Friday, May 15, 2015

FamilySearch Relative Finder - Finding Famous (?) Cousins

James Tanner wrote Relative Finder Moves Onstage today on his Rejoice and Be Exceeding Glad blog, and provided some screen shots and description of the website.  Please read James' post for details on the development of Relative Finder and some answers to questions of users.

1)  Here is the home page for Relative Finder ( when a user is not signed into FamilySearch:

2)  After logging into your FamilySearch account, the list of Relatives found by the program for you is shown, all relationships are from the FamilySearch Family Tree.  If you are not in the Family Tree, you will have no relatives on the list!

The screen above tells me I have 16,695 relatives in 42 generations.  Yikes!  They are on 203 pages of information like the one above.  I switched to 50 relatives per page and went to the last page:

Cool.  Looks like I'm related to lots of  Scandinavian  Kings, but they're all through a common ancestor 30 to 40 times generations back in time.  Who knew?  Well, I figured it out, because we're all related, right?

3)  If you want to limit your list of relatives to a specific group - say Geneabloggers, Catholic Saints or Popes, Declaration Signers, Presidents, etc., then you can click on the "Relatives" button at the top of the screen and see the list of Groups to limit your search.  The list is at

I picked the "Geneabloggers" group (that Renee Zamora (I think, or was it Claire Brisson-Banks?) put together several months ago) to see if I was a cousin to any of my genealogy blogging colleagues.

After you have picked the group you want to find relatives with by checking the boxes, you can click on the "Show Relatives" button (next to the bluish "Check All" button above the list) and the list of relatives in your chosen groups will be created:

 Here's the list of Geneabloggers (two screens, some overlap):

There are 16 on my list of relatives who are Geneabloggers.  These are obviously wonderful persons, because they are my cousins!  They're also smart people because they've done enough research to link into the FamilySearch Family Tree.

My closest cousin on the Geneablogger list is Tamilinn Osmer, who is my 8th cousin.  The list tells me that our closest common ancestor is Moses Barber (1652-1733).

4)  I clicked on the "View" link under the "Chart" heading to see how Tami and I descend from our common ancestor:

I didn't show the whole chart.  I could Download the chart as a PDF using the "Download PDF" link at the top of the screen.

If I click on the "Use Print Format" link ,then I can see a compressed chart:

I couldn't figure out how to print the compressed chart on one sheet of paper.

5)  The Relatives list chart has columns for "Your Path" and "Relative's Path."  These are indicators of gender in each generation.  For example, my link to Moses Barber is given as "FMMMMMFMF" but as you can see on my chart, my path is really "MFMFFFFFM" where the last M is Moses Barber.  The genders should be the opposite of what is shown.   Tami's path is also the opposite of what is shown.

6)  Some caveats with this tool:

*  The relationships to your relatives are only as good as the relationship data in the FamilySearch Family Tree.  Remember - GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out).

*  Remember - these are cousin relationships, not ancestor relationships.  If a famous person is your ancestor (say, Charlemagne), then that relationship won't show up on the list.

* This is a fun tool.  Don't go overboard with claims that you are related to famous persons without verifying the research.

*  If you are in the Family Tree, but have added only a few generations and not matched your ancestors with other profiles in Family Tree, then you won't have many relatives on the list.  If you do add profiles, or match profiles, in Family tree, then you should Update your Tree in the "Settings" button.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

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1 comment:

Cathy Anderegg said...

Yes, this is a really fun tool to use with various groups. It especially gets the youth excited to do more with genealogy, and check out the FS Family Tree. But as you say, the data is only as good as what's on FT, so prove your stuff!