way to share family genealogy.

Ancestry's One World Tree