Sally - If you don't trust the provider and want full control, then I would support what you are thinking of doing. I run my "proper" data on my PC and keep a (not quite up to date) Ancestry tree as "cousin-bait".
So far as I know, there are just two ways of getting a copy of your data out of Ancestry.
1. Set up a genealogy program on your PC (I am assuming
you run Windows), and then synchronise the data from your tree in Ancestry to the (new and empty) tree on your PC. Then switch off
2. Set up a genealogy program on your PC; export your data out of Ancestry in the form of what's called a GEDCOM file; use the GEDCOM import facility on the new software on your PC to get the data into the new tree on your PC.
- I have no certainty how many PC based genealogy programs will sync with Ancestry. I believe Family Tree Maker will do so (it's actually from Ancestry) but that may be the only one;
- I have no experience of FTM so cannot confirm that sync will work in the "down to a PC" direction. (It ought to - isn't that what synchronise means?);
- Many PC programs are a bit cranky when it comes to exporting and importing GEDCOM files. Programmers (I was one once) often find reading manuals to be boring so their GEDCOM files might not look like they should - you will need to double check what you've imported;
- With that in mind, do not mess about now with doing two exports or syncs from Ancestry. Just get it all down once, fix the issues, and then, if you still want to do a cousin bait tree, you can take a copy and rip that down to the public data before (with a wave of a hand) loading it up somewhere on public view;
- That cousin bait need not be a tree - it could be a series of reports out of your PC program (restricted to the public stuff) and loaded onto something like a free Wordpress site.
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