OneGreatFamily Blog

  • OneGreatFamily Tip: Genealogy Browser Toolbar

    What Do The Various Buttons On The Toolbar Do?

    Genealogy Browser has very unique buttons that we would like to feature.

    Common Ancestors
    -Common Ancestors are indicated by individuals (stars) that are colored blue. Common Ancestors are individuals who show up multiple times in your genealogy because they are connected to you in more than one genealogical line. If you mouse over a Common Ancestor, a line will appear connecting you to the other place in your genealogy where the same person exists. You will also find a button of a blue tilted line in the toolbar of Genealogy BrowserT. By clicking on this button, all of the lines between your common ancestors will appear in your StarfieldTM. Here is what a common ancestor will look like:

    Hints -OneGreatFamily continually works for you as we try to find possible matches to your genealogy. When new information for your ancestors is found, a Gen-BulbT icon will appear next tothe name of the individual in your pedigree. Simply click on the Gen-Bulb, verify the new information, and your pedigree will automatically be updated. 

    Conflicts -This feature makes the verification of genealogical information possible by notifying you with the image of a yellow lightning bolt, called a Gen-Bolt, when another OneGreatFamily user has information that conflicts with your data. You can then collaborate with the source and work out your differences. If, in the end, you can't resolve the conflict, you agree to disagree and each view the data as you believe it to be correct.

    Tracer -This feature allows you to see how you are related to anyone in your pedigree. The trace to anchor displays a blue line from you to the ancestor, highlighting each individual in the direct lineage in between.

    View Descendants
    -Allows you to view siblings, spouses, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc., of any individual in your genealogy.

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  • OneGreatFamily Tip: Store Treasures About Your Ancestors Or See What Other Treasures Can Be Found At OneGreatFamily

    Add More Than Dates And Places To Your OneGreatFamily Tree

    OneGreatFamily goes beyond names and events to allow members to share treasures like biographies, notes, citations, photos, scanned documents, videos, and more about your ancestors. 

    Genealogy is more than simply identifying ancestors and their vital information. Genealogy research means learning everything you can about your ancestors. This information can include photos, key documents, written descriptions and biographies. The information can also include significant religious events that go beyond birth and death information.

    All of these information and file types are supported and viewable within OneGreatFamily. When using Genealogy BrowserT, simply double-click on any individual in your Starfield or Handprint view to see what details are available for your ancestors.

    Several icons appear on the right side of the "Individual Details" screen that provide access to more information related to that individual. These icons, which appear below the icons for hints and conflicts, include notes, biographies, a research log, citations, and multimedia files.

    Clicking on any of these icons will display what others have shared relating to the individual. You can also add your own information after clicking on an icon to make your insights available to others.

    If you have selected religious preferences (Catholic, Jewish, LDS or Protestant), you will also see corresponding tabs for the preferences you have selected on the "Individual Details" screen.

    Clicking on the "Family Info" box in the handprint view will provide these same options for your selected family. The "Family Details" screen also lets you see available marriage information for the selected family.

    OneGreatFamily has been designed for more than simply holding the names of everyone who has ever lived in one family tree. The service is also intended to let people share all of the important information that helps others understand who these ancestors were, how they lived, and what made them unique.

    As always, we are happy to help if you have additional questions, so don't hesitate to call 1-877-643-8733 or email if you need assistance.

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  • Genealogy: Google Quick Reference for Genealogists

    The following article is a sample from Barry J. Ewell's book "Family Treasures: 15 Lessons, Tips, and Tricks for Discovering your Family History." He is the founder of, an online educational website for genealogy and family history. 

    If you want a quick reference for conducting a specific type of Internet search, the following list provides the most common searches to use as a genealogist:

    Search Google for ancestral village. Be as specific as possible about location. Be sure to try Google for the country as well-for example, for Canada and for Slovakia. See Google Language Tools or Google Translate, which is an applica¬tion that will let users translate between different languages. Simply type in your text in any language and then hit the "translate" button. Google Language Tools offers translation services between 149 dif¬ferent languages

    Search Google Books. Looking for a book? Try searching Google Books at This amazing resource contains thousands of entire digitized books that are in the public domain and selected pages of many books that are still under copyright.

