Retiring my Family Tree on RootsWeb’s WorldConnect

Our Meder-Dempsey Family, a GEDCOM file, was uploaded to RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project on 6 December 2002. It was renamed Opening Doors in Brick Walls in October 2011. The file was continuously updated until December 2017 when the site was taken down for security reasons by Ancestry®. (RootsWeb’s WorldConnect was brought back online in April 2018. All links in posts on this blog are redirected to the new beta site. As of 9 August 2021, WorldConnect was set to read-only and no further GEDCOM uploads are possible.)  ~ From my About page on this blog

I recently found this banner at the top of my GEDCOM file on RootsWeb.

Screenshot (25 Feb 2023) of my GEDCOM file on RootsWeb’s WorldConnect.

Note: WorldConnect family trees will be removed from RootsWeb on April 15, 2023 and will be migrated to Ancestry later in 2023. (More info)

On the “More info” page there isn’t much more information about this other than:

“WorldConnect family trees (last updated on 9 August 2021) will be retired on 15 April 2023 and migrated to Ancestry as a new free-access collection later in the year. For help removing a tree or its content, contact us.”

Last Saturday I sent a message using their contact form with two questions.

  1. Would the individuals’ links redirect to Ancestry‘s new collection?

  2. Can the tree be removed after migration?

A reply came yesterday. Following the standard explanation about the change, two sentences appear to answer my questions.

“Migrating these features will create an opportunity for members to download, update and build more family trees, share posts and their own research. Once migration is complete, there will be no redirects and the files will probably behave similarly to Public Member Trees in Ancestry.”

They did not clearly state that the trees can be deleted from the collection after migration. The only reason I had not deleted my tree on WorldConnect was when they ported the trees (mine on 19 November 2019) I was told that the individuals’ links would redirect to the new URLs. Since I began blogging, hundreds of links to the file have been added to posts. To date, these have been redirected to the beta site. With the planned migration to Ancestry, all links on this blog to my GEDCOM file will be broken links.

Time to Retire the GEDCOM File

The GEDCOM file is outdated. It’s been over five years since the tree on RootsWeb was updated (upload of the file). From that time on errors have been found and corrected and new information has been added to my database.

In November 2019, the formatting of the notes and sources after porting left much to be desired. I have no idea how this will look in the new collection Ancestry has planned. If Ancestry can migrate the GEDCOM file last uploaded to WorldConnect before the December 2017 shutdown, it should “behave” like any GEDCOM file uploaded to Ancestry. However, if the GEDCOM was corrupted when ported to the new site, the result may be less than desired.

This morning I sent a request to have my tree deleted before migration. I did this with a heavy heart. My tree has grown and been pruned during the 20-plus years it has lived on WorldConnect.

I continue to build my database in my genealogy software Ancestral Quest. Backups are kept in Dropbox, IDrive, and on an external drive. I don’t consider Ancestry a good place to store a backup.

The last time I tried to upload my GEDCOM file to Ancestry with notes and sources, I got a message that it was over their limit. I never had problems uploading it to WorldConnect. I resorted to uploading a GEDCOM file – for research purposes only – stripped of notes and sources and made it private but searchable. I have a small public tree on Ancestry, FTDNA, Gedmatch, MyHeritage, and Geneanet with only direct ancestors and no notes or sources as a courtesy to DNA matches.

Friendships and cousinships developed over the years and a week without a post-em was unusual. I’ve missed interacting with people who found their relatives in Opening Doors in Brick Walls on WorldConnect but the connections continue to be made here on my blog of the same name. Ending this on a positive note: retirement isn’t a bad thing.

© 2023, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

25 thoughts on “Retiring my Family Tree on RootsWeb’s WorldConnect”

      1. What is the reason for not wanting your tree on Ancestry? The tree on Ancestry would be a welcome resource for people doing their own research in the future. Will you be putting all your work into a book where others can benefit from all the years of your hard work. I guess I just don’t understand. So sorry to hear this news.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Jose, I believe a follow-up post explaining how and why I used RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project as a “home” for my GEDCOM file may be needed.
        I don’t want an old version of my work on Ancestry even if it is supposed to be part of a free collection. We do not know what the new collection will look like. The file was already corrupted when they ported it in 2019. To prevent it from reflecting poorly on my work as a genealogist, I have decided to not allow them to migrate it.
        I had a look at Ancestry’s GEDCOM upload page and found that they must have increased the size to “less than 500MB.” I’ll have to think about it.


      3. Thank you for you prompt reply. I now understand your reasoning and I agree. Since I do my work on Ancestry from the beginning, nothing happens to my work, so I am safe to keep my work on Ancestry. Thanks again. Jose from Clarkston, Michigan, USA

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It is with heavy heart this has to end. You put heart and soul into this but like you said “all good thing come to an end”
        I work 20 yrs on my father side of his family an used root web. I have 3 big albums with all the records needed. It comes alive to me when I pick one up. I love and cherish it. I did the same for my husband but his was not difficult as mine.
        Our children and grandchildren can carry it on.
        It is wonderful to have.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Cathy, As a cousin to you, I am terrified that all of your research will disappear. I use your information in building my trees. Any chance that you can save off your research and put it all in a book? I appreciate all you have done to make things easier for others in their research. Where will I be able to view all of your data in the future? A place not on Ancestry?
    Bonnie Nuffer (Peters)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sharon, you will continue to get my blog posts. I believe a follow-up post explaining how and why I used RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project as a “home” for my GEDCOM file may be needed. Thank you.


    1. Luanne, no need to worry about my work. The blog will continue and I have taken precautions (backups of the blog) so the work will not be lost. I believe a follow-up post explaining how and why I used RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project as a “home” for my GEDCOM file may be needed.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Gerard, I don’t think wikitree would be the solution. It might be a good tool to do collaborative research on a specific ancestor. But I don’t see myself adding people one at a time after confirming or rejecting suggested matches when my GEDCOM file has 117,000 individuals. What we have with Luxracines Genealogy Network is the closest to what I had with WorldConnect.


  2. If I am reading this correctly, you are not ending the blog, just the connection to the WorldTree. Right? I’ve never trusted those “world trees” where people can add and delete like Geni or FamilySearch. But to be honest, I’ve no idea what the WorldTree on Ancestry was like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amy, I’m not ending the blog. RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project was not like Geni or FamilySearch where people can add and delete. It was a way to share my entire family tree for FREE. I believe a follow-up post explaining how and why I used RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project as a “home” for my GEDCOM file may be needed.

      Liked by 1 person

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