OneGreatFamily Blog

  • OneGreatFamily Will Save You Time

    OneGreatFamily Can Speed Up Your Research!

    With all of our busy schedules we don't have much time in the day to do the things we really like to do, such as spending time with those we love. Working on our genealogy is something we often can't spend as much time on as we would like because of other obligations. So when we do have a few moments to spend, it is important that we be as efficient as possible. Using traditional research techniques is essential, yet much time can be saved if we can see the work that others have already done. We save time in not pursuing dead ends already explored, or in focusing on pursuing evidence for a lead someone else uncovered. OneGreatFamily was created to make researching as efficient as possible, saving time and money.

    OneGreatFamily searches for ALL your ancestors ALL the time. It identifies leads for both new ancestors as well as additional information about known ancestors. And it helps you zoom right in to focus on those leads. This process saves YOU hours or even years of time!

    To get started all you have to do is submit what you already know about your family tree. You can either provide us with a GEDCOM file or enter the information you have in Genealogy BrowserT. Include as many relationships as you can, even aunts and uncles. With more than 280 million names already submitted and between one and three million new names being submitted each month, you are sure to find research leads on your ancestors at OneGreatFamily . . . in the near future, if not today.

    Once your family tree is submitted, an automatic review process looks at each individual in your family tree and begins searching for individuals that are identical within OneGreatFamily. When OneGreatFamily identifies that two ancestors match, this means new information becomes available to you . . . on a specific ancestor or even an entire branch of your family tree! A match with someone else's data also provides a point for further collaboration within OneGreatFamily.

    OneGreatFamily also makes your own searching more efficient by identifying and merging away duplicate family trees and individuals. You don't need to spend hours wading through copies of the same family tree fragments submitted by dozens or hundreds of different people. OneGreatFamily presents you with a largely de-duplicated version of an individual or a family tree fragment, including conflicting vital information, alternate spellings, notes, sources and other important clues.

    OneGreatFamily also saves you time by allowing distant relatives to help each other grow their family trees through collaboration.

    So take the first step to efficiently working on your genealogy by first submitting your family tree. Remember, OneGreatFamily is working all the time, even when you can't!

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  • Famous Ancestor: Thomas Paine

    Thomas Paine, a poor corsetmaker, came to the colonies from England in 1774, just in time to participate in the American Revolution. He published his famed pamphlet Common Sense anonymously in Philadelphia in January of 1776.

    Unlike earlier revolutionaries, who had criticized Parliament's taxation of the colonies but not the king himself, Paine attacked King George as a tyrant and denounced the institution of monarchy on the grounds that all men were created equal. He used Biblical language to condemn King George, calling him the "Pharaoh of England" and comparing his taxation of the colonies to the oppression of the Israelites by Solomon. He wrote:

    "But where, some say, is the King of America? I'll tell you, Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind...let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know...that in America THE LAW IS KING. For in absolute governments the King is the law, so in free countries the law ought to be the King."

    From 1776 to 1783, Paine published a pamphlet series entitled The American Crisis, in which he wrote the famed words, "These are the times that try men's souls," and argued for the revolutionary cause.

    To view Thomas Paine's Family Tree, login to OneGreatFamily, launch Genealogy Browser, and enter OGFN#596897443. You can also see whether or not you are related to Thomas Paine by going to the Relationship Calculator on the Family Dashboard Page when you login to OneGreatFamily.

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  • The Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System

    In English, one letter can represent more than one sound, and one sound can be represented by more than one letter. Thus two names (surnames or place names) that are pronounced exactly the same can be spelled in very different ways. For that reason, Robert C. Russell developed the American Soundex System, dividing each consonant in the English language into eight categories:

    1. Sounds made with lips (b, f, p, v)
    2. Gutturals and sibilants (c, g, k, q, s, x, z)
    3. Sounds made with the tongue and teeth, or the tongue and the roof of the mouth (d, t)
    4. l, a unique sound
    5. m and n
    6. r, a unique sound

    Under the American Soundex System, many Eastern European Jewish names that sounded the same did not have the same Soundex code. The letters w and v were problematic, since they should have been interchangeable for the sake of Jewish names (like the surnames Moskovitz and Moskowitz, for instance).

