Sunday, June 20, 2010

FAQ about our Registration -- Updated Dec 31, 2012

What is a Google Account 
and why do I need it?
Updated 02/01/2012
A: Google Account defined here.

We use Google's internal systems to authenticate the E-mail accounts of persons who are authorized to access restricted content on our blogs, calendars, documents, and web sites. Gmail is an example of a Google Account. You are able to authenticate your account/big family access with a Google Account (create here) or Gmail account (open here).

We encourage everyone in our family to open a personal Gmail account to access our restricted web pages. Please open it as a secondary E-mail account if you are pleased with another provider. Besides the benefits to our family process, you receive the value of a "clean" E-mail address you can use for things like mailing lists and public Internet interactions. Here's Google's Top 10 Reasons to use Gmail, and you can Get started here. You'll find Gmail tips and tricks at the Official Gmail Blog.

For tips how to authenticate your existing Email account, please scroll down this page.

Is Google Account the same as Gmail?
Updated 01/12/2012
A: No. Gmail is an example of a Google Account. Find definition of Google Account here

You are able to authenticate your account/big family access either with a Google Account (create here) or Gmail account (open here). For authentication tips, please scroll down.

Where does my registration form go?
Updated 7/28/2011
A: Big Family online forms and surveys go to family blog/site coordinator.

Subscription requests for web feeds and "follow by Email" or Blog "mailing list" go directly to FeedBurner and Blogger (both owned by Google).

How will I know that I'm registered?
Updated 6/05/2012
A: It depends on the hosting service and sign-up type:
  • Google Sites - You'll receive an E-mail from our site administrator with subject or and the message starts "I've shared" If you're signed-in to your Gmail account, you'll be able to view restricted content immediately. If you don't use Gmail, you're registered, but you must authenticate your E-mail account before accessing restricted content. You do this by creating a Google Account
  • Blogger/Blogspot - You'll receive an E-mail from our blog coordinator with subject "You have been invited to contribute to (Blog name)." You'll need to sign in with a Google Account to confirm the invitation and start posting to the blog. The E-mail will include a link to show you how to open a Google Account.
  • Mailing lists - For our public blogs, you'll receive a verification message once you submit the form. FeedBurner activates your subscription to that Blog once you respond to the verification message. These E-mails do not go to/through our blog coordinators, but we're glad to help you whenever possible.
Our online team regularly monitors team E-mail accounts for prompt responses, however it might take us a few days to set-up your access to restricted content. On September 1, 2011, we began implementing Page-Level Permissions (info here and blog post here) on our Google Sites. This means we have to add your name in more places, and it takes us a little bit longer to send the administrator's E-mail.

We do not permit access to our Internet sites or other spaces unless one of us is confident the requesting party is actually our relative.

I don't use Gmail.
How do I authenticate my existing Email?

Updated 11/09/2011
If you do not use Gmail, you must authenticate your existing E-mail account before accessing restricted content (read why we use Page-Level Permissions here). To access our family calendar (learn more), you'll also need a Google Calendar Account.

You authenticate your existing E-mail account by opening a Google Account (definition). Please follow these steps in the order listed.

1. Upon receiving E-mail "Inviting you to share a site" (from a relative, and often from websites-DOT-bigfamily-AT-gmail-DOT-com)
  • If you already registered your Gmail account (Sign-up here), and are signed in to your Google Account, then you will be able to connect to the site directly from the link in the invitation E-mail.
  • If your E-mail account is not with Google, then you will make a Google Account for the E-mail address you already have for purposes of verification only (FAQ about resources at Workplace and School).
2. Open a Google Account to verify your existing E-mail. You are not creating another E-mail account.

  • You will receive an E-mail from Google to verify you own E-mail address.
  • Use the link provided in that E-mail to confirm you own the address.
4. Go to the web site identified in your invitation.
  • Use Sign in with a different account link
  • This lets you sign in with your own E-mail address and the password you chose when you made your Google Account.

