Frequently Asked Questions:
  1. How do I edit or delete my family tree? How do I remove duplicate files?
  2. My computer locks up/freezes up. What can I do?
  3. My address changed. Whom do I tell?
  4. How do I subscribe/unsubscribe to a mailing list, the RootsWeb Review, or the Product Watch?
  5. How do I correct an error in your database?
  6. I need a password. My password doesn't work. May I change my password?
  7. My name is shown on your site; how do I remove it?
  8. I am starting to research my family. Where do I begin?
  9. I'm an AOL user, and I have this odd problem...
  10. What are Post-em Notes? How do I use them?
  11. All my e-mails are bouncing. Why can't I e-mail

Click here, or on the "Help" tab of any masthead, to view all help pages.

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Family trees submitted to (WorldConnect Project) and (Ancestry World Tree and Online Family Tree) were recently merged into one master database, which can be viewed from either site. You must use the tools at the original upload site to edit or remove any of the family trees appearing in the database.

How to identify where a file was uploaded

Each family tree has a unique user code, which appears after the equal sign in the URL (address) of the family tree. For example, "winch" in the addresses shown below is the user code for that family tree.

If the user code begins with a colon, it indicates the file was originally uploaded through the site. User codes that begin with a colon followed by an "a" indicate it was uploaded through Ancestry World Tree (for example, =:a39874). If there is not an "a" behind the colon, it was uploaded through's Online Family Tree (for example, =:139370).

If the user code does not begin with a colon, your file was submitted via's WorldConnect Project.

How to edit or remove your Online Family Tree file

  1. Go to the homepage at
  2. Select the Family Trees tab and click on the Login Here link at the top of that page to enter your username and password.
  3. Click on the Advanced Options link which is located just above the Online Family Tree box where your trees are listed.
  4. Select the tree you wish to view.

To edit an individual in your Online Family Tree, click on the person's name and it will open up the Edit Individual window. Make the changes you desire and then select Save. You can also select Edit Individual by right clicking the name of the individual.

To add children, a spouse, or parents to an individual on the tree, right click on the individual and select Add Child, Add Spouse, Add Father, or Add Mother from the window. Then, simply enter the necessary information and choose Save when finished.

Once you have edited your file, you may submit the changes to the World Tree by selecting the World Icon with a red arrow pointing up. Any new information added on to the Online Family Tree will be added to the file on the World Tree.

To delete a person from the family tree, highlight the name by holding your cursor over the name until it changes color. Now, choose Edit from the task bar and select Delete Individual. Choose OK to complete the deletion.

To delete an entire Online Family Tree file, select the trash can button to the right of the listed tree. Once selected, the tree will be deleted and removed from the Online Family Tree (and the Ancestry World Tree if it is posted there).

How to remove your Ancestry World Tree file

If your user code begins with a colon and an "a," indicating it was submitted through the Ancestry World Tree, it can be removed by contacting's Customer Support. It may take several days for the changes to be reflected at WorldConnect Project.

How to edit your family tree at

To edit a family tree submitted through WorldConnect Project, you will use either the standard or advanced User Setup/Edit form. These are the same forms used to submit your family trees. Basic instructions are shown below. Detailed instructions can be found here.

  1. Go into your genealogy program (Family Tree Maker, PAF, etc.) and make the correction; save it.
  2. Create a new GEDCOM file from the revised file.
  3. Upload the revised GEDCOM into the WorldConnect Project, with the same User Code you originally used. This is important because the User Code ensures that your new file will overwrite the old one. If you have forgotten your User Code or password, you can retrieve them from Password Central.

How to remove your family tree at

To remove your WorldConnect Project GEDCOM file and/or account, enter your user code and password on the User Setup/Edit form and select "Standard." At the bottom of the page choose one of these options.

  • "Remove GEDCOM" removes your GEDCOM file, but leaves your user code and password so you can reuse it later.
  • "Remove Account" removes everything — your user code, password, and GEDCOM.

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We occasionally receive reports of this problem, usually associated with outdated or damaged video or mouse drivers, or outdated video cards. This has proven to be a successful work-around for Windows users.

  1. Click "Start" on your browser's taskbar.
  2. Click "Settings."
  3. Click "Control Panel."
  4. Click "System."
  5. Click the "Performance" tab.
  6. Click the "Graphics" button.
  7. Move the "Hardware Acceleration" slider one notch to the left.
  8. Click "OK" to exit all screens.
  9. Restart your computer and test.
  10. Repeat the steps and move the slider another notch to the left if necessary.


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If you are like most users, there will be multiple areas within that need to know about your address change. The help page on address changes explains how to update your address in each of them.


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The easiest way to subscribe or unsubscribe to one of our mailing lists is to follow the links on our index at to find the list you want. Click on its name and you will find links for subscribing, unsubscribing, contacting the list administrator, and accessing the archives (if applicable). If you are having difficulty subscribing or unsubscribing, please contact the list administrator.

You can subscribe/unsubscribe to the RootsWeb Review and/or Product Watch by using the Newsletter Management Center.

If you are still receiving newsletters at your old address after unsubscribing, this usually means we have more than one address on file for you. Look at the bottom of the newsletter you received and follow the instructions shown to unsubscribe from it.

If you need further assistance, please contact the HelpDesk.



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Errors found in databases typically cannot be updated or changed, just as you would not expect a census record to be updated if you found an error. On most of our databases we offer you the ability to use our Post-em Notes. Post-em Notes enable you to attach a notation to a database record, giving corrected information.

If you find an error in the Social Security Death Index, you should contact your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office. Be sure to bring documentation with you. They will correct the main Death Master File (DMF), and the change will be distributed to those who maintain copies of the file with the next set of updates. They will also give you a verification document of SSA's current records, which you can use as proof of the error. You will want to add a Post-em Note to the file, as it may take a while before we get the update.

