Friday, January 27, 2012

How are we related?

How I found out that my parents were related before they were married.

The relationship between the person you have selected on your screen, will show the relationship between that person and the "Home" person. But, sometimes you may want to look at other relationships.

Family Tree Maker has a Relationship Calculator feature.

In my research, I found that my parents were related to each other before they were married. Here is how you can determine these relationships.

Go to the People Workspace, Person View, and click on the Tools menu. Select the Relationship Calculator.

This will bring up a screen, that will allow you to select the two people that you want to see how they are related.

In this case my father and mother. The First ICON to the Right if the Name, will bring up the Index, where you can select the names.. At first glance, is shows Husband and Wife. BUT, on the Relationship line, there is a Number 2. This indicates that there is another Relationship between these two people.

The pull down menu indicates that they are 5th cousins 2 times removed. By selecting that 2nd relationship the Right Hand Panel will show the relationships.

That's difficult to see the relationship, so click on the View Relationship Chart.

This is only a part of the full chat, but this view will show back to the Common Ancestor.

One other thing to do, is to Switch these two people in that earlier screen. There may be other, more distant relationships.

In this view, my parents are related 5 times.

Lesson Learned: I am asked many times, should I split may file, based on mother and father, or grandparents, etc. This is an example of the benefit of maintaining one file. You may miss this fun information.

Copyright © 2012 by H R Worthington


  1. Great post and a perfect reason for not splitting your files. I was on the fence about that and will now add my dad's side with my mother's side. I have no doubt I'll probably find some relationship since they both were born and raised in the same town.

    Thanks for the informative blog. I subscribed here after I got FTM2012 and I can see your blog will be most helpful!

  2. Tanya,

    I am glad it was helpful.

    Good luck,


  3. Russ, I had always known about the Relationship Calculator, but I thought it only showed the closest relationship, in the case of my parents, husband and wife. Is the ability to view other relationships new to the newest FTM releases? I just tried this for my parents with my Family Tree Maker for Mac 2, and (after "thinking" for a couple of minutes), it comes up with 5,130 relationships, most of which indicate: "No common ancestor" when I click on them because it's outrageous relationships like "grandson of brother-in-law of great grand nephew of wife of 2nd cousin 4x removed of step grandmother."

    I do find the relationships I knew about (and one I didn't), but it seems a little silly to have all these other relationships if there is no common relative. I wonder if there is a way to make the program list these relationships only if there is a common ancestor.

  4. Elizabeth,

    I don't think that FTMM-2 has this features ts it was just introduced to FTM2012. Sorry.

    If the People Workspace, Family View, with some one selected, that will list the "nearest" relationship to the "home person. That doesn't mean that there aren't other relationships. The Kinship Report doesn't show all of the relationships either.

    I was just demonstrating how to show the relationship between two people. I have used it in a couple of books, to show the relationship between the focus person of the book, and some figure / person of interest in the back are related.

    I just did a research project for a Civil War Character and wanted to show our common ancestor and the chart that is on this blog was like the one I used.

    AND, I did this blog to answer a User's question about Splitting a file.

    Thank you for your comment.


  5. I find the Realtionship Calculator useful but it does not (always) display or revert to the closest relationship, particularly when you are descended from siblings in one family group in teh distant past. By way of example it will display one of the siblings in the group say as a 25 x Great Grandparent and dispaly the other that is also a Great Grandparent as a 25 x Grand Aunt or Uncle but then will pick up on their child as a 24 x Great Grandparent in teh next generation - it is not consistent in how it does this and will display some correctly and some not. If I detach the sibling showing as Grand Aunt or Uncle it will display them correctly as a XX Great Grandparent. A Great Grandparent relationship is closer than a Grand Aunt or Uncle so Ancestry are misleading when they say that the programme displays the closest relationship as it doesn't always. All the relationships do display in the Relationship Calculator under the Tools button but the system doesn't (always) defer to the closest preferring to display the Grand Aunt or Uncle over the Great Grandparent that is wrong and I have spent hours reviewing entries and comaprign entries that it doesn't happen to trying to understand why this happens. There should be a way that the user can select one of the relationships from teh calculator's list to display which would resolve the issue.I am not interested in all the remote relationships such as Grand Aunt of the 13th Great Grandfather's wife's brother or 14th cousin of the 26th Great Grandfather's wife nonsense that it lists - I only want to see the closest relationship when it is direct, a Great Grandparent at any number or generation beats an Aunt or Uncle as you are directly descended from them in a clear line so for the calculator to recognise this in the 10 or 15 realtionshisp that it throws up but still defer to the lesser realtionship of Aunt or Uncle is incorrect and reduces the integrity of one's data and is both annoyign and frustrating. Ancestry shoudl be more ocncerned about fixing this problem than it is.

    1. Anonymous,

      I can only suggest that you give Feedback to the Developers. Go to the Help Menu, in the Family Tree Maker program, select Online Help Center, and you will see a Feedback Link there.

      Good luck,



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