Friday, February 20, 2015

Connecting to A.J. Jacobs on WikiTree

When my reader asked me in email ""I want to connect to A.J. Jacobs and the Global Family Tree.  How do I do this using", I responded with an email that said "you also should consider using WikiTree, because it is a universal tree which is free to use and will accept a GEDCOM file."

The connection process is fairly simple, after registering to use WikiTree:

1)  Create a GEDCOM file either by downloading an online family tree (e.g., from or in your genealogy software program (e.g., RootsMagic, Family Tree Maker, Reunion, etc.).

2)  You should limit your GEDCOM file to about 2,000 persons because WikiTree prepares a GEDMatches report that compares your person profiles with profiles already in WikiTree.  You will have to accept or reject all of the potential matches identified by WikiTree before your data can be added to WikiTree.  There are guidelines for importing the GEDCOM in Before importing a GEDCOM.

3)  Upload your GEDCOM file to WikiTree - see the Upload GEDCOM page for information.  

4)  That will generate your GEDMatches report, in which you will have to accept or reject all of the potential matches.  After that is completed, then you can Import your profiles.  There are guidelines for working on your GEDMatches.

I described this matching process in Adding Early Seaver Generations to the WikiTree Shared Tree.  It works well, but it takes some time to accomplish.

5)  Then you can use the Relationship Calculator and find your relationship to A.J. Jacobs or other persons.  You need to know your own WikiTree ID (mine is Seaver-15).  I described this process in WikiTree's "100 Degrees of AJ" Tool and Relationship Calculator.

6)  Using the "100 Degrees of AJ" tool, I created the chart showing my relationship:

So there are 24 degrees of separation, and the connection goes through A.J.'s mother's uncle's daughter's husband back in time to Abigail Whitney and her sister Martha Whitney (my ancestor).

This doesn't tell me the I used the Relationship Finder for AJ (Jacobs-2987) and me (Seaver-15) and got:

It says that "we could not find a blood relationship between AJ Jacobs and Randy Seaver."  I knew that from before.

It does note that there may be a relationship by marriage or adoption, or a connection deeper in history than 25 generations, or AJ or I may have an incomplete tree.

7)  Using WikiTree to find relationships to famous persons, including A.J. Jacobs, has several advantages over, ,including that it is free to use and a GEDCOM file can be imported to WikiTree.  The only real disadvantages is that the number of profiles on WikiTree is limited to about 10 million persons, and you cannot upload a large GEDCOM file.  

8)  Of course, the careful researcher will remember that WikiTree profiles are submitted by a number of researchers, and the names, vital records and relationships may be wrong, and that collaboration doesn't necessarily result in a better profile.    

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver


Chris Whitten said...

Thanks for posting this, Randy. Great to see you at RootsTech.

Chris Whitten said...

Oh, I forgot to mention, there are a couple shortcuts to the "100 Degrees of AJ" Connection Finder that save you the trouble of manually entering your WikiTree ID.

1. There is a link on the home page down by the Family History Photo of the Week.

2. On the pull-down menu at the top of any person-related page there is a menu item that starts with the person's ID. Under that you'll find a link to "Connection to AJ."

3. On the newly-improved Family Tree & Genealogy Tools pages (accessible from the tab on a profile) there is an item in the Genealogy Research section that says "Global Family Reunion Connection."

Fax said...

I did a fun exercise on Wikitree a week or so ago. I used their Projects file of U. S. Presidents to determine which Presidents were related to me. I discovered that all but 4 are related. Here they are on my website: