Friday, October 28, 2016

More Thoughts on's Mobile App, We're Related

I've been watching the We're Related app - every day it gives me one more famous ancestor to check out.  

1)  Since my last post, the following have been added to my list:

*  Brad Pitt - actor, 7th cousin 2x removed, common ancestor is Henry Smith (1680-1743).

*  Carrie Underwood - musician, 9th cousin, common ancestor is Joseph Collins (1643-1724).

*  Luke Bryan - musician, 8th cousin 1x removed, common ancestor is Samuel Smith (1641-1691)

*  Winston Churchill - politician, 7th cousin 2x removed, common ancestor is Sarah Wing (1658-1720).

*  Melinda Baker - Facebook friend, 7th cousin 3x removed, common ancestor is William White (1708-1780)

Almost all of my common ancestors with the famous cousins are from New England.

2)  I wonder why the common ancestor information doesn't include the spouse of the claimed common ancestor.  Some common ancestors provided are male and some are female.  Most of them are couples who had the two children that started the lineages to me and to the famous person.  Is it just for convenience, or is there another reason?

3)  Many commenters on Facebook assume that Ancestry's intent is to enable young persons, who are mobile oriented, to find out that they are related to famous persons, especially the actors and entertainers, and perhaps become interested in genealogy and family history.

The problem is that almost all of those potential We're Related users don't have an Ancestry Member Tree and have no interest in starting one, let alone to go back 8-15 generations so that We're Related can find a common ancestor.  It took me about 10 years to get my tree information to that point, and I'm still working on it after 28 years.

It's possible that some (many?) of these young people who might be interested in the mobile app are in a relative's Ancestry Member Tree. Perhaps those trees go back far enough to find the common ancestors.  But these young folks need to find their relative with the big Ancestry Member Tree.  If they find them, they will need to be invited into the relative's tree, then identify themselves in the tree in the We're Related mobile app, and then see the famous cousins.

4)  For instance, I could invite my wife, daughters, grandchildren, brothers, nieces, nephews and cousins into my Ancestry Member Tree and help them find themselves in my tree when they load the We're Related mobile app.

I think that may work, but not if they have to do a lot of work to get the app to work and find famous relatives.  Or worse, they the the app to work but find no famous relatives!


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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R. Mansfield said...

The other thing I've noticed is that everyone is getting a lot of the same famous people. Yes, I know that if we go back far enough, all of us are related, but I'm not seeing a whole lot of variety. Here's my list so far: Johnny Depp, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Bill Clinton, Michele Obama, Marilyn Monroe, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Fisher, Winston Churchill, Luke Bryan, Brad Pitt, Stephen King, Benjamin Franklin, and Carrie Underwood.

Also, my wife and I ran the "Nearby" feature and discovered that we're also cousins. She's my 8th cousin, 1x removed to be exact.

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Amanda said...

Whilst I haven't actually tried the app (it wasn't available in Australia last time I tried), from what I have read I cannot understand why would pull support for FTM and then focus their money and resources on something like this? I'm a little confused.

Enno Borgsteede said...

Randy, if you see a single common ancestor, not a couple, I assume that is because you're only linked by that single ancestor, and through another spouse than your famous relative.

I would love to test this here, but Ancestry still doesn't seem to allow the download of this app from The Netherlands.

Unknown said...

This app makes the huge assumption that public trees on Ancestry are correct, so I take every famous cousin match with not just a grain of salt but a heaping tablespoon.

Kevin Mullins said...

My skepticism comes from the fact that so many of these celebrities are straight out of People magazine's current A-list...not many lesser-knowns seem to connect to's all Brad Pitt, and Beyonce!

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