Monday, October 6, 2014

Relative Finder ... Wow!

In a recent FamilySearch newsletter there was a link to a BYU site called Relative Finder. I decided to give it a try, but I was not very hopeful. I am a convert. In 40 years of research I have not found any royalty or anyone rich and famous in my family tree. But I was curious. Like most researchers, I am used to dead ends and brick walls. But I am always hopeful that some new tool will bring new successes.

So I clicked the link to  and put in my LDS account credentials, and clicked to search all lists. Well! Surprisingly, I was related to some LDS pioneers and also Elder Jeffrey R Holland of the twelve! Wow! I was vaguely familiar with the fact that one branch of my May family had emigrated to the new world, where son John was somewhat prominent, and on the charts generated by the website, the May family proved to be my connecting link.

My wife became intrigued, so she signed in. She is from a convert family that has done research for even longer than I have. We knew that some of her ancestors were United Empire Loyalists and were descended from original settlers of Massachusetts and Connecticut, but we had never found any connection to royalty. Well, Relative Finder found hundreds of famous relatives, including Robert The Bruce, William The Conqueror, Charlemagne, and many other kings. Obviously the process of verifying these connections will be the work of many years of research. But it is exciting to see the possibilities.

I think it is important to avoid the trap of getting wrapped up in "celebrity hunting", when there are humbler and much closer ancestors who are available for temple ordinances. Charlemagne doesn't need to have his ordinances done for the 375th time. But there may be an Agnes Peabody or a Domna Haluszka somewhere in the family tree who is waiting anxiously for us to find her and see that her ordinances are done.

If you are looking for a way to spark the interest of long-time members who are disinterested in family history, maybe give Relative Finder a try. Once an interest is sparked, see if you can direct it into productive work.

No comments:

Post a Comment