Visualizing the Tree

Now that FamilySearch Family Tree is live and they also allow other programs to access that data on your behalf, we’re able to do cool things with it. RootsMagic allows you to connect members of your local family tree database to FamilySearch Family Tree where you can copy data and sources back and forth.

But, there are also other cool things that some websites are doing with your data. Puzzilla.org is one of those sites. They allow you to view a descendant or ancestor tree visually using the data on FamilySearch. Here is my ancestor tree out to 14-generations.

Brian Zalewski Ancestor Tree

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I am the small blue, circled square at the bottom. As you can tell, my maternal side is much more filled out inside of FamilySearch. I have cleaned up back about 4-5 generations, but beyond that, it’s all based on what other people have added. Remember, this is just what info FamilySearch has in their Family Tree. For example, the little orange squares mean that the individual died before the age of 16, which seems odd to have for ancestors that had children.

The cool feature that I love to use with this site is choosing a distant ancestor and viewing their descendant tree. It allows you to see distant cousins you never knew you had. Plus, it looks really neat when you do it for a “super” ancestor like Zacharie Cloutier who “had 10,850 French-Canadian descendants, the most of any Quebec colonist” and is my 11th-great-grandfather. Here is his descendant view only down 4 generations.

Zacharie Cloutier Descendant Tree

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How cool looking is that? If you look hard enough, you can see the yellow lines that lead to my family lines. Again, lots and lots of “died before 16″ marks, which may be due to bad/wrong data inside the Family Tree. This is also a good way to see bad/wrong data and go in and fix it.

I love being able to use data for non-standard purposes like this and I hope a lot of other creative people plug into the FamilySearch API and make more of these.

About Brian Zalewski

I started genealogy research about mid-1999. My grandfather had passed away in April of that year. Since then I’ve done a lot of research not only for myself, but for friends and other relatives. In 2006, I married the love of my life, Darcy, and welcomed the birth of our daughter, Aerissa Jean, in 2010 and our son, Xander Lee, in 2012. I can’t wait to tell them stories about all of their ancestors.

Additional Resources

A Featured Post

Tip: Searching Milwaukee Newspapers

If you have any ancestors that lived in the Greater Milwaukee area from 1884-2007, you’re in luck. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s website has access to search and view newspapers from its history, specifically: The Milwaukee Journal from 1884-1995 Milwaukee Sentinel from 1909-1995 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from 1995-2007 It’s a great collection of news and information […]