BSO ALERT: Brad Lyon’s Exploring Family Trees (Beta)

Warning: BSO (Bright Shiny Object) Alert, as a new GeneaGem has been discovered. Be sure to click on the link in this post to Lara’s post, too, as she demonstrated a descendant view.

A couple of weeks ago, Lara Diamond wrote about a new tool that she had discovered, Exploring Family Trees, which is free and is in beta version.

This tool allows you to see relationships between family members, including multiple descents from the same ancestors. The “home” person in the tree can be changed and a descendants’ view is also possible.

This looked like fun, so I decided to try it out. First, I uploaded a gedcom (I used one that I had created with no media attached to it) and I had barely clicked to upload when my tree opened.

My Tree, Seen in a Completely New Way!

The time span in years can be seen by the years along the sides of the graph. Each dot represents a person. I used my cursor to explore.

The cursor moves a bar up and down, which highlights various names in the same time period.

If you click on a dot, a box with the ancestor’s details opens up.

John Shepley

John Shepley is my 9X great grandfather and I am descended from his several times over, which I think is the reason for the “7” in the Duplicates column. I think the “Expected” column refers to the maximum possible number of 9X great grandparents I could identify. I guess I’ve found 78, which leaves a whole lot more work for me to do!

I tried some of the tabs seen at the top of the first screen.

One option creates a drop down list of everyone in the tree, along with the years they were born, died and age at death.

There is a little box at the top of the first screen with the gedcom I uploaded, number of ancestors with a known birth date and even tells me that the average lifespan of my male ancestors was 64 years and my female ancestors, 61 years:

Basic Data Box

Direct Ancestor Line

There is even a direct ancestor line that can be opened! The program has some other options that I haven’t even tried yet. Even my husband, who is definitely not into genealogy, was really impressed with all the manipulations of data that can be viewed with this tool.

If you have yet discovered it, I would highly recommend trying it out. I would suggest, though, that you create a gedcom stripped of all the media because it will load a lot faster.

Thank you to Brad Lyon for creating Exploring Family Trees and to Lara Diamond for first sharing her experience with it.

3 thoughts on “BSO ALERT: Brad Lyon’s Exploring Family Trees (Beta)”

  1. I have not heard of this and it looks interesting! I’m almost afraid to give it a try as it might eat up too much time. 🙂

    Thanks for the comment about my review of the Excelsior Practicum. I left a more detailed comment on my blog. But, basically, yes, I would pay full price… or the 10% off price. I think a big part depends on how much money you have to spend on education, though. it’s a big chunk! But, it was a great learning experience.

  2. Hi Linda

    Thanks for taking the time to play with this and explore some of the features!

    btw, the “duplicates” thing indicates how many times you may have ancestors repeated at that level (g^9 grandfather here), not necessarily how many paths there are to that person you are looking at. If you have more than one path to that person, then it will be indicated on the left side with a more specific note, and there can even be more than one row if the type of relationship is different – for example, the person might be both your g^8 and g^9 grandfather.

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