Thursday, December 21, 2017

Spark Your Grandchildren’s Interest in History: Use WikiTree's Relationship Finder!

This tool has been around for awhile.  There are so many bells and whistles on WikiTree I am only now getting around to really discovering how amazing the Relationship Finder is.

Playing with the Relationship Finder today I discovered I am related every one of the WikiTree's listed Sureties of the Magna Carta. We are talking deep shared great-grandparent levels here. (21st -23rd for me.) Now I need to make sure all my documentation is good going back. 

Because of this tool, I was able to tell a close friend we share the same 23rd great-grandfather!

To bring history lessons closer in time, I also discovered it appears my family is also related to no less than seven U.S. Presidents!

It's one thing to be told growing up Abe Lincoln may have changed the diapers of a distant great-grandfather, or that Abe defended a cousin on murder charges. It is another to discover Lincoln is also a 13th cousin! I can’t wait to share this with my family.

When you become a member of WikiTree you are assigned a WikiTree profile number.

The number is usually tied to your surname at birth. Once you have grown your tree a bit you can use it to find your relationship with other relatives you might not even know.  You simply compare your WikiTree profile number to another person’s profile number.

Below, I have circled where you find your profile number on your page after you have joined WikiTree.

You can go to your match's profile page and click on the word ADD which opens a pull-down menu to find your relationship to each other. How cool is that? 

If you shared DNA on GEDmatch and can’t find your relationship (you click on the Wiki Tree link to view their tree and click on their profile to use the Relationship to Me tool), you can collaborate with your match to determine if you need to build your tree deeper or wider so you can make the connection.

You can also see if you link to famous people. The finder works both in direct lineage and by degrees modes.

A direct line means the match shares a common ancestor with you up or down your tree.

Relationships by degree will help you learn how to spread your branches and make connections often through the marriage of someone (or several) in your line. For instance, a 3rd great-grandparent’s sibling may have married someone that would take you along a crooked path to the notable person, oftentimes royalty!

When you follow your branches wide and connect to someone by degrees, you widen your net to find more direct line branches while at the same time helping WikiTree toward one of its major goals to build a single world-wide tree.

Single Entry vs Gedcom

The thought of rebuilding a tree (especially a large one) makes many people cringe. However, there are very good reasons for doing this in many cases.

First, this is a single person entry world-wide tree. Your more distant relatives (and often times closer relatives) already have a profile in WikiTree. Another reason, to add them again is making more work for yourself because you will need to merge duplicate entries to link your tree to the first profile entered for that person. And another good reason, when you do, you will most likely meet a cousin you didn’t even know you had.

I recommend before uploading a Gedcom do a search of WikiTree first to see if any of your ancestors are already listed. Then you can meet a cousin (the profile manager for the entry) and send them a message introducing yourself. You can click on the descendant button on your ancestor's profile to see other relatives' entries. You follow your ancestor's children's line “down” the tree to see how many generations you need to add to your branch.

You may discover you only need to add a few profiles to link to a huge branch which already exists. This also gives you the opportunity to contact people whose research may reveal something other than you expected. If you see they have someone linked incorrectly you can collaborate with them and help them “prune” their branch and graft it in where it belongs.

By using this “check-for-family-first” method before uploading a Gedcom, you may discover you can divide your Gedcom up and only have to add one short branch that ties other branches together to connect a ton more people! This may result in your being awarded the WikiTree Family star. 

(WikiTree has tons of awards.)

Click HERE to find instructions that show you how to split a Gedcom for several different software programs. Simply click the link for each one.

Still having a blast! 

Happy Finding!

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