    Search in lower case. Google doesn't care, but some search engines are case sensitive: The search terms "ed james" gives results such as the following:

    • Edjames
    • Ed James
    • . Ed JAMES . ED JAMES
    • eD jAmEs

    Don't sweat the punctuation. Google mostly ignores punctua¬tion (commas, semicolons, periods, and hyphens). Your search for tampa, florida (with the comma) and your search for tampa florida (without the coma) produce the same results. One exception- Google includes punctuation when searching for an exact phrase using quotation marks.

    View "cached" images of pages no longer available. Have you ever received an "Error 404-This Page Not Found" message? Click the "Back" button to return to Google's search results list. Then click on the unavailable item's "cached" link to view Google's archived snapshot of the page. Then copy and paste any useful content to a file on your computer.

    Quickly search whole web pages. Stop manually reading through long web pages trying to find where your surnames are hiding. Use your web browser's "Find" function-Crtl+F (Cmd+F for Mac users)-to efficiently search an entire page by jumping from occurrence to occurrence of the term you want to select. PDF documents also have a find feature (binocular icon).

    Search for genealogy surname websites. Google can provide a list of genealogy web sites whose titles include your surname by using the "All in Title" phrase allintitle.genealogy "Isaac Winston" finds sites with the word genealogy in the title (across the website's top band) and in which the name Isaac Winston appears on any page.

    Quickly search entire websites. If a promising website lacks a search box on its home page, you don't have to manually search each page for ancestors. Google can look at all the pages of a web site in a single search. For example, a search for "Maxcey Ewell"site:www. will search for any page that references Maxcey Ewell. This kind of search only works for the visible web.

    Search phrases, not just words. Search for a phrase using quotation marks (" "). Quotation marks are used in searches to denote that you are looking for these words in a specific order. For example, if you are searching for "ebenezer jones", you will have results of pages containing the exact quoted phrase "ebenezer jones".

    Search synonyms. Search synonyms using the tilde character (~). For example, -tombstone gets the same results as searching tombstone, gravestone, headstone, monument, or marker.

    Other helpful search terms for genealogy research include the following:

    • -genealogy
    • ~ index
    • ~ biography
    • ~surname

    Search for missing text strings. Searching for Payson ~ut produces results with any number of missing words, including the following:

    • Payson, UT,
    • Payson, Utah, UT
    • Payson, UT Co., UT,
    • Payson, Utah County, UT

    Target timeframes. Set a date range for your searches to exclude recent events. Example: 1750.1899 produces a list of websites that include years (numbers, actually) between 1750 and 1899, inclusive, but omits sites mentioning only the 1900s.

    Search for names-both forward and backward. Search names as phrases; search them "forward" (given name first) and "backward" (surname first) to also find reverse name listings. Exam¬ple: search "mary sims" and also "sims, mary" to find additional relevant results.

    Force Google to include "ignored" words within results. For speed, Google automatically ignores many common words like a, the, he, she, how, when, where, and if. Ordinarily this is okay, but I and will can be meaningful to genealogists. The solution: enclose I in quotes: "arthur darrah I" or precede will with a plus sign (+): dunning +will.

    Search for all likely aliases. Don't stop with a search for "ora w. jones" He may have been indexed as

    • Ora Jones
    • O. Jones
    • O. W. Goode
    • Ora William Jones
    • Ora W. Jones

    For common surnames, add geographic or time restrictions.

    For example, search using this single long search string of all the variations at once: "ira smith " OR "ira a. smith " OR "i. a. smith " OR "i.aaron smith" OR "aaron smith" chicago 1874..1938

    Use minus sign "-" to exclude unwanted results (same as "NOT"). Exclude irrelevant results that crowd out desired results by using the minus sign (-). For example, adding -ulysses to a search for grant removes most of the original results. Be careful, though: -texas will exclude all sites with the word Texas, including sites that elsewhere contain your ancestors.

    Try the marriage "combo plate." Search husband and wife surnames together to increase relevant results. For example, search "ora jones"AND Dearing. Understand that "ora jones" alone retreives thousands of hits, but by adding Dearing, you eliminate 99.7 percent of the initial results; the remaining 0.3 percent of results emphasize the Jones marriage and family that you are specifically searching for.

