7 Feb 2020
The information on this site relates, for the mainpart, about my own surname. I have been involved in Dowling family history for over 30 years and running a website for maybe 23 years of that. I am not that technical and have a love/hate relationship with computers and software that never seem to live up to the hype.
The site, years ago, suffered a serious crash leading to website data loss and for years was only a remnant of its former self. Years ago the site held sections mostly divided by topics (Dowlings of the World, WW2, Fashion, Sport, Trivia, etc., etc.). Using the software at the time this became massive and too much work each time a new page was created for each new item. The upside of this was that I understood what I was doing! This not only incurred time costs but the site hosts complained about its traffic.
I embarked up swaping site hosts, several times. Along came 'Cascading Style Sheets' and now I couldn't work out which bit of a webpage was done by which bit of code. I was advised to use a 'content management' approach to site maintenance that was "simple and easy". It was neither simple nor easy and I do not understand the logic used to this day. With a change of site host this led to another catastrophic loss of the site. I was left with a few back-ups that, while they contained the data, were not able to be simply re-uploaded. I had many kind words of support and was pointed to an archives to rebuild the site. What seemed a solution still resulted in lost formatting and so much gobbledegook it was unusable with my skills. Keeping in mind that this was a part-time hobby and I wanted to connect Dowlings not write software code.
An attempt at rebuilding the hard way just ended with the site being neglected as the amount of previous pages was a veritable mountain and my ability to create a page with the new content management software made each page a trial.
Enter TNG 'The Next Generation of Genealogy' Sitebuilding software. By no means straighforward, it did nevertheless resolve a number of complexities in sitebuilding for me to make regenerating the site viable. TNG had a huge learning curve and was, again, not as simple as the TNG website states. After that long learning curve, thinking that certain problems were down to my poor skills I learned a year in that TNG either publishes private data OR, as an alternative to keeping facts private, refers to a deceased person as 'Living'. This may be fine for others but was not suitable for my use.
I sought help from the Guild of One-Name Studies and was recommended to try GedSite and that is what I use now. It still has a learning curve but, in my opinion, shorter than other approaches. It has many basic 'no frills' elements but mostly it seems more logical and, I think, I understand those 'Cascading Style Sheets' now!
For those who remember the old site, where there was enough information, 'topic' pages have been transferred to individual entries in the Dowling One Name Study. This was easier for most 'Dowlings of the World' pages but tricky for some trivia topics.
As I learn more about GedSite I hope more will be easier to find for you and maybe we can inject some lighter elements back in.