|This article originally appeared in The Official Guide to RootsWeb.com by Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG and Tana Pedersen Lord.|
With more than 465 million names on file, WorldConnect is one of the largest collections of free family trees available online. Submitted by family historians from around the world, these trees can literally save you years of research and enable you to discover cousins on many branches of your family tree. Not only do they provide you with valuable information, they are also a way to contact others who may be researching your relatives. New researchers often think of only their immediate family when they begin to search, but there may be dozens of cousins out there who descend from the same ancestors as you or who connect to your tree via another branch. Even in-laws, half-, and step-relatives may have valuable information.
Online trees are also a great way for you to share and exchange the family information you have gathered. By submitting your tree to WorldConnect, you may help someone complete their family picture or find a distant cousin to collaborate with.
History of WorldConnect
WorldConnect has a genealogy of its own. In its early days in 1994 and 1995, very few genealogical databases were online, and there were only a few genealogy-related websites. A group of people formed the GenWeb group to discuss the possibilities of combining family history and the Internet. During the next few years, computer programmers experimented with converting GEDCOMs to formats that could be read online. Then on 10 November 1999, RootsWeb announced the launch of the WorldConnect Project after staff members and users submitted 5.5 million records during a four-week testing period. Now, WorldConnect grows daily as more and more family historians share their information.