Monday, March 11, 2019

Checking Up on My FamilySearch Family Tree

I am still a big fan of the FamilySearch Family Tree because it has all of the features (well, almost all) that I want in an online collaborative family tree.  It also has some permanence - it will certainly last longer than I will, and perhaps will last 100 years or more in some form.

I interact with this tree almost every day, and have added information for most of my ancestors and many of their families to the FamilySearch Family Tree.  The Family Tree has greatly enriched my other trees because it has information about persons in my RootsMagic tree that I did not have, and I've tried to find evidence that the Family Tree information is correct.

However, not everything in the FamilySearch Family Tree is accurate (and I think that not everything in my Ancestry tree, or MyHeritage tree, or RootsMagic tree, is accurate, and yours might not be accurate either).  So, perfection eludes all of us, and a collaborative tree has the same problems.

One tool I occasionally use is the Fan Chart - it lets me see up to seven generations, and it's easy to scan for names and life years.  Here is my current Fan Chart:

When I scan this I can see these differences with my RootsMagic family tree:

*  In the 4th great-grandparents, the Family Tree says that John Richman and Jane Child are the parents of John Richman (1788-1867).  This is possible, but I have not reached that conclusion.

*  In the 4th great-grandparents, the Family Tree says that John Rich and Mary are the parents of John Rich (1789-1868).  This is possible, but I have not reached that conclusion.

*  In the 3rd great-grandparents, the Family Tree says that Ranslow Smith and Mary Bell are the parents of Devier James Lamphear Smith.  Ranslow and Mary are the adoptive parents of Devier.  I don't know the biological parents of Devier Smith so I cannot add them.  I have broken the link from Devier to Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith but that has not been reflected yet in the Fan Chart.

When I scan the Fan Chart, I can also see the "missing" ancestors where I have not found parents of these persons in my ancestry:

*  The parents of 3rd great-grandfather Thomas J. Newton (about 1800-????), 2nd husband of Sophia (Buck) Brigham.

*  The parents of 3rd great-grandmother Ann Marshman (1784-1856), the wife of John Richman.

*  The parents of 3rd great-grandfather William Knapp (1775-1856), the husband of Sarah Cutter.

*  The parents of 3rd great-grandmother Sarah Fletcher (1802-before 1850), the wife of Abraham Kemp.

One of the features on the FamilySearch Family Tree Tree Chart page is to show the birth countries of the persons on the chart.  Here is mine:
The next step is to create fan charts for, say, the 16 2nd great-grandparents to find errors out to the 8th great-grandparents.  I've done that, and saved them, so I can work on reducing the errors on FamilySearch Family Tree.  Of course, I may be wrong about the errors ...


Copyright (c) 2019, 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.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at


Bill said...

Thanks for sharing this, Randy. Had not seen these features in FS and it's a great way to identify issues and try to resolve them.

Unknown said...

Thanks Randy. I had been leery of spending time on FamilySearch due to the fact that anyone can change things but because of your writings I revisited them about a year ago and have grown to love the site. It really is self-correcting since there are so many people working on it and source-based. I too have found potential relationships that have proved out and I enjoy working on their easy interface. I have also been looking for some way to preserve my near 30 years work and this is one of them. One thing that I have found very helpful is that on the iPhone/iPad version you can select 'Descendants with Tasks' for 3 or 5 generations down and work through them quite quickly. This has become my new 'waiting room', 'traveling' or 'in-between-time' game! I look forward to the upcoming new 'Family Share' feature that was announced at RootsTech where we will be able to share 'Living' persons with family members and ALL work together on the tree. Thanks again for getting me in the game ~ Tiffany Nash

Cathy P said...

One thing I don't like on the Birth County Option on the FS FT Fan Chart is the use of UK for United Kingdom replacing the countries of Wales, Scotland and England, The UK was first formed in 1801, but Family/Search puts UK as standard place on all in that area. I am taking a lot of time re-doing the standardization of places before 1801 to the countries' names. Grrr!

RonNasty said...

Great work. I never thought that there were other options on the fan chart beyond the default settings. Expanding to the full 7 generations I see a lot of gaps that need to be filled in. The country option is nice too. My family has been in Canada for over 150 years, but I'm made up of more American and UKish peoples than Canadians. Thanks again.

Susan said...

How do you print them?

Unknown said...

To print go to the Tree View of your choice: Landscape, Portrait, Fan Chart (Descendancy doesn't seem to have this option). Click on the Options Button and then Print.