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OneGreatFamily Guest Newsletter

August 16, 2007

Find The World's Largest Family Tree At OneGreatFamily

In This Issue:

OneGreatFamily Is The World's Largest Family Tree

OneGreatFamily Is One Single, Unified, Global Family Tree

OneGreatFamily is unique from all other genealogical services available today.

Most online genealogy services are just collections of trees. Each user works on his or her individual tree, manually searching all the other trees in the collection to try to find ancestors. Some services actually try to go a step further by finding and cross-linking all the other trees that contain a common ancestor. This makes it easier for you to manually compare the trees with that ancestor in them.

In the end, you are still left with the enormous task of reviewing all the ancestors in all these other trees, and deciding one by one which ancestors to bring into your individual family tree, and which ones to leave out.

Contrast this to OneGreatFamily, where everyone is working on one single, unified, global family tree. Members have the ability to collaborate with others from around the world who are also viewing OneGreatFamily's single, unified, global family tree from their own unique perspectives.

If two members look at the same person in OneGreatFamily they may see things quite differently depending on what each member has verified and accepted. OneGreatFamily preserves all discrepancies and variations in its one single, global family tree.

For example, one member may only accept three children listed for an ancestor while another member has found and accepted five children for that same ancestor. OneGreatFamily lets each member view the information the way they prefer, yet at the same time each member can look at the other's accepted view. Even if one member deletes information others have accepted, that information remains for anyone who has accepted it.

However, OneGreatFamily is more than just one single, unified, global family tree! OneGreatFamily employs unique software that does the work of matching and merging family trees for you. This practically eliminates the enormous task of deciding one by one which ancestors to bring into your individual family tree.

If a user adds a family unit that is already in the one single, unified, global family tree, OneGreatFamily's software will first detect that this is redundant information. Next it will automatically merge this new information into the existing information, preserving this member's view of the information as entered. The member will automatically gain access to all the other information that is already in the one single, unified, global family tree related to this family unit, which could literally be tens of thousands of ancestors. Finally, for all other members any differences in information provided by this member will automatically be flagged for their review at their convenience.

It is this process that leads to customer experiences like this one: "I entered a new ancestor on August 6. I checked my tree the next day. It had grown from this 1 new ancestor (which was generation # 17 and a total of 126 ancestors) to generation 118 and 1443 ancestors!!!"

OneGreatFamily is truly a powerful genealogy service that provides unique benefits to those who use it.

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OneGreatFamily Tip: Two Ways To Guarantee Success At OneGreatFamily

What Can You Do At OneGreatFamily To See Your Family Tree Grow?

OneGreatFamily is a remarkable service that continues to help people identify tens of thousands of previously unknown ancestors each week. Are you experiencing this success? Nearly 120,000 individuals in the OneGreatFamily database were merged together within the last week, and nearly 34,000 were identified as potential duplicates. What does this mean?

When merges take place or new hints appear, it means OneGreatFamily is growing and the information included at OneGreatFamily is becoming more accurate. This activity also means that people whose genealogies are included as part of OneGreatFamily are seeing their family trees continue to grow.

How can you make sure you are one of the people who benefits from this amazing growth and collaboration? We'd like to suggest two ways:

  1. Submit Your Entire Known Family Tree!

    The more information you provide to OneGreatFamily, the greater your chance of tying into other ancestral lines at OneGreatFamily. OneGreatFamily allows people to enter information directly into the Genealogy Browser or to submit a GEDCOM file to start their family tree. With each additional generation you enter of your own family tree, you are increasing your ability to know if another member of OneGreatFamily is already working on your family tree. Identifying ONE common ancestor can result in adding THOUSANDS of additional ancestors to your family tree!

    Many people have been able to find new matching data and meet distant relatives after entering only a few generations of their family trees . . . or even just a few ancestors; however, others with "less common" ancestors may need to supply OneGreatFamily with more information to get started. As OneGreatFamily continues to grow and grow, you are more and more likely to find further success.

