OneGreatFamily Guest Newsletter
November 3, 2005

Solve Your Genealogy Challenges at OneGreatFamily

In This Issue:

OneGreatFamily Solves Genealogy Challenges

How does OneGreatFamily solve the challenge of knowing who else is researching your family tree?

OneGreatFamily uses matching and merging to tie family trees with shared lines together in a meaningful way. This process removes duplication from the OneGreatFamily database, which allows you to see all the available information for each person in your family tree and to see each person or group that has provided information for each person. You no longer have to review dozens or hundreds of duplicate records for the same family members. The merging process also provides you with certainty that you are meeting and collaborating with others who are researching your ancestors.

After the family trees have been tied together, you can access the information others have provided for YOUR ancestors. This is done by checking your family tree for new information. Any individuals who are added to your family tree will appear in gray boxes. You can also review hints and conflicts that appear in your family tree. Hints are indicated by lightbulbs and conflicts are indicated by lightning bolts. You can review past newsletters or our online help files to learn more about these features.

As you review hints and conflicts, you can also see the other groups in OneGreatFamily that provided the additional information. You can then collaborate with these groups using the collaborate feature in the Genealogy Browser. This process allows you to contact and communicate with other members of OneGreatFamily via email. OneGreatFamily automatically references the individual in the family tree on whom you wish to collaborate in your email message.

Several people have been surprised over the years to find that other members of OneGreatFamily have duplicated or extended research they had already done. The ability to find and collaborate with other researchers can create relationships with distant cousins and provide a wealth of genealogical information that may be hard to find otherwise.

By combining duplicate research, OneGreatFamily also makes information available on collateral genealogical lines. A collateral line is a line that includes the descendants of a sibling of your ancestor. Collateral lines provide valuable clues to fill in gaps or answer questions related to your direct line. They also let you see how you are related to your distant cousins and others with whom you collaborate on OneGreatFamily.

The ability to meet and collaborate with others who are researching your family tree is one of the core benefits provided by OneGreatFamily. OneGreatFamily is the ONLY genealogy service designed to let you see everyone else who is researching your family tree and to let you see how you are related to the rest of humanity.

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The Handprint Concept at OneGreatFamily

What is the handprint concept and how does it benefit my family tree?

Most genealogy sites today let you search large record collections to try to find details about your ancestors. This technique focuses primarily on names, dates and places to identify ancestors. Names, Dates and Places are valuable, but they have limitations. How many Benjamin Johnsons might have been born in Arlington, Virginia on July 5th, 1921? Focusing on family relationships is far more effective in identifying an ancestor as a unique individual. In our previous example, you would feel much more confident that you had found your ancestor if the mother’s and father’s names matched in addition to the ancestor’s name, date and place.

OneGreatFamily takes a very different approach to genealogy by factoring in all the direct relationships of an ancestor in addition to names, dates and places when searching.

We call this unique way of searching the genealogy handprint. Like a fingerprint, it is a way to uniquely identify an individual based on relationships rather than patterns made by the ridges of your skin.

The genealogy handprint can be visualized by thinking of an ancestor standing in the palm of your hand, with your fingers outstretched. Then visualize each of that ancestor’s family members standing on the fingers. On one finger stands the person’s father, on another is his mother, on another is his spouse, on another stands the ancestor’s children and on the last stands his siblings. Those relationships taken together, then coupled with dates and places will uniquely identify an individual far better and more accurately than just names, dates, and places.

You are able to view any ancestor’s handprint in Genealogy Browser™. Selecting any name in the Starfield makes that person the current individual. OneGreatFamily then displays that individual's unique handprint, allowing you to see the relationships that identify who that person is. The handprint view also lets you see details for the selected individual and for that individual's family.

Clicking on the selected individual opens those details, and allows you to edit the record and view additional information, such as biographies, photos, notes, and sources. By clicking the button that says "Family Info" you can view the details of the selected individual's immediate family. You can see the family in which that person was a child or the family in which the individual was a parent (if there were offspring). The family view provides marriage/divorce information and access to additional information that applies to the entire family.

OneGreatFamily’s unique handprint technology is also useful when finding matches in the OneGreatFamily database and showing you where more information is available on your family tree. While OneGreatFamily searches for matches with everyone who has submitted their family trees to OneGreatFamily, only subscribers gain unlimited access to the new relationships and the information that results from the matching and merging process.

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Lisa Lights the Way


by Lisa South, Certified Genealogist

The first time I heard someone talking about the NUCMC, I thought “what on earth is a Nucmuc and where do I find one?” Although a little naïve, it was a good question because the NUCMC can be a valuable tool in doing family history research. NUCMC stands for the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections. It is a catalog of many of the manuscripts collections that have been given to archives, libraries, museums, colleges, etc.

All over the U.S. colleges, universities, archives, libraries and museums have been the repository of manuscript collections. People have found papers they feel are of significant historical value and donated them to one of the above. In an effort to make these records available to historians, genealogists, etc., the NUCMC was created in 1959

You may feel that you ancestor had to be someone of historical significance for them to be mentioned in such a manuscript, but that is not the case.
Often our ancestors were doing what they considered were mundane things and yet for us the document has an historical importance. Perhaps your ancestor was a neighbor of someone whose records, letters etc. would end up in a collection and the neighbors were mentioned. Statistically, you are not often going to find your ancestors listed by name in one of these collections, but it is certainly worth looking at. The occasional “bonanza”
of information is wonderful, and even if you do not find any of your ancestors by name, you can learn more about the time and area they lived in, which is also important in genealogical research.

The first NUCMC was printed in 1959 and from 1959 until 1993 they were printed in volumes. In 1985 they began putting the NUCMC online and from
1985 until 1993 they had both the printed volumes and the on-line information. In 1993 they discontinued printing the NUCMC. The records from 1985 and forward can be accessed online using either the Research Libraries Group Union Catalog (RLG) or the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). Both can be found under the heading “Searching Manuscripts” at

The earlier NUCMC’s are out of print, but can be ordered for $35.00 per volume from The Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service, 101 Independence Ave. SE Stop 5230, Washington D.C. 20540-5230

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah has a two volume name index, “Index to personal names in the National Catalog of Manuscript Collections 2959-1984”. It contains about 200,000 names but has not been microfilmed. This library also has all the NUCMC volumes from 1959-1993.
They, too, have not been microfilmed, and thus are not available for inter-library loan at their branch libraries. You may want to check with your local public library to see what might be available through its inter-library loan system.

One Great Genealogy Site Award

Association of Professional Genealogists

APG is an independent organization whose principal purpose is to support professional genealogists in all phases of their work: from the amateur genealogist wishing to turn knowledge and skill into a vocation, to the experienced professional seeking to exchange ideas with colleagues and to upgrade the profession as a whole. The association also seeks to protect the interest of those engaging in the services of the professional.

This site provides information if you are interested in:
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Managing Editor: Heather Matthews
Contributors: Heather Matthews, Lisa South and Rob Armstrong
Editor: Tracy Armstrong

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