    In the first issue of the AVOTAYNU genealogy newsletter, Gary Mokotoff published an article entitled, "Proposal for a Jewish Soundex Code." One major difference between this system and the American Soundex System was that in this system the first letter of a name was encoded as a number. If the first letter was a vowel, it was assigned as a zero. Double-letter combinations that essentially represented the same sound (such as tx, tz, and tc) were coded with a single number. (see Footnote Below)

    Randy Daitch, another researcher of Jewish genealogy, responded to Mokotoff's article by proposing the following additional changes:

    • Names would be encoded to six places, or six digits, rather than four. This would give the researcher fewer surnames to check.
    • Other multiple-letter combinations from Slavic and German were added.
    • For the purpose of databases, if a combination of letters could have two possible sounds, it was encoded in both ways (a hard ch versus a soft ch, for instance).

    The new system, with the contributions of Mokotoff and Daitch, became the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System. It is sometimes nicknamed the Jewish Soundex System or the Eastern European Soundex System, and it has become standard for all indexing projects conducted by Jewish genealogical organizations.

    (Footnote): Gary Mokotoff, "Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System," Appendix D, Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy,ed. Sallyann Amdur Sack and Gary Mokotoff (Bergenfield, New Jersey: Avotaynu, 2004), 591-594.

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  • Are There Thousands Of People Hiding In Your OneGreatFamily Tree?

    How much of your family tree do you want to see when you open OneGreatFamily's Genealogy Browser? Do you know how many ancestors are really in your family tree at OneGreatFamily?

    Many of you may have noticed this on your Genealogy Browser toolbar but never really understood what it can show you:

    Number of Generations Display on the Toolbar

    You will notice this drop down menu in the toolbar section at the top of Genealogy Browser. This convenient menu lets you quickly and easily set the number of generations to be displayed in the Starfield area.

    Many users have never changed this setting and so have never actually seen everything that OneGreatFamily has found for them. If you have never changed this setting, we strongly encourage you to explore this feature. You can select a value off the drop down menu or just enter a value into the box. If you are on a high-speed internet connection, we would suggest you try starting with at least 32 generations. Dial-up users might want to start with 16 generations.

    Remember, the higher the number, the longer it may take to load your pedigree. Still, you could be surprised to see how much OneGreatFamily has added to your family tree, and it will be worth the wait!

    Everyone can see the size and shape of their family tree on OneGreatFamily; however, only subscribers will be able to see the names of the ancestors found by OneGreatFamily's matching and merging process.

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  • Famous Ancestor - Nelson Mandela

    Born as Rolihlahla Mandela, Nelson Mandela was given his English first name by a schoolteacher. He was the first president of South Africa to be elected in fully democratic elections and held office from 1994 to 1999.

    Mandela was born in 1918 in the South African district of Umtata. After studying law, he became politically active in the African National Congress (ANC) and worked to end apartheid. Although he initially advocated nonviolent protest, he became disillusioned with the effectiveness of nonviolent tactics and in 1961 he led a bombing campaign against government buildings. In 1964, he was arrested along with other prominent ANC leaders and convicted of sabotage and armed action against the South African government.

    He was imprisoned at Robben Island, just off the coast near Cape Town, for the next eighteen years. In 1982 he was moved to another prison; finally in 1990 he was released by South African president Frederik Willem de Klerk. That same year, the ANC's existence was legalized and Mandela was elected as the organization's official president.

    Mandela and de Klerk participated in a series of negotiations and peace talks, and they were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. On 27 April 1994, South Africa's first fully democratic elections were held and the ANC won 62% of the votes. As the elected leader of the ANC, Nelson Mandela became the first president of non-apartheid South Africa and led his nation into a new age of equality.

    To view Nelson Mandela's Family Tree, login to OneGreatFamily, launch Genealogy Browser, and enter OGFN# 598568281. You can also see whether or not you are related to Nelson Mandela by going to the Relationship Calculator on the Family Dashboard Page when you login to OneGreatFamily.

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