Are we related?

Family Search just released a new website, www.RelativeFinder.org that allows you to see if people in your surrounding area are related to you.  I used it this past week at RootsTech, the world’s largest genealogy conference, and saw that there were distant cousins of mine in the same room as me, or  across the street, or down the hall.  It was really fun to see my family tree in action.  Not only can you see cousins in the area, but it will show you how you are related.

This tool uses trees on Family Search to see if people in the area are related. If you do not have your family tree in Family Search yet, I highly recommend it, as a lot of newly available or soon-to-be released tools use this information. It is easy and free to create a tree on Family search, and once you get back a couple of generations, the tree practically fills itself out.

Example of RelativeFinder home page

Example of RelativeFinder home page

To use this tool, Log in by using your Family Search log in. You will have two options from the home page to, ‘Go to Map’ or to ‘Go to ordinary relative Finder’.  Click on ‘Go to Map’ and a privacy message pops up warning you that others using the website will be able to determine your physical location.  If you are ok with that, click ‘proceed to map’, and a map of the location you are at will appear with a yellow figure as your avatar. Others near by also using the website will appear as red (female) or blue (male) figures. If you click on these figures, it will display your relationship to these people and show how the relationship was determined.

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Since this is a new tool, do not be surprised if you do not initially see any cousins on your map.  In order for it to work, there has to be other people in your area also using the website.  I was lucky to see it in action at the conference where  a lot of people had been exposed to it and were using it. Once word of this site spreads,  more people will create Family Search trees and use it, and more cousins will show up on everyone’s maps. So please try it out and spread the word.

The other link from the home page, ‘Go to ordinary RelativeFinder’ allows you to see what famous people you are related to, and how you are related to those people.  The common relative of you and the famous person will be listed as well as a link to compare your trees.  You can see if you are related to any U.S. Presidents, U.S. President wives, authors and poets, business leaders, constitution signers, declaration signers, famous Americans, Mayflower riders, military explorers, movie stars, famous scientists or technology innovators, or Catholic saints and popes.  Since this is a LDS related website you can also see if you are related to LDS prophets, LDS prophets’ wives, LDS women auxilary leaders, or LDS current apostles.

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The accuracy of family connections is dependent on the accuracy and completeness of the Family Search trees. The more you fill in correct ancestors to this tree, the more family members  you can find. Please explore and share this website with others so more of us can benefit from its fun uses.

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