Sunday, February 14, 2016

FamilySearch Apps - Relative Finder

Hello again, can you believe this is my third post since returning from RootsTech. We'll see how long I can keep this up. As I said in my previous post, I want to focus on some of the FamilySearch apps and how they can further the interest in family history research. Today I will be discussing Relative Finder.

Relative Finder is a fun app that uses the data in your FamilySearch FamilyTree to determine how you are related to various famous/historical people. The site is free to use and was developed as a project of the BYU Family History Technology Labs. The first time you go to they ask you for your FamilySearch log-in. This is necessary for them to be able to upload your tree so the site can determine who you are related to. Once your FamilyTree has been uploaded the site will display a list of famous people you are related to, such as Presidents, Signers of the Constitution, LDS Leaders, Authors, Composers, European Royalty, etc. For some people this list is extremely long. You can select which category is displayed so it becomes more manageable. If you are curious you can see the connected tree to see who your common ancestors were. This is a fun way to start a conversation on family history, however, make sure you take the information with a grain of salt. It is based on the FamilyTree connections, and many of us have found incorrect families that need to be corrected.

One of my favorite parts of this site is the Groups. I have joined a couple Groups and have also created my own Group. The Group that I created was for my church ward. As I get members registered on FamilySearch I invite them to join the Relative Finder group that I created so they can see how they are related to other members of the Ward. Once they find out they are related to someone they are encouraged to invite others from the Ward to join and see how they are related and as the number of members increases so do the numbers of people they are related to. The use of this Group, along with other tools has resulted in a significant increase in the number of patrons in our Family History Center. These Groups are all password protected so only those you invite will have permission to see the information included in them.

For me, the 12 generations I have in FamilySearch have no link to any of the famous/historical people in the groups or any members of the other Groups that I am a member of. My wife, on the other hand, is related to 788 of the famous/historical people and about one third of the Ward group that I created. But I have discovered through my own research that I am related to at least one famous person. My great-grandfather's brother's wife's first cousin is the great-great grandmother of Paris Hilton. Isn't that how the six degrees of separation thing works?

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