OneGreatFamily Blog

Go Back
  • How OneGreatFamily Is Different From Other Genealogy Services has been online since 2002, which is significantly longer than a majority of the other genealogy websites. From the very beginning, our services have been quite revolutionary to the genealogy community. Surprisingly, there are critical components of our services that have never been duplicated by others and make it critical for anyone who is even partially serious about doing their genealogy or building their family tree to have and maintain a subscription to OneGreatFamily. We have come up with 3 Core Concepts that explain what makes us so unique and how our cutting-edge, yet simple, approach to genealogy can greatly help you in building your family tree.

    Concept 1: OneGreatFamily is a Single Global Family Tree 

    OneGreatFamily is a single, global family tree which everyone helps to build. It's not just a collection of individual trees that people work on alone. This means that when ANYONE works on OneGreatFamily, they are also working on your tree, and when you work on your tree on OneGreatFamily, you are collaborating with others to explore their family trees. 

    As OneGreatFamily members add to the global family tree, the system searches to see if any of the names submitted could be your ancestors. Even if we find some of your ancestors today, we may find more in a week, a month, or a year. Just think; while you're concentrating on a maternal line, OneGreatFamily may identify a breakthrough on your paternal side! Your next step forward could come when you are sleeping, making dinner, or enjoying an evening out with friends, all thanks to the efforts of tens of thousands of OneGreatFamily members.

    Concept 2: OneGreatFamily Searches and Sifts For You

    OneGreatFamily automatically does all the "search and sift" work for you. Let's face it, most of the effort being done on other genealogy websites is essentially "search and sift", where you initiate a search and then have to start sifting through the tens of thousands of matches you get back. Obviously, most of these possible matches will be wrong and a few may clearly be right. The rest have to be sorted and checked.

    OneGreatFamily does all this tedious work for you. We compare all the people you enter into your family tree against every other person in the OneGreatFamily single, global family tree. Then, we sift the results and alert you of possible matches, which we like to call "Hints". Instead of endlessly sifting through obviously incorrect search results, OneGreatFamily focuses your attention and effort on likely matches. Also, when we find two individuals who are obviously the same person on trees submitted by different members, based on our patent-pending matching algorithms, we don't even bother you with them. Instead we automatically merge the two identical records together to combine their trees and eliminate the duplication. This avoids the even-more-painful task of having to approve dozens or even hundreds of obvious matches. It is this process of automatic merging that could end up adding thousands of ancestors to your branch of the tree.

    Concept 3: OneGreatFamily Handles Different Opinions

    OneGreatFamily easily handles differences of opinion. Sometimes genealogists disagree. Perhaps there is documentation supporting multiple dates for the same event or even regarding parentage. Since all evidence is valuable, we built OneGreatFamily to handle these situations. These discrepancies are called "conflicts". OneGreatFamily will never force you to accept someone else's information, nor someone else to accept yours. We call this View Preservation, because your view of your tree is always preserved for you.

    Now, there are two primary types of conflicts: informational and relational. Informational conflicts occur when a fact is in dispute, perhaps a birth date or a marriage location. Relational conflicts occur when a family relationship is in question. In resolving both types of conflicts, you will be presented with your information and the conflicting information. You will then be given a choice to 1) accept the alternate information presented, 2) clear the conflict, which means you are satisfied with your information and no longer want to consider any alternative information, or 3) cancel for now, which will allow you to postpone making a choice until you can find more information.

    Dive into OneGreatFamily and see what we can do for your family tree.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • How to Earn Free Months At OneGreatFamily

    Customers often ask how they can earn free subscription time. The answer is to refer your friends and family to our website. You can receive one FREE month for every subscriber you refer to OneGreatFamily.


    When you refer family or friends to OneGreatFamily, simply tell them to enter YOUR username (created at sign-up) into the "Rewards Program" field when they subscribe.

    After they subscribe, you will receive an email to confirm your free month.

    Check your account to see your new expiration date. After you login, click on "My Account" to view your account. One of the boxes provides you with your Subscription Information. You will see below the space that will inform you whether or not you have received credit for a referral.

