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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Finding what needs to be researched on your FamilySearch Family Tree: revisited

In a previous post I wrote about a new utility program from The basic idea of this program is to provide a visual representation of the Family Tree in way that shows the descendants of any of your direct line ancestors. The advantage of the visual representation is that it shows any areas of the descendants of your ancestors where information is lacking, i.e. where the lines end. In essence the program graphically portrays all of the descendants of any of your ancestors. This is explained in two videos on the website.

It is very interesting to see how little information exists on various family lines. As you would expect, some lines have been extensively researched, while others have been neglected to extinction. Some genealogical researchers arbitrarily draw lines around who they consider to be part of their "family." These decisions are made primarily based on the idea that "those people are not my relatives." I guess I sometimes do the same thing, but it does give me pause to wonder why I make those distinctions. From one viewpoint, there is no real end to who you can or should research. Part of the problem arises from the old, tired issue of ownership. People, genealogists in particular, think they own their family and its records. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the phrases "my research," "my family," and "my records" in conjunction with concerns about someone else adding to or taking away from "their research." Maybe a program such as really points to the fact that there is no real rational end to anyone's family.

I don't really know who the person or people are who are developing this particular program, but I can say that this type of tool is an eye opening experience and this is something we all need to see and be using to show what we have and have not done as genealogists and family historians.


  1. That's a really neat cousin-finder, but only if the relationships are correct! I like it! Thanks for the heads-up.

  2. The other side of Randy's coin is that it does facilitate detecting such errors as when a submitter added wrong persons as parent/spouse/children. I found one of these instances just the other day (even the surnames were wrong) using the program. This is helpful since the FS-FT designers have not made the "watch list" feature log when someone changes these essential relationships by addition or subtraction, when persons are deleted or merged, etc. Since these elements are the most important traffic in FS-FT, you'd think reporting them in one's "watch list" would have top priority.