Thursday, April 23, 2015

Finding More Cousins in FamilySearch Family Tree Using Puzzilla

I wrote about in Checking Out Puzzilla - a Descendant Viewer Using FamilySearch Family Tree (posted 21 November 2013) and Using Puzzilla and FamilySearch Family Tree to Identify Autosomal, Y and mtDNA Candidates posted 18 February 2014).  The website accesses the FamilySearch Family Tree and the user can highlight an ancestor and see the descendants of the highlighted ancestor in the FamilySearch Family Tree.  Puzzilla is free to use, but has a premium service with more features. 

I wondered how many actual "cousins" I have in the FamilySearch Family Tree, and how full (or sparse) the Family Tree for those lines.  

In Puzzilla, after signing into the website using my FamilySearch credentials, I chose to go back six generations to my 4th great-grandparents.  Here is the Puzzilla chart:

The Puzzilla diagram above shows all of my ancestors back to the 4th great-grandfathers (since I chose 6 generations.
I clicked on my 4th great-grandfather, Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816), and it showed the direct line from me  back to Benjamin in the left-hand frame.  In the dropdown box, I selected "Descendants" and saw the Puzzilla diagram for Benjamin Seaver:

The default setting is 4 generations for Descendants, so I selected 6 generations so I could at least see how many of my 5th cousins are in the Family Tree, as shown in the diagram above.  The line from Benjamin to me is in yellow (I'm at about 11 o'clock on the diagram above).  It looks like there are 10 5th cousins at this time in the Family Tree.  However, my father has 15 4th cousins in the tree (my 4th cousins once removed).  My grandfather has 45 3rd cousins (my 3rd cousins twice removed).  It is very likely that most of those cousins have children out to my generation and beyond, but they are not in the Family Tree.  However, the Family Tree cannot show me living persons (except those I may have added myself?), so I think the 5th cousins descendants from Benjamin Seaver may be 30 to 59.

I did the same thing by clicking on Nathan Gates (1760-1830), another 4th great-grandfather.  Here is his descendants diagram:

This is a very full diagram, with 68 of my 5th cousins shown, and 337 of my 4th cousins once removed shown.  This descendants diagram is pretty full!

I did my 4th great-grandfather Aaron Smith (1765-1841) also, as shown in the diagram below:

Aaron's FamilySearch Family Tree descendants are very sparse for some reason - no 5th cousins, 3 4th cousins once removed, and 13 3rd cousins twice removed.

Then I did my 4th great-grandfather, Thomas Dill (1755-1836), as shown in the diagram below:

This descendants diagram is populated a bit more, with 3 fifth cousins, and 33 4th cousins once removed.

The charts above show descendants for 8 of my 32 4th great-grandparents.  Of course, I have many more cousins in the FamilySearch Family Tree descended from my other 24 4th great-grandparents.  

As I pointed out in an earlier post, I am related to everyone that are in these descendants diagrams - they are all my cousins (except for my siblings, of course!).  They all share autosomal DNA with me.  Those of them that are Seaver males share Y-DNA with me.  

Unfortunately, not all of the cousins with common ancestry have done autosomal DNA tests,  and not all of those that have done autosomal DNA tests have added profiles to the FamilySearch Family Tree.  

Lastly, I know that not all profiles in the FamilySearch Family Tree are correct, but my perception is that information for persons born since, say, 1750 (i.e., my 4th great-grandparents) are fairly accurate - the problems in the Family Tree are mainly in earlier generations.  

Puzzilla is an excellent graphical tool to help users find close and distant cousins, but it requires users to enter their family information in order to connect to the bigger tree, and then to add sources, notes and media to document the life of their ancestors and other relatives.

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1 comment:

Geolover said...

While some like to use Puzzilla to detect where further research is needed to populate gaps in relative groups, I have mostly found it useful for detecting where someone has added an erroneous branch to one of my related families. The popup boxes are quite handy.