If you find an error in a database that originated from a state agency, you may want to notify them of the error, in addition to adding a Post-em Note to the record. They recognize that there may be data entry errors, and users may discover an error such as a misspelling of a name or an incorrect date. Most state indexes are static and cannot be altered. However, if you are concerned that the original certificate is in error, most states suggest you file an amendment to the certificate with the correct information.

If you find an error in a file submitted by an individual, such as a GEDCOM file in our WorldConnect Project, you may use a Post-em Note to flag the error. However, you should also contact the submitter with the correct information. The submitter owns the files, not


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You can verify or retrieve your passwords from Password Central. It also has other helpful information you can access, such as which mailing lists you are subscribed to.

You do not need a password for most programs and resources at If passwords are required, generally you will be able to determine your own; a few areas use passwords to ensure that only you access your files, or to thwart spammers from harvesting addresses. (Such areas include the WorldConnect Project, the RootsWeb Surname List (RSL), and Post-em Notes.)

A few areas have assigned passwords, which cannot be changed. Examples are administrative accounts for webmasters, and the Personalized Mailing List program (PML) — a benefit extended to former contributors at the Sponsor level and above.


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Return to HelpDesk will not alter or censor legitimate research compiled from public domain information. This includes files available through various national or state agencies, and files submitted by individuals. Individual submissions include files appearing in our WorldConnect Project or on personal homepages. encourages individual submitters to exclude information on the living — the default settings for the WorldConnect Project include cleaning living persons from the file. If a submitter made a conscious decision to include information on the living, we will not alter that. If your name appears within a GEDCOM file, and you would like to have it removed, you should contact the submitter. They own the file — not

Please keep in mind that removing information on living individuals is a courtesy on the part of the submitter rather than a protection. Most information on living individuals contained in the WorldConnect Project can also be found at numerous locations on the Internet.


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The following page gives an overview of the more popular areas of and offers tips on how to use them to maximize your results and expand your research. In addition, you will find a wealth of information in RootsWeb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees, a series of free lessons covering a variety of topics.


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  • I have experienced problems with e-mail since upgrading to AOL 6.0.
    Some users have experienced format problems when they upgrade. AOL 6.0 sends e-mail to the Internet in a multi-part, alternative format that includes support for both plain text and HTML. This new feature lets AOL members send rich-text mail (including font formatting, faces, colors, and sizes) to Internet recipients.

    When e-mailing to a mailing list, you will need to use the plain-text setting. users report the following method will enable AOL version 6.0 users to send plain text e-mails.

    1. Compose your e-mail.
    2. Right click inside the text box.
    3. Click "Select All" (at the bottom of the menu).
    4. Right click in the text box again.
    5. Click "Text."
    6. Click "Normal."
    7. Send the e-mail in the usual way.

    In response to our questions, AOL responded with the following suggestions (abbreviated here):

    1. When authoring mail in AOL 6.0, remove all formatting from the message body and send the message in the AOL 6.0 default font of Arial, 10 point. Do not include any bolds, italics, underlines, colors, or other styles.
    2. Use AOL Mail on the Web (at to send mail to Internet addresses that reject formatting. AOL Mail on the Web sends mail as plain text only.

    If you are cutting and pasting, be sure you are not picking up extra characters or backgrounds. That can result in gibberish when it goes to a list.

  • I am not receiving the RootsWeb Review or the Product Watch.
    1. Verify the following addresses are on your accept list:
  (for the RootsWeb Review)
  (for the Product Watch)
    2. 2. Subscribe to the newsletters again by using our Newsletter Management Center.

  • The URL (address) I have for a website doesn't work.
    1. Look for a ? or # in the last segment of the address. If there is a question mark in the last segment, remove the ? and everything behind it; if there is a # sign, remove it and everything behind it. Keep removing one segment at a time until you have a valid address.
    2. By looking at the original address, you should be able to follow the links to the address you need or want.

  • I am having a problem uploading my GEDCOM file to the WorldConnect Project.
    • AOL users with MACs may have problems uploading their GEDCOM using AOL's built-in Internet Explorer browser. Try uploading with Netscape instead. If that fails, submit your GEDCOM file via postal mail.


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Post-em Notes enable researchers to help fill in missing pieces of existing files. They are the electronic equivalent of a yellow sticky note. They allow you to attach information — for example, your e-mail address, a link to another Web address, or corrected data — to the record of any individual in the Social Security Death Index, the WorldConnect Project, and many other databases at

Post-em Notes require a password, which you select. Should you ever forget your password, you can retrieve it from Password Central.


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Return to HelpDesk continually adjusts mail filters to minimize spam. We recently set our mail program to use MAPS databases to block incoming spam. MAPS, the Mail Abuse Prevention System (see maintains several lists of known sources of network abuse, including:

  • The Realtime Blackhole List (RBL): a list of network providers that are known to host spammers, that have spam-friendly policies, and that have not acted promptly to cut off spammers or prohibit spamming.
  • The Dialup List (DUL): a list of netblocks that ISPs use for dial-up modem pools.
  • The Relay Spam Stopper (RSS): a list of open relays that are known to be abused by spammers.

If your mail has been caught in the MAPS filters, it will look similar to this:

----- Transcript of session follows -----
... while talking to
>>> MAIL From:
<<< 550 5.0.0 Mail from refused by blackhole site

As with all Spam-blocking systems, it is possible (though unlikely) to reject mail from legitimate users.

What should you do. First, immediately contact your ISP (your local Internet provider) by phone or e-mail. Your ISP will need a copy of the e-mail message you received. Your ISP will probably need to make some minor changes to its mail software, and will then need to contact MAPS at to remove itself from the listing.