    For more information on our Rewards Program, follow this link.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Upload Your Gedcom via Family Dashboard

    One of the quickest ways to upload a Gedcom into OneGreatFamily is through the Family Dashboard. Before explaining the exact steps you will take to do this, first allow us to explain how a Gedcom is handled by our system. At OneGreatFamily, when a Gedcom is submitted for upload, the file must undergo a tremendous amount of processing before it becomes available to its owner and the rest of the OneGreatFamily community. Here are the stages it goes through:
    • Uploading
    • Importing
    • Matching
    • Merging
    • Dashboard processing

    The new process allows you to upload your Gedcom in Genealogy Browser or you can do it online by clicking on the link located in the "Your Family Tree" box located at the top:

    Once you click the link in Family Dashboard, you'll be presented with a dialogue window that allows you to select your Gedcom file and then Upload it.

    Note that closing the webpage or navigating to another website will not cancel or slow down your Gedcom processing once the uploading phase is completed.  The processing is all done on our computers here in our offices, so you can feel free to go about your business.

    Once the system finishes importing your Gedcom, it will begin "Matching." Matching is the process of seeing if any of the people in your Gedcom are the same as any of the people already in the OneGreatFamily family tree.

    When the Matching process has finished, the OneGreatFamily system will begin "Merging." Merging is when OneGreatFamily combines together ancestors identified in the Matching phase, removing any duplication while preserving any differences in information.  Merging causes ancestors to be added to your family tree. 

    When the Merging process has finished, your family tree will be prepared for Family Dashboard. Once this has been completed, you can enjoy your Gedcom on Family Dashboard by clicking on the button on the Upload Complete Page "Make this my new Dashboard Anchor":

    Or you can click on the link: "Change who this information is about" on Family Dashboard. Here is where this link is located on Family Dashboard:

    Or you can click on the "View Or Edit My Family Tree" button to view your ancestors in Genealogy Browser.

    One final note, if you have a large family tree, please be patient as the process may take some time as we add, match and merge your ancestors.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Family Dashboard Spotlight: Relationship Calculator and Migration Calculator

    Let's Look At Two Fascinating Features Of Family Dashboard

    As far as we can tell, is the only website currently offering a robust dashboard full of unique ways of viewing one's family tree. In addition to the valuable service of constantly searching for ancestors to add to your tree, we've developed a variety of different tools and calculators you can use to answer specific questions about your family tree. Today, we'd like to highlight a couple of those handy calculators: the Relationship Calculator and the Migration Calculator.

    Both of these tools allow you to select two individuals within OneGreatFamily and perform calculations between them. To select a person other than the name displayed, click on the drop down arrow to the right of the name. This will open a menu that gives you five choices. The five choices are as follows:
    • Current Dashboard Anchor
      In the example below, Heather Hansen is the anchor.
    • Immediate Family
      A list of the immediate family members to the anchor is produced and you can choose any name on that list.
    • Famous People
      A list of famous people in OneGreatFamily is produced where you can choose any name from that list.
    • Search by Name
      A window is opened in which you can enter any name to search within OneGreatFamily. Select any name from the search results.
    • Browse Heather Hansen's Family Tree
      A window is opened listing all the names in the anchor's tree. Browse through and pick any name.

    Relationship Calculator

    The Relationship Calculator allows you to see whether or not a relationship exists between any two people in the OneGreatFamily database and displays a chart showing both people's relationship to their common ancestor.

    The widget on the Family Dashboard page allows you to quickly choose individuals in your immediate family, famous people, search for a name in your family tree or OneGreatFamily or you can browse your family tree for names too.

    Once you click on the "Show Relationship" button, it will bring you to a page that shows the amount of time OneGreatFamily is taking to find the relationship. If there is no relationship, OneGreatFamily will report to you that we could not find a relationship.

    Note: Keep in mind that OneGreatFamily is only using the information from the OneGreatFamily database. If you are sure there is a relationship, it probably means more information needs to be added.

    If there is a relationship, the following chart will appear showing you how the two people are related:




    Migration Calculator

    The Migration Calculator is a fascinating tool that will create a Google map with pushpins identifying the birthplaces of the direct line ancestors between any two people in OneGreatFamily

    Just like the relationship calculator, you can choose yourself, your immediate family, search OneGreatFamily or your family tree, or browse your family tree to find the names of two people you want to compare.