    Use genealogical key words in your searches. Add genealogical terms to your surname search string and search repeatedly with different emphases. The following is a list of suggested key terms to include in your searches:

    • Born
    • . Birth
    • Died
    • Death
    • Married
    • Marriage
    • Buried
    • Burial
    • Cemetery
    • List index
    • Roster
    • Genealogy
    • Family
    • History
    • Surname . Will
    • Probate
    The order of search terms is important. Search engines apply priority to early words in your search string. Example: smith tombstone rock New Jersey produces somewhat different results than rock tombstone New Jersey smith.

    Don't forget the invisible Internet. Search Engines can see only the "visible Internet." Most web sites that require you to use their own search box (,, and Root-, for example) are considered the "invisible Internet" and must be searched individually.

    Repeat your searches using variations of your search terms. This is important: Searching the web is hard work; missing ances¬tors are often inaccessible, buried on page two hundred of your search results. So continuously revise and refine your search terms and re-search (repeat) with the aim of fewer than 200 hits with highly relevant sites in the top ten to twenty results.

    Repeat your searches using different search engines. No search engine has a complete index of the Internet. It pays to use more than one Search Engine. In addition to Google, consider trying,,, and

    Try searching with a meta-search engine. These are like search engines on steroids-they automate the simultaneous search of multiple search engines. The advantage of using a meta-search engine is breadth of results, but the downside is their inability to manage complex searches, because different search engines use dif¬ferent syntax and punctuation rules. Try or DogPile. com.

    Find links to a relevant site. Often, a productive site will have other valuable sites linked to it. Use Google to find a list of sites that link to a good site. Example:

    Target ancestors hiding in (.GED) files. Most genealogy pro¬grams for computers export files as GEDCOMs (.ged file format), so ask Google to look for ancestors inside highly relevant .ged files. For example: "Maxcey ewell" filetype:ged.

    Read more great genealogy tips in Barry Ewell's book "Family Treasures: 15 Lessons, Tips, and Tricks for Discovering your Family History.

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  • Famous Ancestor Of The Week: Margaret Thatcher

    Margaret Thatcher

    Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher was the leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990 and was therefore prime minister while her party was in power, from 1979 to 1990.

    She was the first female prime minister of Britain, and was in office longer than any prime minister in more than a century. During the Cold War she took a hard line against the Soviet Union and the encroachment of communism, working closely with U.S. president Ronald Reagan. She holds the title of Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire, which means she can sit in the House of Lords.

    She was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire in 1925. She studied chemistry at Oxford and did post-graduate work in crystallography. She took the Bar in 1953, specializing in tax law. Under Edward Heath of the Conservative Party, she became Secretary of State for Education and Science in 1970. She espoused the conservative economic ideals of Friedrich von Hayek and worked to control the power of trade unions. Her unbending determination-and conservative politics in a time when Britain was dominated by conservativism-won her the position of prime minister in 1979.

    You can see whether or not you are related to Margaret Thatcher by going to the Relationship Calculator on the Family Dashboard Page when you login to OneGreatFamily.

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  • OneGreatFamily Tip: How to View an Ancestor's Descendancy

    How Do I View an Ancestor's Descendancy?

    The ability to view the descendants of an ancestor is a powerful and valuable feature of OneGreatFamily. A descendancy view can help researchers identify collateral lines to research or can lead to the discovery of living relatives who have descended from a common ancestor.

    Viewing the descendants of any ancestor is easy using Genealogy Browser:

    1.    Launch Genealogy Browser and find the desired ancestor in the pedigree (Starfield View)

    2.    Select the desired ancestor within the pedigree (Starfield View) by double clicking on the box with the individual's name to put them into the selected individual box in the handprint view.

    3.    Click on the descendancy icon in the toolbar OR select Starfield-Show Descendancy from the View menu within Genealogy Browser (see images below).

    4.    The descendants of the selected ancestor will now appear to the left of the pedigree (Starfield View). Navigating and viewing collateral lines in the Starfield View may be slower depending on the number of descendants shown.

    When you choose to view the Descendancy of an ancestor, the Starfield view will look like this:

    To no longer view the Descendancy, just click the Descendants View button on the Tool Bar:

    We hope you will find OneGreatFamily a useful tool to trace the descendants of your ancestors.

    As always, we are happy to help if you have additional questions, so don't hesitate to call 1-877-643-8733 or email if you need assistance.

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