Frequently Asked Questions

Based on our experiences with other users, we have set up a list of responses to the most frequent queries regarding Ancestral Forest.

What is the difference between a full member and a guest?

A full member owns a family tree and is responsible for its creation and update. A guest may view a family tree if authorised by the full member that owns the tree.


Why do I need permission to view a tree?

The agreement between Ancestral Forest and its members is that we protect their data and leave management of the access to them.


Why do you charge a subscription fee?

We prefer to use subscriptions to finance our work, allowing you, your friends and family to enjoy the fruits of your labour without the distraction of advertising.


Why do you not have a telephone support service?

In common with many internet based service providers, we prefer e-mail based support. It keeps our costs down (allowing us to charge lower subscription fees). The downside is that we don't get to chat with you on a more personal level about your experiences with Ancestral Forest.


Why are users known by their user id rather than their proper names?

To maintain privacy. If a user chooses to disclose their real name to another member or guest, that is fine as long as it is their choice.


Should I get permission from living relatives before adding them to my tree?

Yes. While living relatives are only shown to guests/members who are authorised to see them, you are obliged (both morally and in the case of the UK, to comply with the Data Protection Act) to let your relatives know that you are storing their details.


I already have a family tree stored on a PC based family tree package. I don't want to have to type in all the details again. Can I get this information transferred into Ancestral Forest?

Yes. All you have to do is export your tree from your existing package into a GEDCOM file. As a member, you can then import the tree into Ancestral Forest.


Why do you send authorisation e-mails to members for forwarding rather than directly to the invited guest?

In a word - credibility. We would rather your intended guest received an e-mail from you (who they already know) rather than what may appear to be an unsolicited e-mail from an organisation (Ancestral Forest) they may never have heard of before.


What is a GEDCOM file?

GEDCOM, an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunication, is a specification for exchanging genealogical data between different genealogy computer applications. GEDCOM was developed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an aid to genealogical research and is now used by most genealogy computer applications.

A GEDCOM file is therefore a file of genealogical data that can be passed from one application to another and is usually created by using an "export" function within a genealogy computer application.


Why do you insist on jpeg files for images?

jpeg files (files suffixed with ".jpg") are smaller than most other image file formats. By sticking to this format, we can ensure that your family tree is downloaded to your guests as quickly as possible.


There are hundreds of different fonts available on the internet. Why do you limit the choice of fonts to such a small selection in "My Preferences"?

While you may have a particular font on your PC, it doesn't mean that your guests have it. You family tree will be displayed on your guest's PC which means your chosen font will only be displayed if it exists on their PC. We therefore limit the choice to the most common fonts - not as exciting, but practical.


Why do you only allow 3 generations to be shown on the trees at once?

To ensure that as many guests as possible can display a tree within a reasonable period of time. While we recommend that members have broadband/high speed access, we all have to appreciate that guests may be using relatively slow connection speeds and would find it frustrating waiting for larger family trees to download. This subject is under constant review. We will increase the number of generations when we feel it is appropriate.


Why can't you allow me to contact a member directly using their e-mail address - after all, you collect this information when we register?

It is stated as part of our terms and conditions that we will never disclose a member's e-mail address.


Do you have a policy regarding unacceptable material?

Yes. As stated in our terms and conditions; if it comes to our attention, we will take action against anyone who attempts to store or convey material that is deemed unacceptable by Ancestral Forest. See our terms and conditions for a detailed definition.


What if I decide to cancel my membership?

Your data will be retained on our system until the expiry date of your membership plus 2 weeks. This is to allow you time to export the data you have collected (if you wish). There is no facility to download images(as advised in another FAQ, we recommend that you keep original copies of your images anyway).


Why did you choose the Tudors for your tutorials?

We wanted to provide examples where the family members and their relationships would be reasonably well known to a high proportion of the visitors to this site. We will be adding more examples in the near future.