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OneGreatFamily Guest Newsletter

August 24, 2007

Coming Soon: Family Dashboard™

In This Issue:

Coming Soon To OneGreatFamily: Family Dashboard™

Get Ready To See The Future Of Online Genealogy

We are pleased to announce to our OneGreatFamily members something exciting that will be released in the next week or two. After over a year’s time involving hundreds of thousands of development hours, it's finally time to introduce you to the new Family Dashboard™.

Click Here to View Larger Image of the new Family Dashboard

The reason for all the hard work to develop Family Dashboard was to provide you with a new and powerful tool that will help you better work with and enjoy your family tree. Family Dashboard is a platform built on the latest technology. Some of the features you will enjoy are:

  • Relationship Calculator (see how two people are related)
  • Migration Calculator
  • Show you important events right out of your family tree that took place on any day of the year
  • Time Capsule - Enter a date and see important information in history about that date
  • View the top Birth and Death Countries in your family tree
  • See the number of people OneGreatFamily has added to your family tree
  • Report to you how many merges took place and new hints added to your family tree that week
  • Much, much more!

Family Dashboard is actually a foundation built on the concept of widgets. A Widget (sometimes referred to as a Gadget) is simply a small software program that performs a specific function.  Widget technology is very popular, being used by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and other leading edge companies. For OneGreatFamily users, widgets will allow you to more fully and deeply explore your family tree. While it is neat to look at your family tree with all your ancestors, widgets will provide you with the ability to dig in and discover interesting things about your ancestors. They will also help you in your research efforts.

By basing Family Dashboard on drag and drop widgets, you gain two important benefits. First, you can completely customize Family Dashboard to meet your specific needs. Remove widgets, rearrange them, add widgets back—it’s all up to you, however you like.  Put the widgets up top that you like and use the most, and remove the widgets you don’t use at all. 

Second, Family Dashboard is built to be easily extended. We can easily write and add widgets to provide you with other interesting capabilities in the future. And we can do it at any time.  Look forward to contests for suggesting the next great widget.  Also, widgets can be written by any programmer.  It is our goal in the future to provide a development kit that will allow non-OneGreatFamily developers to write their own widgets. It will be great to see what interesting and powerful ideas our OneGreatFamily community comes up with.

Family Dashboard is tightly integrated with Genealogy Browser™. The new Family Dashboard site will be the default site you will see once you login to OneGreatFamily. It will take the place of the current "My Home" page. The Family Dashboard site still contains all the information that was on the old "My Home" page. You will see that information at the top in the blue toolbar labeled "My Home."

Both subscribers and guests will enjoy the new features Family Dashboard has to offer. However, only subscribers will still be allowed to see names and information OneGreatFamily has automatically added to their family tree.

This is only a very brief overview of the extensive new functionality of Family Dashboard. We will be providing you with much more information about Family Dashboard in the coming weeks and months. But the great thing about Family Dashboard is that you can dive right in.  Explore, play, and enjoy!  You might be surprised at what you find out about your Family Tree.

In the next week or two you will be receiving an email announcing the day Family Dashboard goes live!

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Q&A: Interview with OneGreatFamily's CEO Dale Munk About The New Family Dashboard

OneGreatFamily's CEO Shares His Thoughts About Family Dashboard

Q: Dale, thanks for taking a few minutes to talk about Family Dashboard.

A: Let me say it is a pleasure to speak to our subscribers and our guests. Family Dashboard is a big advance in online genealogy and I am anxious to get it out into our user's hands so they can start benefiting from it. And we are very close - it should be just a matter of a few days.

Q: Can you give us some background on what lead OneGreatFamily to develop Family Dashboard?

As you know, OneGreatFamily is the only system on the web today that will automatically match and merge family trees. As a result, we have many, many users who are working with very large family trees- 1000+, 5000+, 10,000+, even 50,000+. The feedback from these users has always been very positive toward Genealogy Browser and its power in helping manage a large tree. But still, the biggest concern we hear is that it remains hard to really enjoy a large family tree. You could say that it was hard to see the ancestors for the tree. So we set out to put together a system that makes it fast, easy and even fun to explore your family tree.

Q: With the system near completion, and after an extensive Beta Test period, do you feel you have accomplished that mission?

