Friday, November 18, 2011

Fun Stuff You Can Do with Weebly

Well, okay, you can almost certainly do this with other web hosting companies, too. But it’s really easy on Weebly, and that’s why I’m doing it.

I’ve been playing around with using Weebly to create a family tree/genealogy toolbox website - Greta’s Genealogy - about my ancestors and my husband’s ancestors. I am not using my genealogy program to do this, but am creating it page by page, link by link. This way, not only do I not have to wait until I can update my program to the latest version and learn how to use it to create web cards, I can tailor the pages the way I want to.

While it probably would have been enough just to put up the family lines, hanging out in the genealogy blogging community has had its effect: I knew I should somehow deal with the issue of sources.

But how? A number of genealogy programs that can be used to build a family tree website incorporate ways to include footnotes, where you can click on the footnote number and it will take you to the source citation.

I wanted something like that. I figured I would set up a source page, insert the footnote numbers on the family pages, and link them to the source page. But I decided I would like to add something more.

When I was creating family tree pages, I noticed that there are four different kinds of links that can be made:

1. Links to another website,
2. Links to another page on my website,
3. Links to a file on my website, and
4. Links to an e-mail address.

Number 3 was the one that interested me. You can, of course, insert images on the pages, but I don’t want to include too many images that will clutter up the pages; most of the images I will be using directly on the pages will probably be photographs.

So here’s how the links work:

Family page with footnotes (they are the small red things in this picture) (or you can link to this page here):

Clicking on the footnote number takes you to the source page (or you can link to the source page here):

The footnote is in turn linked to the image of the source (or you can see the source here):

So far I have just done one footnote, to see whether this works the way I want it to (it does). I can’t say that I’ll be adding every single footnote right away; I’m still doing a lot of experimentation, and I really do want to get the names out there as soon as possible. And that is working, too - I got my first Google Alert from the site the other day. As a matter of fact, it’s the first Google Alert I’ve received since I set up several earlier this year, so now I know that Google Alerts is working, too.

I am actually using my Reunion program for some of the items at Greta’s Genealogy. Right now I am using descendant reports for the pages of the siblings of my direct ancestors, and later I would like to have some cool charts to use, such as those Linda McCauley of Documenting the Details has put up on her family tree website, McCauley, Lanier, Hankins, Hopkins & Taylor Families. And she is not the only blogger I plan to steal ideas from emulate: Valerie Craft of the Begin with Craft blog has some neat features on her site, Begin with Craft - in particular I like the Google Maps there.

Sheesh, what a geek I am.

And that is my disclaimer: Weebly did not pay me anything to write this. They didn't have to; I just wanted to geek out. And to think - I probably wouldn't be doing any of this stuff if I hadn't started hanging out with the genealogy blogging crowd.


  1. Thanks for the shout out!

    I really like the look of your site. All the Weebly sites I've seen have a clean, focused look to them. I'm in the mood to redesign and unclutter my site.

  2. Darn, Greta! I visited all the links you discussed and now I have more blogs to follow and a lot mote great techie things-to-do in my pile.... But, I'll say 'thank you, very much' anyway!!!

  3. Your site looks great, and I love your approach. My own website is on the back burner right now. One reason is that Google Sites is so limited. I'd love to switch to Weebly but worry about longevity. My goal is for the site to outlive me. Not sure if Weebly will.

  4. Linda - thank you! We must all have the "declutter" bug - that's why I took some things off of my blog.

    MHD - Hah! but those techie things can be fun....

    Susan - I'm also worried about longevity, but I decided to take the risk, anyway - I even bought my domain today! I'm hoping Weebly will be popular, kinda like Blogger, because it's so easy.

  5. Great post, Greta! I use Weebly for my PTA's website and it is so easy to use (and I love the free cost too!). I didn't think about doing a family history/genealogy webpage, but I rather think you've inspired me

  6. Love, love, love the post. Love, love, love the site. I am thrilled to know about Weebly.
    As for the concerns about longevity. . .I am coming to terms with the fact that anything I use today will not be around in five years, if the last five years are any indicator. I still think permanence is elusive and all we family historians can strive for is building a community that helps us carry our stories forward.

  7. Beautiful layout, Greta! I'm gonna have to figure out how you did the sidebar menu. I'm going to steal ... er, emulate ... your ideas onto my Weebly website too! I like the way the sources link to your documents - much cleaner than my photos and documents all lumped up at the bottom of each person's page.

    Something else for the ol' to-do list, I suppose :)

  8. Cheryl - I'm hoping to use this page to share research with my family and my husband's family. Wish there had been something like this back in my PTA and Girl Scout days - so handy!

    dkaysdays - I'm just hoping that if I ever have to change platforms, it won't be too traumatic. Maybe if that ever happens, by that time I'll be able to afford to hire a professional to get me through the process.

    Jenny - I think the template with the slide-out bars may have been a later option that Weebly added. I played the different templates and liked that one the best. And I definitely took many ideas from your website - so glad to have someone to "compare notes" with!

  9. Greta, My you have been busy! I do like what you are doing. I'm not particularly familiar with Weebly but you make it all sound fairly easy which causes me to want to look in deeper.

    Thanks for the links to Linda and Valerie's sites. I like what they are doing too.

    Did you have to purchase your domain name from Weebly to set up your site with them? I get confused as to how all that works sometimes.

  10. Michelle - You do not have to purchase your own name, though you are given the opportunity to (every time you "publish" the site they let you know that the name you have given your site is available for purchase). I eventually ended up doing that anyway. I love Weebly because I eventually realized that I could do by hand what I thought I would have to use my genealogy program to do (and did know how to).

  11. Ok..I know I'm a bit late on this one but due to Linda McCauley's post yesterday about needing to have a website, I went to Jenny's which I had bookmarked long ago and followed back to her timely blog on Weebly, then connected to your post from there and ended up creating my own site yesterday afternoon. Still a work in progress but it IS easy and I'm having fun with it. Sure glad you all posted about it recently because it was good timing for me and I'm getting a lot of pointers from your Weebly websites, thanks!

  12. Lisa - You really got a lot done on your website in one day, and it looks so elegant. That's what I like about Weebly. I'm still tinkering around with mine and will be checking yours and Jenny's for ideas.

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  14. I had created a weebly site just for the purpose of genealogy, but I didn't quite know what to do from there. I found your site, and it has given me a model. THank you!

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  16. Unfortunately, Weebly has changed the method for editing and providing pages, so that links no longer work and every new pages simply gets the title "New Page." It is no longer a genealogy-friendly web hosting site. I will probably be looking for a new web hosting site.

  17. They have now deleted my site. No loss, really.

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