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OneGreatFamily Guest Newsletter

March 30, 2006

Are You Taking Full Advantage of What OneGreatFamily Has to Offer?

In This Issue:

Are you taking full advantage of everything OneGreatFamily has to offer?

Submitted Your Family Tree to OneGreatFamily? See what you can do now.

The OneGreatFamily Tree is a powerful genealogy database that is shared and built by people like you from all over the world. Everyone's genealogy ties into the OneGreatFamily Tree. Once you have submitted what information you have about your ancestors, there is more to do at OneGreatFamily:

  1. Discover what has been done on your family tree already: Every single name, date, place, picture, biography and video clip has been submitted by people like you. In fact, the OneGreatFamily Tree started without a single name. Users in over 170 countries have submitted over 120,000,000 names . . . and we've only just begun! So what does a "shared" worldwide database mean to you? It means someone else may have already entered dozens or even hundreds of your ancestors!

  2. Start researching where others left off: Spend some time searching for your ancestors at OneGreatFamily and pay special attention to new information that is added to your pedigree over time. This will help you know what research others have already done or are doing on your family tree. You can then spend your time conducting new research or simply verifying information that others have provided.

  3. Meet and collaborate with family: OneGreatFamily allows people around the world to work on one common family tree. This means others can be researching and improving information on your ancestors. Wouldn't you like to meet and collaborate with these genealogical cousins? You can! OneGreatFamily provides collaboration features that allow you to work with other researchers and family members.

  4. Search millions of names: At OneGreatFamily, you can search millions of names in the OneGreatFamily Tree and in the Social Security Death Index. When you find an individual that you would like to learn more about, simply click on them to view detailed information that we store in our databases.

  5. See your entire pedigree at once: OneGreatFamily provides you with powerful software for viewing, organizing, and saving your family tree. As your family tree continues to grow, you can easily see what you have accomplished and where OneGreatFamily has helped. OneGreatFamily does what no other family tree software can do by letting you see your entire family tree at one time! You can zoom in to see more detail and zoom out to get a view of your family tree.

  6. Automatically find your ancestors: Create your family tree and watch it grow automatically over time. OneGreatFamily searches for ALL of your ancestors, ALL the time. Automatic processes continually review the ever-growing OneGreatFamily Tree. If two individuals are identical, they are automatically identified as being the same. If the individuals appear to be the same person but have different relationships, birth data, or death data, you will be able to manually determine if they are the same and merge the records together.

  7. Connect you to the original online family tree: We connect you to the largest family tree online so you can see how you are related to the rest of humanity! Start by creating your family tree at OneGreatFamily or by submitting a family tree you have already created. If anyone else has been working on your family tree, OneGreatFamily will automatically identify common ancestors and tie your family's branch into the largest single family tree available.
As OneGreatFamily continues to grow, we are committed to the success of each of our members in furthering genealogy research and connecting to work that has already been completed in OneGreatFamily. Our hope is that everyone who visits OneGreatFamily will come to appreciate the unique services provided to the genealogical community.
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OneGreatFamily Tip: When Should I Accept a Hint or Conflict?

Examples of when you should or should not merge data

OneGreatFamily is the first truly collaborative genealogy service that allows everyone in the world to work on a common family tree. Overcoming the challenges of letting people work on the same family tree hasn't been easy. First, we had to ensure that people would always be able to retain "their own" view of their family tree. This means that OneGreatFamily respects the opinions and information provided by each person using OneGreatFamily and preserves each unique perspective. Where conflicts or disputed evidence occurs in OneGreatFamily, each person maintains his or her right to see the information believed to be "right" or "most accurate."

Where other software applications require an immediate choice made as to which version of information to keep when merging two individuals together, OneGreatFamily allows users to merge individuals and still preserve all of the information from both trees that have been merged.

The rule for merging two people together in OneGreatFamily is quite simple (but can actually require collaboration or additional research): "Feel comfortable merging together any two individuals in OneGreatFamily who you are confident are actually the same person." The question then becomes, "How confident?"

OneGreatFamily can help with your confidence level. When you click on a hint light bulb, you will see a tab at the top that shows OneGreatFamily's confidence level that the two records are duplicates. Hints only occur if there is a high probability of duplication. You can look at parents, spouses, children, siblings, and event information to become more confident in your decision to either merge the records or to reject the hint.

Here are two good examples:

Example 1: Two individuals in OneGreatFamily have the same name, parents and birth information. They also have identical spouses by name. On closer examination, however, you see that the version in your tree includes three children and the other version includes only one child. The child included in the other version is also included in your list of children.

This is a case where you can safely merge the two individuals. OneGreatFamily did not automatically merge them because they had different information for the children; however, the chance that they are actually two different people is remote.

