Despite my efforts so far, “Ole Larson’s Folks” is like two separate web sites, with a lot of links holding them together. The home page, where you land when you direct your browser to “www.olelarsonsfolks.net,” is attached to the blog, where I write about our ancestors, about my research, and occasionally about world history and other topics. Of equal importance, though, is the family tree, which contains the vital statistics and tracks the relationships in our large and far-flung family. While hundreds of links in the blog direct you to individuals in the family tree, and dozens in the tree lead back to the blog, there are differences between the two that you need to be aware of.
The most important difference is the “search” function.
Below is a screenshot of the home page. I added the blue arrows pointing to two places you can click to search, in the top menu (magnifier icon, which appears on every page), and in the sidebar, which is found on most but not all pages. Both of these options search only the blog. You can type in anything, whether an individual’s name, a place name, or any word or phrase, and search for everything I have written about that person or topic.
All well and good, but if you type a name there, it does not search for that person in the family tree. To do that, you must first navigate to the family tree portion of the site. One way is to click on “Family Tree” in the top menu, which takes you to the tree “home” page.
This sidebar, with its search box, only appears on the “tree home” page. On all other pages, there is a second top menu where the first option is “search,” as below.
Both of these functions include an “advanced search” link, where you can enter additional search terms.
Of course, the converse is also true; searching for people in the family tree does not find the good stuff I may have written about them on the blog, which in some cases includes their entire life story.
The third path to a family tree search is in the Family Tree drop-down menu on the home page. Hover over “Family Tree” (don’t click), and select “Search All Names” from the menu that appears.
Note that this takes you to “Advanced Search,” where the surname field is first, then first name, unlike the other search boxes. Don’t worry about all the other fields; just the last and/or first name is enough.
User Accounts – Family Tree Only
For privacy reasons, information on living family members is restricted to registered users. To sign in or register for a new account, you must first navigate to the Family Tree portion of the site. The home (blog) portion is fully public; there is no restricted content nor any user accounts except the administrator (me).
The family tree found here is similar to other trees you may find on Ancestry.com, Geni, FamilySearch Family Tree, and many other sites. However, each site is a bit different from the rest. On our “tree home” page, there is another top navigation menu, along with sidebars on the left and right.
In the left sidebar are features of the tree you may find of interest. On the right are the search box already mentioned, and links to features and resources that are not part of the tree itself. Some are blog articles, others are related websites and articles elsewhere on the Web. In the top menu, you can enter the tree by clicking on “Dad’s Side” or “Mom’s side,” which will take you to the page of my father or mother, respectively. This is where your browsing can begin. Notice are the tabs near the top of the page. The first three are most useful for browsing.
When accessed from the top menu, we land on the “Ancestors” tab of my father’s page. This is a fairly standard pedigree chart. Often, more information can be displayed by hovering over certain items on the page.
Other links may take us to the “Individual” tab instead.
Of course, you can switch between tabs, and jump to any individual whose name is underlined on the page. Please experiment!
On the home page or any blog page, the top menu bar provides several navigation options. Some of the options have drop-down submenus, as shown in the Family Tree example above. Also, clicking the the site title on the left side of the bar will take you back to the home page.
On most pages, there is sidebar, with list of articles to choose from. These are mostly complete profiles of certain ancestors, and collections of blog posts arranged by topic.
On the home page only, the “slider” at the top displays a slideshow of images from featured articles. You can click anywhere on the image currently being displayed to go to the article. A pair of arrows in the lower right allows you to navigate among the featured images.
I hope these tips help you to use and enjoy both sides of “Ole Larson’s Folks.”