A: Yes, we do. Feedback has been very positive. We made a lot of changes based on feedback during the Beta Test to strengthen the system. Users are telling us that they are spending more time and enjoying their family tree more because of Family Dashboard. Perhaps the most unexpected feedback has been from users who are just starting to build their family tree. Even very small trees benefit significantly from Family Dashboard.

Q: What is Widget technology and why is it so important to your users?

A: Widget (or sometimes Gadget) is just a high tech name for a small software program that does one specific thing. So, for example, there is an End of Line widget that shows you all the ancestors in your family tree who currently have no parents. This is a great tool for helping you look for places to work in your family tree. In the past, this function might be a menu choice in your genealogy software program. The advantages of a Widget system are threefold. First, if you don't ever use this widget you can remove it entirely or move it to the bottom of the page so it is out of the way. If you decide to use it later, you can bring it back or move it - complete flexibility. Second, if we want to put out a new piece of functionality we can just write and release the new widget. It is much easier and faster than putting out a new program. Third, we will be publishing a toolkit that allows users to write widgets. That is when we expect to see a real flood of innovation.

Q: What is your favorite Widget?

A: That's a hard one to answer, because there are several I really like a lot. But if you insist on one, I would say the Migration Calculator. There is a common perception that people just immigrated to the United States, but it is fascinating to see that in real life some ancestral lines go back and forth across the Atlantic before finally settling down in America. I didn't expect to see that and it is very interesting to be able to show that to family members.

Q: So what is next for OneGreatFamily?

A: Well, we have some interesting things in the pipeline, but we don't announce functionality until it is ready to be released. You'll just have to stay tuned.
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American Indian Ancestors

By Kimberly Brown, Family Historian

Maybe you’ve heard a family legend about a famous Indian chief in your line, or maybe you know for certain that you have Native American blood. Either way, finding your Indian ancestors is not difficult if you know where to look.

For starters, it’s helpful if you can find out what tribe your ancestors came from. Then you can get a basic idea of the localities that you should search. For a detailed list of Indian tribes and their locations, go to:

Depending on where your ancestors lived, they may have been included in Indian census records.

Beginning in 1884, Indian agencies were required to take yearly censuses of Indian reservations. Don’t forget to check ordinary census records also. Before 1880, when Indians were first listed as a separate race, they appeared in census records and were listed as white, black, or mulatto. In the 1900, 1910, and 1920 federal censuses, the Indian population is listed, usually at the end of the county. Some of the census records even provide such detailed information as an individual’s Indian name, English name, tribe, degree of Indian blood, and land allotment history.

Some of the best sources for finding Native American ancestors are land records. Beginning in the 1820s, the federal government began relocating native Indian populations to reservations in Oklahoma and other places. After 1887, the government began allotting land to individual tribe members. If your ancestor was allotted land by the government, then you’ll be able to find him in land records. Even better, when a landholder died, his land was usually transferred to his family. By tracing the chain of title for a piece of land, you can trace a family’s history through the generations. You can find this information in land transfer records, plat maps, or county recorder’s book for the county where your ancestors lived.

Land transfer records are also available from the Dawes Commission. This commission was established in 1893 to facilitate the exchange of Indian lands in the southern United States for land in Oklahoma. If your Native American ancestor lived in the south during this time or was a member of the Seminole, Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, or Chickasaw tribes, it is likely that he is in the Dawes Commission records.

If you are searching for very early Native American ancestors, you may want to check the records of fur companies such as the Hudson Bay Company, the American Fur Company, the North West Company, and the North American Commercial Company. These companies recorded information for their employees and their families, many of whom were Indians. These records are now available on microfilm.

Whatever records you search, whether they are fur company rosters or federal census enumerations, be sure to search for alternate names. Your ancestor could be listed under his or her Indian name, English name, or even a French or Spanish name.

As you search for your ancestors, you’ll be surprised how many resources there are for searching for your Indian ancestors. CyndisList and USGenWeb both have divisions dedicated to Native American research:

Both these lists provide links to societies and records devoted just to searching Native American genealogy. Your Indian ancestry could be just a mouse-click or a microfilm away!

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One Great Genealogy Site Award provides links to several interesting databases and genealogy utilities, including a beginner's tutorial and a county locator. Some of the databases are Bible Records, Cemetery Records, Census Records, Military Records, Native American Records, and More! You can also download Free Genealogy Charts and see genealogy data organized by US State. Visit to find information to add to your Family Tree.

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

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