What's the difference between
Register and Subscribe?

Updated 12/31/12
A: Basically, you "Register" with personal E-mail account to receive occasional family-only updates and to access our public content. Some of our sites are unlisted, and you'll need to get link(s) from our online team. Either way, you must authenticate your E-mail account.

To author blogs, post images, and access our restricted content, you'll want to "Subscribe" by contributing content. For example, you share a signature recipe or favorite menu; we share your recipe and add you to the Access List for that restricted content.

Why should I subscribe?
Updated 9/18/2011
A: You want to contribute content and access our private web pages and test sites. Restricted web pages are shared only with family members who Register and contribute content ("Subscribe"). You choose area(s) of interest such as:
  • Address Book of current E-mail, phones, and home address for us to stay in touch
  • Family Calendar to remember family birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates, and to plan events
  • Blogs you post about your activities that the family can follow in a private or public environment (and more useful than an E-mail because others can post comments and attach other pertinent content)
  • Keeping memories of loved ones such as photographs and videos along with family traditions in a digital format that can be shared from any relative's personal electronic devices, and available for years to come
  • Since some of our longest traditions and fondest memories start in the kitchen, an online collection for all of our favorite recipes
  • Travel photographs, journals and itineraries

Why should I register?
Updated 10/15/2010
A: Providing a personal E-mail account enables you to receive occasional family-only updates from our online coordinator. We're working to connect all branches!

Are there any fees to participate?
Updated 9/18/2011
A: Not now, however, we think fees or monetary contributions are appropriate where out-of-pocket expenses are incurred to
We may ask for reimbursement of actual expenses to develop or maintain one or more web sites or products offered to our family. This includes expenses to
  • Pay for web hosting services;
  • Register and maintain domain names;
  • Install and maintain security enhancements for our web site(s); Add 9/18/2011
  • Repair, preserve, display, and/or duplicate cherished family photographs or documents; or
  • Provide cloud computing services
When we make reimbursement requests, you will have the opportunity to make alternative suggestions (which the team may accept or decline) and/or to opt-out of the service(s) or product(s).

Do I have to publish my contact data
in the family address book to register?
Updated 3/4/2011
A: No. Please use the Privacy Preferences section of our online registration form for your special handling request.

Where is family address and
phone information?
Updated 06/03/2012
A: Sign-up and then sign-in at the bottom of On top horizontal menu (navigation bar), select Restricted, and then Address Book

  • You will see "Restricted" on the navigation bar or site map after you sign-in. 
  • You keep your full contact info up-to-date with our coordinator to view restricted "Address Book". 
  • Send/update contact info
  • Report errors   

Why do I need a Google
Calendar Account?
A: You'll need it to share our private family calendar of birthdays, anniversaries and other important events. Also, you'll need it to add events to our public calendars. FAQ about our Calendars.

How many people are registered?
Updated 9/18/2011
A: We publish that information to our Subscribers. Sign-in at and go to Family Stats web page.

Can I use my work Email
and computer to sign-up?
A: No, because it's unreasonable to assume you have privacy for personal communications in the workplace. Learn more.

Why do I have to use Email
for family web sites?
Updated 1/12/2012
A: You do not need an E-mail account to view our public content, but we would like to stay in touch with you.

Also, for security reasons, we need a gate-keeping mechanism to distinguish who has permission to access our restricted content. When you sign-up using your personal E-mail account, you enable us to use the hosts' authentication systems to prevent unauthorized persons from viewing our restricted web pages and posting off topic content on our public sites (Comments Policy). Read more about Gmail.

Didn't find your question here? You might also like to browse all posts tagged Registration, or check our Library of FAQ (Who-What-When-Where-Why? format). For more information, please use our Contact Form or post comment below.


  1. FAQ Registration updated 9/18/2011, for Page-Level Permissions and roll-out of

  2. Tips for authenticating your existing Email account-- if you do not use Gmail-- update FAQ. Sorry for the oversight.


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