Relative Finder is a fun, free genealogy program that’s jokingly referred to as the “gateway drug to family history.” Check it out and you’ll see why:  Relative Finder is a genealogy program that was developed by Tom Sederberg at BYU. It’s been around a while but has a new look and some new features and kids and adults alike love it! And did you miss the “free” part? It’s free genealogy!!!

Relative Finder for finding your roots and relationships

Relative Finder from RootsTech 2016

I’ve created a short video if you’d like to see the program in action.

Relative Finder shows relationships between users and other people, living or deceased. To use Relative Finder you’ll need to have a FamilySearch account and tree and you’ll login with your FamilySearch account. FamilySearch is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and you can create free trees on their site (a word to the wise, your FamilySearch tree shouldn’t be your only family tree or gedcom file–I’ll blog about another time.)

When I login, Relative Finder will show my relationships and the closest relationships will be displayed first. FamilySearch doesn’t let Relative Finder store information on living people so Relative Finder will see my deceased parent has a grandchild and tell me that grandchild is my son or nephew-it can’t discern between the two.

Relative Finder will return relationship results for any relationship you have with someone in a public group. Public groups include:

  • Authors/Poets
  • Business Leaders
  • Catholic-Saints and Popes
  • Classical Composers
  • Constitution Signers
  • Declaration Signers
  • European Royalty
  • Famous Americans
  • Famous Europeans
  • LDS groups including LDS prophets, apostles, pioneers, seventies, and more
  • Mayflower
  • Military Explorers
  • Movie Stars
  • Reformers
  • Salem Witch Trials
  • Science and Technology
  • US Presidents
  • US Presidents’ Wives

Relative Finder works best for people with European descent but but they keep adding interesting ancestral lines and it’s becoming more and more diverse.

You can create groups, join groups, or try to connect with someone by starting a Connect session and inviting them to join. (Again, they’ll need a FamilySearch account and tree-but it’s free!)

I created a group for my family and invited my siblings and their spouses and in-laws. My brother and his wife are 6th cousins! I’ve joined a group my neighbors created and we have fun seeing how closely we’re related (my closest is a 9th cousin but a few of my neighbors are 4th cousins).

My children love the public groups. I have a son who loves science and he likes to see his relationship to famous scientists. I’m 12th cousins with President Obama! After my husband learned my brother was named after a Mayflower ancestor he had the audacity to disprove that lineage. But I got the last laugh, Relative Finder shows that I’m still a Mayflower descendant (although from a different line). I’m a 12th great granddaughter of Richard Warren from the Mayflower. I’m not going to apply to the Society of Mayflower descendants without researching this but it’s fun to see and it’s a great place to start my research.

So if you’re an average person who’s not going to be chosen for Finding Your Roots or Who Do You Think You Are, but you’d like a peek at the possibilities, Relative Finder is for you. That’s why it’s called the gateway drug to family history. You know you wanna try it!

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