Merging these two people will create a conflict, but that's OK. You will continue to see three children from your perspective, and the person who submitted the other version of the family tree will now "inherit" two additional children. Merging the two lines together may provide both of you additional names and information for your known family trees.

That's part of the power of OneGreatFamily. You can collaborate with the person who submitted the other version of the family tree. In this case, there is a good chance the other researcher has only focused on a direct line and has chosen not to research other siblings. Merging the common ancestor can provide one or both of you with exciting new leads and information to verify and "make your own."

Example 2: Two men in OneGreatFamily have the same parents and birth information, but their wives and children don't look the same. Upon closer inspection, the two men have one wife in common, but one of the men has a second wife listed. You look further and recognize most of the children also have the same information. The common wife also has the same birth information and names for parents.

In this case, you can also safely merge the two men and the wife who is listed as the spouse in both cases; however, be careful NOT to merge the second wife who was listed for one of the men with the first. Merging the two duplicate men does not mean you agree that he had two wives or that you necessarily agree with the information included in the other family tree. It simply means there is enough information available to identify both individuals as the same person.

Merging these people will also create conflicts. You will have conflicts on the children as well as on the spouses. You will want to merge both instances of the common wife, since you have verified that the information has been duplicated and merge together any duplicate children. Take care NOT to merge the two wives together, since they are not the same person and come from different families.

You can feel comfortable merging people together who are obviously the same, even if all of the detailed information doesn't match perfectly. Use your common sense to only merge together people who are in fact duplicates of each other. Looking at available notes and sources can be another tool to identify when two people are duplicates.

You will always be prompted to resolve conflicts that occur as a result of merging people together. Don't feel that you need to accept the information that has been supplied by others as your own. You will want to refer to notes and sources to inform any decisions you make. You can also contact the other researcher to learn more about the information they have supplied. Differences in opinion or evidence are natural in genealogy. Resolving all conflicts, although it may sound like a noble goal, is not necessary to succeed with OneGreatFamily.

OneGreatFamily will continue to automatically provide hints and merges; however, your participation and the participation of others is vital in the effort to create a "common family tree" for all of humanity.

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Lisa Lights the Way

Military Records

by Lisa South, Certified Genealogist

The following article was written in the September 16, 2005 OneGreatFamily newsletter. Since Lisa is no longer writing for us, we are featuring some of our favorite articles written by her.

Like most people, I hate war; like many women, I hate war movies, so I find it interesting that I have such a fascination with military records.

If we chart the wars that America has participated in and add the possibility that our ancestors may have served in the regular army during times of peace, military records will be of interest to almost every researcher.

There are three main types of military records created by the federal government: military, pension, and bounty-land. There are many other records, regimental histories, etc., that will be discussed in future issues, and, of course, if your ancestor served in the Confederacy or state militia, state records must also be searched. (This will also be covered in a future issue).

Military records do not usually give birth information or list relationships, and death information will only be given if your ancestor died during the time of service. Military records, however, give information about the places, battles, etc., that involved your ancestor. They can also give you clues to other records; for instance, if they were hospitalized, became prisoners of war, or were transferred to another regiment. Occasionally, a military record will give you a physical description of the serviceman.

Pension records can be a real help for a genealogist. You never know what you might find. One of my ancestors was asked to list his wife and all his children, living and dead with their birth dates, his marriage date, if he had a former marriage - it was an amazing amount of material! Of course, not every person that served in the military will have applied for a pension.

Bounty-land was land awarded for military service. These can help you identify where your ancestor may have lived, but we must remember that these warrants could be sold. If someone owned bounty land, it is not proof that the person served in the military. No bounty land was issued after the Homestead Act of 1862.

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One Great Genealogy Site Award

Find Your Female Ancestors

The website,, has a unique section titled, "Find Your Female Ancestors." As many of you may have discovered, female ancestors are often hard to find. Because of name changes and lost marriage records, it is often difficult, if not impossible, to find your female ancestors' lineage. At, you will find a free genealogy database containing female ancestors submitted by visitors to help find your female ancestors and surnames. 

  • Visit - Find Your Female Ancestors
  • See past award recipients
  • Recommend a Site Award recipient

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  • Get FREE Time on

    Want some FREE time?

    Current subscribers can earn additional free time by referring others to OneGreatFamily needs your help in growing the largest single family tree in the world. You can get free subscription time on OneGreatFamily by referring others to this unique service. When anyone you refer to OneGreatFamily subscribes to our service and enters your username, you get an additional free month.

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    Managing Editor: Heather Matthews
    Contributors: Heather Matthews, Lisa South and Rob Armstrong
    Editor: Tracy Armstrong

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