Disclaimer: I was asked by Dynastree.com to do a review of their website. However, they are not paying me to do this review. The only “perk” that I have received is a premium subscription to their site for one month, therefore enabling me to do a more in-depth review of the website. All of my opinions about this website have not been swayed by Dynastree.com or any other website. I have tried to write an honest review, and hopefully, it will give you some insights into Dynastree.com.
First of all, what is Dynastree.com? From my experiences, I would say that this is a website for a group of genealogists researching the same family, ancestor, or line to post their findings in a collaborative form. This website also helps family members keep in touch through things like messages, calendars, and photos. Here is how Dynastree.com defines their website.
My first impression from looking at this website was how cartoon-y it is. Personally, it is nice to see a website that has a fun and upbeat feeling to it. While your family tree is loading, a cute little cartoon guy pops up with the words “loading data” above him. The entire website has this colorful feel to it which is really nice.
As I started exploring the features of the website, what instantly caught my eye was the many different views I could use to see my family tree. These views included a descendant view, ancestor view (which is default), ancestor circle, hourglass, and a family tree view. The family tree view is the view to use to edit a person. You can also zoom in or out, and choose how many generations to show (0-10 generations for ancestors and descendants). I am a huge fan of how customizable the website is when viewing your family tree.
I was intrigued by what is called “Family Page” (This is a feature of the premium membership). The Family Pages are like a personal web page to display your family tree. I love it! You have the ability to share your family tree, write a family blog, and choose your web address (the web address is in the form of dynastree.com/pages/yourchoice). You can write a welcome greeting and a description of your family tree, with nearly the same capability as a word processor.
With a basic membership you get a few basic statistics such as the number of people in your tree and the number of those people that are direct ancestors. Premium members get extra statistics such as the gender distribution, average lifespan, and frequent places of birth. While these statistics are very interesting, it isn’t something that would probably help you with your research.
I love the photo section because of the many features that come with it. For example, you have the tagging feature (similar to what Facebook has – it is very useful!), cropping and rotating abilities, and you can even add a note to the picture. These features are so useful to have! And it is even better that everyone in your family can upload pictures and identify the people in them!
There are other smaller features that I feel need to be mentioned (but don’t necessarily deserve another paragraph). The website also has a messaging feature that allows you to send a message to anyone on the site. The family maps features is pretty cool and useful in giving you the relative proximity of the locations that different events took place at.
While I love this site, I can’t deny the bottom line. The bottom line is that unless you have family members that are tech savvy enough to get online and are willing to participate, this website will not be a great resource. Personally, this would not be a resource that my family would use only because they are not comfortable using computers.
But for the genealogist with an active family (lucky you!) this is definitely a resource to look into.