Family Tree – FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I find the person I want to see?
A. There are a number of ways, such as navigating the family tree by clicking on a parent or child on a person’s profile page, but let’s start from the beginning with a search. On every page, there is a search box on the right side of the page. The basic search allows you to enter part or all of a first name and/or part or all of a last name (or just a record number), and the application will display a list of matching people.

The advanced search gives you many more search options, and will customize the list of matching people according to the fields that you used in the search. For example, if you specify a (partial) death location, the search function will display death information for the matching people.

You might also want to try:

  • The surnames page, which lists everyone in the database, grouped and alphabetized by surname.
  • The drop-down “Find” menu also gives you several more options to search with.
Q. How do I find a person’s ancestors?
A. Once you locate a person and display their profile page, the easiest method is to click the Ancestors tab to generate a standard fixed-layout ancestor chart: 
In many cases, you will find that there are more generations of ancestors than will fit on the page. You can click on one of the triangular arrows on the right to extend the report by generating a report for the ancestor next to the arrow.Note that there are a number of ancestor report options, including the number of generations to include, and several formatting options (Standard, Compact, Box, etc.) All of the formats other than PDF generate HTML trees within the web page. To print those, use the Print button near the upper right of the page. The Print button will generate a new page without graphical headers and footers.And note that, in most of the report formats, each person’s name is a hyperlink to that person’s profile page, so it’s easy to jump around in the family tree.
Q. What if I want to see an individual’s descendants?
A. On a person’s profile page, and on many report pages, the tab marked Descendants (next to the tab for Ancestors shown above) can be used to display the descendants of a person. As with the ancestor report, there are several report formats and some options:

      • The Standard and Compact formats are graphical tree formats, and list the generations in columns from left-to-right, and you can click on the triangular right-arrow at the right margin to extend the report.
      • In the Text version of the report, people are listed in a much more compact outline format. Text arrows (=>) on the right replace the triangular right arrows to extend the report to additional generations.

You can also click on the little minus and plus signs in the Text version of the descendants report to hide and expand sections of the report.

    In this example, I’ve already clicked on a minus sign next to Hattie Lamons to hide her descendants, so a plus sign is displayed.

  • The “Register” report doesn’t present a tree structure like the Standard, Compact, and Text reports, but it is very familiar to genealogists.
  • The PDF format is similar to the Text format in its outline structure, but it connects people with relationship lines and wraps lines of data for printing.
Q. Can descendants be shown in a graphical format with the ancestor at the top and the descendants below?
A. Yes and no. There is no such report that shows all descendants of the person at the top of the report. But, on the text version of a descendant report, you can click on an icon that looks like this: right next to what I’ll call the “target person’s” name.That will generate a top-down graphical “descendant” report that:

  1. Starts with the person at the root of the text report you were looking at
  2. Shows all of that person’s children
  3. Shows the descendants of the one child who is an ancestor of the “target person”
  4. and so on through the target person’s generation.

The target person is not highlighted in this report, and to be accurate, the report doesn’t show “all of that person’s children”. If that person had more than one spouse, the report shows only the children of the spouse who is an ancestor of the target person.

Q. Is there a way to tell if how two people in the database are related?
A. Yes, the Relationship tab on a Person Profile page will show a graphic display of all the people between two relatives. To use this function, locate the first individual and then press the Relationship tab. Then use the find button to locate the second person to be displayed. Once you have the two people selected click the calculate button to display their relationship. It lets you select a default person, and near the top of the Person Profile page by the person’s thumbnail picture, it can display the relationship between the current person and the default person.
Q. What does the Timeline tab do?
A. The timeline shows important events in history that occurred during the life of an individual or a group of individuals. It gives you a unique perspective to see what was going on in the world during the lives of our ancestors.
Q. If I see a mistake in the information presented can I correct it?
A. The Suggestion tab allows you to send corrections, updates, comments or any other information to the database administrator. Information on which individual you are referencing is automatically attached to the message when you make a suggestion using the Suggestion tab. The database administrator will take your suggestions into consideration.
Q. Is there a way to print the page without all the headers and icons?
A. Yes. Whether you are looking at a person’s detail page, or a family tree report, just click on the Print button located near the upper right the page. (Not your browser’s print button…see the screen clip associated with the question just below.) This Print button doesn’t actually Print…it pops up a new “printer-friendly” window without the extraneous graphics and links. You can then hit control-p or your browser’s Print button, or do whatever you ordinarily do to print.
Q. What are the three drop-down boxes for that are located on the upper right of the family tree pages?
A. These let you access information outside of the context of the person you are currently looking at. You can hover your mouse pointer over each to see the types of detailed information that is available on the site.

  • The Find menu helps you find people, for instance by showing everyone who had a life event at a certain place.
  • The Media menu lets you review Photos, Gravestone photos, Documents, Histories, and so on.
  • The Info menu show you statistics, different family trees on the site, and the like.
Q. What’s a second or third cousin (etc.)?
A. Cousin designations can be confusing because there are two conflicting definitions:

  1. We all know what 1st cousins are – the children of siblings. They have a common grandparent.
  2. 2nd cousins are the children of 1st cousins. But that definition is interpreted differently by different people:
    • To a genealogist, people who are 2nd cousins to each other are both the children of 1st cousins. They have a common great-grandparent. Genealogically, 1st, 2nd, 3rd cousins, etc. are always in the same generation, relative to the common ancestor.
    • Socially – within most families – the children of my cousins are my second cousins, and my parents’ first cousins are also my second cousins.
  3. 3rd cousins are the children of 2nd cousins:
    • Again, to a genealogist, people who are 3rd cousins to each other are both children of 2nd cousins. They have a common great-great grandparent.
    • Socially, my parents’ cousins are my 2nd cousins, and their children are my 3rd cousins. (And that’s what a genealogical 2nd cousin is!)
  4. And so on…

Q. What’s that “removed” thing when you talk about cousins?

A. Genealogically, 1st, 2nd, 3rd (etc.) cousins are always in the same generation, and the term “removed” lets you deal with parents, children, grandchildren, etc. For example, my 1st cousins’ children are my 1st cousins once removed, and my 1st cousins’ grandchildren are my 1st cousins twice removed. (Those relationships would be called 2nd and 3rd cousins in many families.)

(Note: much of this FAQ was copied from Robin Richmond’s Genealogy Database FAQs)

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