Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, August 14, 2015

An Updated Look at

I began to notice some incremental changes in the website and decided to review some of my observations. Before I go into any detail, my own family tree on now has the following number of Smart Matches and Record Matches.

This rather large number reflects both the size of my online family tree and the actual number of relatives I have with trees on I have thought about the implications of having such huge numbers of suggested contacts and sources and concluded that the best approach, for me, is to focus on those individuals in my family tree that I am presently working on and researching and leave the rest of the suggestions to my constant activity of confirming and attaching sources. I will be posting on my Rejoice, and be exceeding glad... blog about the process of moving source information from to the Family Tree and moving sources to and from other programs also.

One of the first changes I noticed to the website, was the removal of a link to the "Member Map." Here is a screenshot of the bottom of the startup page of Now, if you haven't been looking at the links at the bottom of the page, then you might not notice any changes, but the link to the Member Map is now missing.

I used a reference to the Member Map in every one of my classes to show the participants the extent of the worldwide coverage. Very few of the people that I teach are familiar with the program at all and needed a reference to compare the program with other online database and family tree providers.

Part of the information in the now-missing Member Map, is in a newer section called the "Discovery Map." Here is a screenshot of the Discovery Map:

This map shows people signing onto who are benefitting from the "Instant Discovery" feature. The floating indicator with the message about a new user changes every few seconds.

One of the strangest reactions I find among users of the family tree are those people who "resent" having suggestions of sources for their family tree. I was talking to one user this past week and he was upset that would keep adding sources for people he personally was not interested in researching at that moment. I guess I can't really relate to that attitude and I did not do a very good job of convincing this person that he was benefiting from the sources suggestions even if, at that time, he was not interested in researching those particular ancestors.

In this regard, there is another new feature on the program called the "Discovery Hub." It is in a new menu item called the "Discoveries." Here is a screenshot:

This is a phenomenal addition to the program. But, in my case, this is also a problem with the scale of the suggestions. I have too many to immediately process, but again, when I am ready, this will be a huge help in extending family lines. You still have to remember that the suggestions all need to be evaluated as to whether or not they are your family members or only those with similar names, dates, places etc.

There is also a new link to the Smart Matches. This link gives you information about the number of Smart Matches that have been confirmed by other users. Here is that new screenshot:

Once again, because of the huge number of relatives I have who are using this program, I have very large and likely uncharacteristically large numbers of connections and hints.

You might notice a tag at the top of the page that says, "Integrated with RootsMagic." has some interesting features integrating its data and hints with RootsMagic. I will review that information in the near future, also on the Rejoice, and be exceeding glad... blog.

The third new link from the startup screen in the Discoveries tab is the link to Record Matches. Here is a screenshot of that page also:

You can see that I presently have 14,420 matches with 13,961 pending. Many of those, almost half, are with the Family Tree. This comes about as a result of my having added my entire family tree to quite a few years ago. In processing these matches, I focus on particular family members and also particular categories of sources. The process would be expedited if I had a direct way of moving information back to the Family Tree program and not just from the Family Tree to

There is another problem associated with having huge, long lists of sources attached to both family members in and to the same family members in the Family Tree. I must manually compare the two lists of sources to make sure I am not adding a duplicate source. Since the sources come from different programs, it is not merely an issue of matching names. For example, I can have a U.S. Census source from another program such as attached to my ancestor in the Family Tree program and the same U.S. Census source from My inclination is to add both even though there is an apparent duplication because they are separately available copies of the records, but in some cases, duplicating sources is impractical. has also added a Relationship Report. This is a selection from the Family Tree menu item on the startup page. Here is a screenshot of the Relationship report page:

Here is the page with a relationship displayed:

At the bottom of the page, there is a narrative form explaining the relationship.

This is very helpful, especially with an extensive family tree such as mine.

It looks like I will be writing quite a bit about in the near future. Stay tuned.


  1. I have two questions about MyHeritage for which I can't seem to find answers. First, when an invitation to join a tree is received, the message asks if you want to view the tree. When viewed, I discover I have actually joined the tree. The last invitation I received was not only from someone I didn't know, I couldn't even figure out how, if at all, we were related. Is there a way to get around this? Second question - What actually happens when a match is confirmed? Is the source of the match automatically attached to my tree? Is there a link between my tree and the other person who confirmed the match? Thanks for any answers you can provide.

    1. The Smart Matches are actually invitations to connect and collaborate with people who share relatives with you in other family trees. If you do not wish to connect with these people then ignore the invitations and do not view or click on them. If you confirm a match, you open a way to connect with and exchange information with that individual.