  2. See Your Family Tree To The End Of Each Line

    OneGreatFamily only shows the first seven generations of your family tree as its default setting; however, you may actually have more than seven generations of data available at OneGreatFamily.

    You can identify whether or not you are seeing your entire family tree by recognizing "end of line" individuals. An "end of line" individual is someone in the OneGreatFamily family tree with no known ancestors. You can find them quickly because they are in red boxes as shown in the example below.

    If you see a line in your family tree that doesn't end with an individual in a red box, you are not seeing your entire family tree. It's easy to change the preference for how many generations can be viewed in Genealogy Browser™. You can then expand the Starfield View (pedigree) to see your entire family tree at OneGreatFamily.

    You will notice a drop down menu in the toolbar section at the top of Genealogy Browser. This 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 play around with it, now that it is right there on the toolbar. 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 50 generations. Dial-up users might want to start with 20 generations.

    Remember, the higher the number, the longer it will 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!
    You can view any and all information you have contributed to OneGreatFamily without subscribing; however, the ability to view details on individuals who have been added to your tree through the OneGreatFamily service is reserved for subscribers only.
Thank you for supporting this monumental effort in genealogy. OneGreatFamily continues to grow in value with each passing day, increasing your chances of finding new ancestors and discovering new information about your family tree.
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Spelling by Soundex

By Kimberly Brown, Family Historian

Prolific American novelist Mark Twain is quoted as having said, “I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.” Those of us researching our family trees can all understand what he meant. Noah Webster's An American Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1828, but spelling wasn't entirely standardized by then. Lower literacy rates and non-standardized English made for what Mark Twain may have called "creative" spelling. The spelling of surnames continued to be especially flexible. Good genealogists understand the importance of using spelling variations when searching for ancestors. Some name variations, such as Thomson and Thompson, or Hanson and Hansen, are obvious. Others are more far-fetched and difficult to guess. Instead of scratching your head and trying to come up with variations, you can try searching by Soundex.

In the 1930s the Works Progress Administration began indexing census records by Soundex, a code based on the way names sound. Today, you can still search the Soundex index for some census years, and you can use the Soundex code to come up with possible surname variations.

The code is based on consonant sounds. Each consonant belongs to a different number:

Soundex Code
1 B, P, F, V
2 C, S, K, G, J, Q, X, Z
3 D, T
4 L
5 M, N
6 R

To code a name, list the first letter of the name, regardless of whether it is a consonant or a vowel. Then code the next three consonants in the name. Ignore vowels and the letters Y and H.

For example, let’s Soundex my last name, Brown.
Take the first letter of the name:
Take the next consonant, R, and find its Soundex number:
Code the next consonant, N:
Since there is not a third consonant, fill in a zero:

The Soundex code for Brown is B-650, and it can represent Braun, Browne, or Brown. If there are double letters in a surname, such as in Pullman or Jessop, code the double letters as if they were one. If there are letters side by side that are not the same but are assigned to the same number, code the letters as if they were one. For example, in the surname Jackson, the letters C, K, and S are all side by side, and so they are Soundexed as one number. Thus Jackson becomes J-250.

If you are searching for names with prefixes, such as Van Orden or O'Connor, you should try searching for the name with and without the prefix. On the other hand, when you search for Scottish names such as McDonald or MacIntyre, you should include the prefix as part of the coded name.

Once you know the Soundex code for the family name you are looking for, you can find the family in the Soundex. Almost all census record collections, whether online or on microfilm, have an index available for all census records that have been Soundexed. The index will tell you where to find to find the actual census record for your ancestral family. You can also use the Soundex code to generate alternate surnames to search in other records. For example, Johnson can become Janssen, Jameson, or Jenison. The elusive family you are searching for may just be hiding behind a variant surname, and the Soundex can help you uncover them.

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    Managing Editor: Heather Matthews
    Contributors: Heather Matthews, Rob Armstrong and Kimberly Brown
    Editor: Eric Hoffman

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