Thursday, July 7, 2011

Using the Relationship Finder on WikiTree

The "Relationship Finder" on WikiTree was announced yesterday - see the press release here.

I have uplaoded a limited tree to WikiTree, so I was curious toi see how the Relationship Finder worked.  It was not obvious, so I emailed Chris Whitten about it, and he pointed out the little arrow icon next to a person's name in the "Profile Private View" tab for a person in your own family tree on WikiTree.  I think that this is the only place that has the icon.

Here are some screens that show how to use the Relationship Finder in your own tree, or between two specific persons in the entire WikiTree system:

1)  I navigated to the Private Profile page for my uncle Milo Hildreth (1824-1893) in WikiTree (I am the profile manager for Uncle Milo), and saw:

Within the large yellow frame, the name Milo Hildreth is in the upper left-hand corner.  There are presently five small icons just to the right of Milo Hildreth's name - these icons create reports, including an Ancestor Pedigree Chart (a pedigree icon), an Ancestor Ahnentafel List (a list icon), a Printer-Friendly Tree (a printer icon), a Wikid Shareable Tree (a tree in a yellow square icon), and now the Relationship Finder (an icon with two arrows pointing at each other).

2)  I clicked on the Relationship Finder icon (the two arrows pointing at each other) and saw:

The Relationship Finder noted that "Randall Jeffrey is the second great-grand-nephew of Milo" Hildreth.  It then described how it found the relationship, saying:

To calculate this, we searched for the first ancestor shared by both Milo Hildreth and Randall Jeffrey Seaver.

Milo is the son of Zachariah Hildreth.
===> Zachariah is the father of Milo.

Randall Jeffrey is the son of Frederick Walton Seaver.
Frederick Walton is the son of Frederick Walton Seaver.
Frederick Walton is the son of Hattie Louisa Hildreth.
Hattie Louisa is the daughter of Edward Hildreth.
Edward is the son of Zachariah Hildreth.
===>Zachariah is the third great grandfather of Randall Jeffrey.
Knowing the first common ancestor, Zachariah Hildreth, and knowing the name of the relationship between Zachariah and Milo, and the name of the relationship between Zachariah and Randall Jeffrey, we used a family relationship table to name the relationship between Milo and Randall Jeffrey.
3)  There is a link to a general family relationship table in the screen above, which looks like:

That is a very readable and useful chart for users to determine relationships within family structures, with helpful information about common ancestors, deeper ancestry, half-relationships, relationships by marriage, and number of ancestors.

4)  If you want to calculate the relationship between any two persons in the WikiTree, you can do it using the form at

To use this form, you need to know the Person Identity Number of the two persons - for my test case, Milo is Hildreth-61 and I am Seaver-15.  I entered those into the form, and received the same result.

There are some limitations to using this Relationship Finder:

*  The Relationship Finder provides results for only ten generations (according to the "Deeper Ancestry" paragraph in the Explanation).

*  While a Registered WikiTreer can use the Relationship Finder from the Profile Private View tab, a non-registered searcher cannot do that.  They can, however, use the Find a Relationship form to find the relationship between two persons in the WikiTree.

Chris Whitten just emailed me that "I just added a "What's New" section to everyone's Navigation Home Page."  Chris is really helpful and responsive!

The URL for this post is

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.


Chris Whitten said...

Thanks for this, Randy!

A few notes, tips and tricks:

* The Relationship Finder icon link that you describe (two arrows pointed at each other) is on every public profile, and every private profile if you're on the Trusted List. That's when you only see it on the "Private View". If a profile is private and you're not on the Trusted List we won't reveal the person's relationships.

* Assuming you're logged-in, you can find the relationship between yourself and anyone else through the links on your Watchlist:

* You can also find the relationship between a person and anyone on their profile's Trusted List (the "Privacy" tab). For example, let's say as the Profile Manager you allowed Joe Schmoe on the Trusted List for Milo Hildreth. You and Joe exchanged some Private Messages, but he's such a distant cousin, you can't keep his relationship to Milo straight. Now you can click to see Joe's relationship to Milo. And from Joe's profile you can click to see his relationship to you. Since WikiTree is all about collaboration between distant cousins this is going to be really handy.

* As you mentioned, you can look-up up the relationship between *any* two people on our worldwide family tree by going directly to the form and entering the IDs. The above just covers the cases where you can do it with one click, i.e. where the IDs are automatically filled-in and you're sent directly to the results page.

* Down the road we plan on expanding this beyond ten generations and add relationships through marriage. That will be super cool.


A rootdigger said...

Thanks for posting that. I am harboring the idea of entering my tree there and not sure how it all works, so I am going to save your page somewhere in my files.

Chris Whitten said...

Hey Rootdigger!

E-mail me personally if you have any questions about WikiTree. I'm at chris --at--

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