Friday, June 12, 2015

First Look at Virtual Pedigree - a FamilySearch Web App

One of the newer apps for the FamilySearch Family Tree is called Virtual Pedigree.  The website is

The start page says:

"Virtual Pedigree uses a dynamic expansion algorithm to expand the tree where you want to navigate. Virtual Pedigree allows you to intuitively navigate your tree without out ever ever loading a new page."

After signing in with FamilySearch (you do need to have a FamilySearch registration and be in the FamilySearch Family Tree), three panels appear on the web page.  The chart can be expanded by zooming out using your mouse wheel or by dragging and dropping the chart around the screen.

In the middle of the screen is a pedigree chart with male profiles in blue and females in pink.  Each profile has a name, the birth-death year range, and the FamilySearch Family Tree ID number.  Some of the profiles have an icon symbol attached to them.

The icon symbols on some of the profiles are identified in the left-hand panel, including:

*  Missing death date
*  Missing birth date
*  Missing location information
*  Cycle in tree (is own parent)

There are also some Descendancy Keys:

*  Probably doesn't have children
*  Maybe has children
*  Probably has children

There is one Ancestry Key:

*  Missing parents

I zoomed out a bit and moved the chart to the left and saw more of my ancestors, some of which have some icons:

From this chart, I can see that my 2nd great-grandmother, Sarah G. Knapp doesn't have a death date and has a missing location.  Several of my ancestors, including 3rd great-grandfather, William Knapp (1775-1856) has missing parents.

I zoomed out some more and expanded the chart to about 15 generations, and the chart got real tall:

I was confused by the long vertical lines.  I zoomed into one part of the chart and saw:

In the FamilySearch Family Tree, some persons, such as Rebecca Towne (1621-1692) (shown above) has more than one set of parents.  In the FamilySearch Family Tree, she actually has 12 sets of different parents (William Towne and Joanna Blessing).  Each of those persons has several set of parents also, hence the tree gets really tall.

This problem occurs as a result of the inability of users of the Family Tree to be able to merge individuals with many duplicate entries.

The item on the right-hand panel says "Low Hanging Fruit" and "Amount of quality record matches from FamilySearch."  I think the green circle icon means that there are X number of record matches for the person.  I have none on all of my own chart, but I know that there are many record matches when I look at the person profiles on the Family Tree.  I clicked on one of my ancestors and made them the "Root Person" and then expanded the chart to see his descendants and there were some green (Record Matches) and yellow (may have spouses or children?) circles in the right-hand column:

This Virtual Pedigree site is an easy way to visualize your pedigree and see, through the icons, the information that is missing.  It highlights the problems in your pedigree chart, especially  duplicate parents, and highlights record matches for persons in the Family Tree that could be added as sources to Family Tree profiles.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at


Fax said...

This is fantastic. What a great way to spot "bad" genealogy. I am so sick of the absurd changes that are made to my tree at FamilySearch -- brothers attached as parents, children made their own parents, children older than their grandparents, etc. -- I'm ready to shut down (privatize? pull?) my tree. I really wish they would do a saniy check before accepting changes.

joebissett said...

I am trying to add my tree, individual by individual. Nothing gets added after I fill out the information. Very frustrating, so I'm quitting until someone explains. BTW, I am fully versed in at least 4 desktop family tree programs, and at least 5 on line trees. Everything "seems" logical and simple, but nothing gets added.

Randy Seaver said...

Joe, how are you trying to add your tree information to the FamilySearch Family Tree?

1) One way to do it is within the Family Tree at after registering and signing in. If you're not signed in, you can't add anything to it.

2) Several programs, notably RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, and Ancestral Quest, permit users to add and edit content on the Family Tree. I use RootsMagic to do this, but I cannot delete relationships or persons using the program.

There are several tutorials available about how to use the Family Tree on the FamilySearch site - see Click on the green icons to see all of the classes available.

I hope this helps.

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