Press Room - Press Release

 Press Release Quietly Mapping the Human Family

[November 3, 2003] - Earlier this year researchers at the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium announced the publication of a refined draft of the human genome. The genetic map is composed of about three billion base pairs of DNA chemicals and, with the exception of 400 or so remaining gaps, all have been identified.

With equally vaunted ambition, a small startup in Springville, Utah, has set its sites on creating a single genealogical map of the human family tree and is rapidly making progress toward that goal.

Approximately 500,000 individuals use the OneGreatFamily online service, located at, each month to participate in creating the human family tree and to see what research others may be contributing to their ancestral lines. Nearly 70 million names have been submitted to OneGreatFamily by more than 380,000 registered members since the service launched in June 2001.

Founder and CEO Alan Eaton created OneGreatFamily in an effort to solve all of the major problems associated with genealogy research.

"Creating a common pedigree for the human family tree provides a revolutionary way to do genealogy research," explains Eaton. "OneGreatFamily lets people see what research has been done on their branches of the human family tree by others. These researchers can see how they are related and continue to collaborate on an ongoing basis."

Eaton points to several other challenges that creating a common family tree solves. The benefits of tying family trees together include the following:

  • a system that is extremely precise identifying someone's ancestors by relationships rather than by names alone
  • the reduction of duplication that results in saving time and effort
  • the ability to see all information available for an ancestor in one location, including alternate names, dates, and places
  • the ability to leverage the research others have done to make research breakthroughs
  • access to collateral ancestral lines (the families of siblings of direct ancestors) that often provide clues and information on direct ancestors
  • an easy way to collaborate with others on common ancestral research

Eaton says OneGreatFamily is similar to an online family reunion. "OneGreatFamily is a destination site for people that want to come together in one place and share what they know about their family trees. OneGreatFamily ties all of the information together into one family tree, so people leave with more than they started with."

Eaton's passion for genealogy started more than 15 years ago, and he has spent the past several years designing and developing new genealogy services. While working on other projects, Eaton started conceiving of ways to use the internet as a place to combine and share genealogical information. "As anyone who's tried genealogy will tell you, one of the biggest problems with family history work is duplication of effort. The internet is the perfect platform for solving that problem by centralizing genealogical data," says Eaton.

People from 174 countries are using OneGreatFamily to publish and share their personal pedigrees, and is linking them all together. Information can be added by making individual entries to the OneGreatFamily database or by submitting GEDCOMs (a standard format for files containing family tree data).

"When you get back even just a few generations, it's amazing how family trees from far-flung places start interconnecting," Eaton explains. "As people continue to find our service and input their information, we continue to make connections." The result, after just a few years in operation, is an ever-expanding single family tree of the human family. "Already we're to the point where our users can often tell our system what individual ancestor they're looking for and find the information has already been submitted by someone else."

OneGreatFamily further features patented technology that verifies matching information in multiple ways for certainty and allows users to maintain their own "view" of information so they keep the data they want, even if it conflicts with someone else's view.

But the end result is that everyone is working toward a common goal. Variances or disagreeing data are shown to be conflicting and people can get to work on resolving those differences. Holes in the human family tree that need more research and attention are easy to see when everyone's individual efforts are combined. "Genealogy is by its very nature collaborative," says founder Eaton. "We make no bones about it, our goal is to map the entire human family."

A privately held company in Springville, Utah, OneGreatFamily is the premier provider of family tree services. Guest members of the company's online service (located at have free access to submit and edit their genealogies and to search the OneGreatFamily database. Subscriptions are also available that allow members to access additional information and functionality that is made available through OneGreatFamily's matching and merging service.

Contact information:
Jim Ericson
VP Marketing
(801) 491-0335