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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Success Tying into the OneGreatFamily Tree

    Occasionally we receive e-mails from subscribers asking us, "I've had an account with OneGreatFamily for a month, but I haven't had any new ancestors added to my family tree. How long does it take?" When we log in to these subscribers' accounts to check their status, we find something alarming: they haven't entered any information into their family trees!

    Our powerful, patent-pending merging technology only takes two to three days to search through the millions of names in our database and add new ancestors into your family tree, but it can only accomplish that once you have planted the seed: what you already know about your family tree. We can't compare relationships from your family tree if there aren't any entered.

    The most effective way to start your family tree is with yourself. Once you have done that, it is easy to add your parents, your grandparents, your great-grandparents, and as many generations as you have. Try to enter at least five generations. On average, five is the magic number of generations for tying into the OneGreatFamily tree. If you don't have that much information, make a few phone calls to family members. You'll be surprised by how much you can learn that way.

    Enter all information using the genealogical standards. Dates should be entered in the following format: date, month, and year, or 26 July 1897. Avoid abbreviating the year as a two-digit number, as any computerized system would be unable to determine the correct century. The above date abbreviated would show up as 26 July 97 (or in other words, 97 a.d., a full 1800 years prior to the actual date).

    You should enter the names of places in the following format: city, county, state and country. Muncie, Indiana would be listed as Muncie, Delaware, Indiana, United States of America. Don't include the word "county" or the abbreviation "co." in the name of the place. Seemingly insignificant inaccuracies like that can prevent your family tree from growing. Our computer system adds new ancestors into your tree by automatically merging records of the same ancestors, but if fields in the records are not identical it might block them from being automatically merged. Watch out for small details like non-standard dates, incorrect places, and spelling errors, all of which can prevent merging.

    On occasion, it takes more than five generations to grow your family tree. When I first started my account with OneGreatFamily, I entered five generations on all my family lines. On my mother's side of the family, I had great success. More than a hundred generations were added to my family tree within the first three days.

    On my father's side of the family, however, I wasn't so fortunate. There were absolutely no results: no new ancestors, no hints, and no merges. I checked every day for three weeks, puzzled that no new information had been added. I decided to do a little extra research. I called my dad and asked him a few questions, and I learned the names of three new ancestors and added them to my pedigree.

    What happened next was amazing. Instantly, the ancestors I had just entered were merged with others in the OneGreatFamily database. Now the family tree that hadn't previously had any new ancestors had more than a dozen generations of ancestry! I gained more than a hundred new ancestors just by entering three individuals.

    If your family tree isn't growing, don't lose hope. After my searching, I was glad I hadn't just given up. All it took was ten minutes of digging, and OneGreatFamily had added twelve new generations on my family tree.

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