    Once you have decided on two people and you click on the "Show Migration" button, you will be taken to a page where you can see the map and the pushpins showing the birthplaces between two people.

    Here is an example of what the results page looks like:







    Check out the Relationship and Migration Calculators at OneGreatFamily today and see for yourself how useful and entertaining these tools can be.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Meet Your Distant Cousins at OneGreatFamily

    Researching Your Ancestors' Siblings May Help Your Family Tree

    A family tree is a pretty basic concept to understand; two ancestors have children, their children have children, and so forth, down to the present day with you and me. Each set of children is what we refer to as a generation. Each generation adds more branches to the tree.

    Your direct ancestral line comes through only one of the children of each of your ancestors. Did you ever stop to think about the descendants of the other children? Not only will you find that many other researchers connect to your same ancestors, but you may even connect to the same ancestor more than once. Depending on how many generations back the common ancestor is, there may be hundreds or thousands of descendants alive today. One may be your neighbor, your friend, or even your spouse!

    Another advantage to researching collateral lines is that it could result in adding more ancestors to your family tree. As you meet and collaborate with your distant cousins they may have information and stories about your ancestors. Collateral lines are one of the most neglected areas of research on other genealogy websites, but it here that OneGreatFamily users have experienced some of the greatest success as trees from collateral lines are combined into theirs.

    When submitting your family tree to OneGreatFamily, make sure you include as many relationships as possible. Sibling relationships are very important to include at OneGreatFamily because relationships are the primary source of information for OneGreatFamily to be able to match your genealogy with those that have been submitted by others. Accurate dates and places for events, while important, are not as valuable as actual family relationships, although it certainly helps and is encouraged.

    How do I reverse engineer my family tree?

    Let's start with reverse engineering a smaller family tree to better understand the concept. Suppose your grandparents on your father's side had five children. Being a child to any one of the five children would make you a cousin to the children of any of the other five siblings. The concept of "reverse engineering" your family tree is to look at all of the collateral information that is available in your family tree. Start by tracing your family tree back to a common ancestor (your grandfather in this case). Now, instead of looking at your father and your family, trace the descendancy of one of his siblings.

    With OneGreatFamily, you can easily "Reverse Engineer Your Family Tree" and see just who you are related to. Collateral lines often help fill gaps with your own direct ancestral line.

    What are the benefits of reverse engineering my family tree?

    Reverse engineering your family tree allows you to find relatives that you otherwise may not have found. Families tend to migrate together, so finding a brother, sister, or cousin of your ancestor may lead to the discovery of records for YOUR direct-line ancestor as well. You can also see if any of your direct-line ancestors have any famous descendants by tracing the various lines of descendancy. Some of the most exciting relations that you can find are relatives that are still living today!

    With OneGreatFamily, not only can you trace these lines to your distant relatives, but you can also communicate with many of them! When you find a living relative, or any ancestor for that matter, you can use the Collaboration feature to get in touch with the submitter.

    For those genealogists who are dedicated to finding their direct ancestors, reverse engineering can also be particularly helpful. When you are stuck on a certain line, having data on the siblings and children of the ancestor you are looking for can aid in finding data for them.

    Many people enjoy genealogy because of the stories and information they learn about their ancestors. The reverse engineering technique can increase that learning by making it possible to gain knowledge about your "very-extended" family. By knowing about your ancestor's immediate family, you can learn more about who they were.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

Ancestor Search

Enter Ancestor's Last Name:
Advanced Search
See what information we have in our database of over 190 million unique entries. Browse Alphabetically
  • Photos
  • Biographies
  • Histories
  • Country Origin
  • Alternate Spellings
  • Number of Generations
“...One person can't possibly do all of the work alone. They need help to speed up the work...The only way to do this is with your wonderful service...”
—Jeff Bagley
More Success Stories

Watch Demo

Use the buttons below to navigate through all four demos.

Previous Restart Next

Demo: Introduction

Learn More