Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Embedding a pedigree chart in your blog?

During last week's MORE Blogging for Beginners Webinar, questions arose about "embedding" a .PDF file in a blog. Though Blogger.com doesn't host those files and accepts only image files, there are a number of possible solutions from outside sources.

CAUTION: This is going to be a long blog posting, so save this for a time when you aren't rushed.

During the webinar, Ol' Myrt here suggested uploading the .PDF of your family group sheet or pedigree chart to Google Docs, and then making the file public. For the item to show up in your blog, you'd have to link to the file from within a blog posting. Here are the basic steps I took to accomplish this task:

I created a pedigree chart in RootsMagic, and then elected to save the file as a .PDF, shown below:

Then I logged in at Google, selected Documents, and browsed my hard drive for the file to upload.

I deselected the "convert" options, since I am not expecting anyone to edit the pedigree chart for me. When I clicked after uploading the file, I found the file in the listing of my Google Docs, and clicked to share, with the "public on the web" option selected as shown below.

I was surprised to see the next screen that included the link I could easily copy/paste back in my blog posting, so you all can see my .PDF pedigree chart. (This clearly saved me from having to open the file to copy the URL for the Google Doc file from my browser's address bar.) Note, this screen also permits sharing using Facebook and Twitter accounts, etc.

Sunday's post Across My Desk: 6 March 2011 Ideas for Blogging spotlighted Mark Tucker's suggestion of using Zoom.it to view larger graphics that normally get downsized by your web browser.


Thomas MacEntee's Open Thread Thursday - Embedding Research  on Your Blog or Website reintroduces the WikiTree Widget. He also asked for comments about work-arounds other bloggers may be using.

    Websites are different from blogs... Getting your research up on your website is easily accomplished using most mainstream genealogy programs. You just have to reserve the domain name and web hosting services, then upload the "website" that is generated by your genealogy program.You can elect to use a slightly more complicated program called The Next Generation of Genealogy Site Building by Darrin Lythgoes.

    Blogs on the other hand... are a little more challenging when in comes to displaying what you've currently compiled about your ancestors. (Remember, Blogger.com accepts only image files - videos or graphics.) But it also permits "html" code to create "widgets." So, because of Thomas' suggestion, I decided to try the WikiTree Widget concept, thinking it would provide possible new-found cousins with a link to my family history data.

    So, I uploaded my sample GEDCOM file today at WikiTree.com and received an email once the file had been processed. (Unlike Ancestry.com, WikiTree.com doesn't process your GEDCOM file right away, but saves it in a queue to process during non-peak time periods.) Later, I uploaded graphics and edited information on ancestors. By going to my "contributions" page, I was able to pick the widget style I wished. I've copied and pasted the "html code" for two WikiTree.com widgets below:

    + more at the collaborative, worldwide WikiTree.

    WikiTree - growing the world's family tree
    Join me @ WikiTree

    WikiTree "contributions" widgets like those pictured above are great for your Blogger.com blog's navigation bar. You can choose from these and other styles and sizes to fit your blog design.

    WikiTree family tree widgets under consideration, and not yet publicly available will look something like this. (Kinda cool, huh?)

    These are so interesting, that Ol' Myrt here recommends creating a Blogger.com "Page" to prominently show off these beauties, once they are out of beta. (Thanks to Chris at WikiTree.com for making this widget for Ol' Myrt. If you like either of these widgets, then be sure to give Chris some feedback about them by sending an email, or commenting to this blog posting.)

    Why use a Blogger.com "page" rather than just placing this enhanced photo pedigrees in a blog posting? Postings "scroll off" the page as time marches on. Something like these pedigree charts could be more readily accessible if you post a link on your nav bar, or a tab, known as a "page" in Blogger.com. The label for the "tab/page" might be "Genealogy".  Alternately, you might have a "tab/page" for each of your 4 grandparents' surnames. To add content to the Blogger.com "tab/page" merely insert the photo pedigree widget and then add links to blog postings you make about people pictured in the widget from time to time as you make those special postings.

    OPTION 4

    You could also link to your public Ancestry Family Tree. See my test GEDCOM file here. (I copied and pasted the URL from my tree to make the text "my test GEDCOM file here" clickable. My Ancestry.com tree is "public" though information on living people is privatized. You upload your GEDCOM file and receive notices of matches within Ancestry.com databases and scanned image collections, and trees uploaded by other researchers.

    OPTION 5
    You could also link to your public tree at MyHeritage.com. Here's the link to my test GEDCOM file here. Here you can upload your GEDCOM file and receive notices of matches in trees uploaded by other researcher.

    OPTION 6
    Geni.com also permits data entry to create a page for each person, but there is no GEDCOM file import option.

    Ol' Myrt here thinks blogging is a great way to "get the word out" about your family history research. Consider the following rating system:
    • GOOD - Create a series of blog posts to honor each ancestor.
    • BETTER - Include scanned images of photos and documents to preserve the information. (Remember Google owns Blogger, and spiders new blog posts within 5-6 minutes of publication.)
    • BEST -  Provide a link to your online genealogy data whether in newly-emerging "widget" format, or via a hyperlink only serves to share your research 24/7 when you are not there to answer emails or reply to blog comments.
    When it comes to blogging, let's give it our BEST efforts.

    For more information, join me next Tuesday for DearMYRTLE's Blog Tweaking Workshop Webinar (c). 

    Happy family tree climbing!
    Myrt     :)
    Your friend in genealogy.


    1. Hey Myrt!

      I love this post, and I love how the embedded trees look here. Your family pictures are awesome. Such character. I'm imagining entire personalities just based on those little thumbnails.

      By the way, a cool thing about these widgets is that they're dynamic. If you create a PDF or an image it's a static, flat file. If you later discover more information you'll need to create a new PDF or image. The WikiTree widgets will automatically update with the latest information. So, if one of those distant cousins finds your blog post or page and can make a contribution, her changes will appear and be ready for the next cousin to come along and add even more.



      P.S. I need to investigate why the contribution widgets aren't formatting cleanly above. It should be an easy fix. I'll e-mail you.

    2. I'm surprised that you did not note a way to actually embed a PDF file on a website. Not being familiar with Blogger, I cannot state for certain whether this will work.

      However, you can upload PDF files as either public or private documents on Scribd (www.scribd.com). The site provides HTML code that allows you to embed the Scribd reader on any page. This reader will allow you to view the entire file without clicking on any links.

      So if your blog platform allows you to use HTML codes, you can embed a PDF directly in your blog.

      The following link (from a past Examiner column) shows this in action, though with only a 1-page PDF: http://exm.nr/f8BRLx

      It would work identically with multi-page documents, as on the following webpage: http://haitfamilyresearch.com/OnlineStates.aspx

      This second example also demonstrates that hyperlinks that were active in the original PDF file would still be active in the Scribd reader.

    3. Hiya Michael,
      What Ol' Myrt here was referring to was the inability of Blogger.com to host the .pdf directly, as with inserting an image.

      Indeed there are numerous work-arounds.

      Thanks for adding to the conversation.

    4. Great post Myrt! Thanks for sharing those options with us. I have been looking into ways I can embed a family tree onto some of my family websites. I think I will look more into WikiTree!

      Thanks again for sharing!