Sometimes you just have to do something just because it’s fun.
That’s the website learnforeverlearn at this link, a free tool created by B. F. Lyon visualizations that allows you to view your family tree or pedigree chart in very novel ways.
Here’s what greets you.
The “About This” link at the very top of the page shows the following:
In case you’re wondering, your Gedcom file never leaves your PC, so you don’t need to worry about security.
First, you’ll be prompted to upload a Gedcom file, a file generated by either your genealogy software like RootsMagic or a site like Ancestry. If you have a tree at Ancestry, you can download it into a Gedcom file format and save on your computer.
My own personal Gedcom file from my PC software was too large, so I downloaded a smaller file that I use on Ancestry. I’ve entered all of my ancestors at Ancestry through 12 generations, if known, and some of their children. I use my Ancestry file to focus on direct line ancestors and DNA matches, not as my primary tree.
The first thing you see after uploading your Gedcom file is that your pedigree chart is displayed in one tree. If you want to see examples before uploading your own, click here, or view mine below. You can click to see a larger image.
What fun! If you’ve experienced pedigree collapse where you are descended from the same ancestral line multiple times, you’ll see that in this large pedigree map. I don’t have pedigree collapse, but you take a look at fun examples under “Sample Trees.”
If you want to see more detail, just scroll your mouse wheel for larger or smaller. If you get yourself lost, simply reset pan/zoom or reset to the root person.
You can’t “hurt” this application because you reload your file every time you want to use it, so you can always just start over.
Your options are at the top, but by mousing over anything on the page, you can generally learn a lot more. Every time I use this tool, I notice something I didn’t see previously.
Let’s take a look at what you can do.
I currently have 793 individuals in my tree. By clicking on the “Current Tree Details” at the top of the page, you can see the list of who is included.
This is an easy way to see if you have any issues in your file. I quickly discovered that I have two people with typos in their birth dates because the years have 3 digits. How did that happen?
You can also run a data validation check.
What a valuable tool!
Hmmm, looks like I need to do some cleanup. Ahem!!
The X Chromosome
At the top right, you can click on “Highlight X DNA Contributions” which creates a view of the people who contributed or are candidates to contribute segments of their X chromosome to the home person. Remember that you can change the home (root) person to someone else in your tree, like maybe one of your parents, for example.
The X is important because it has unique inheritance properties that can be very helpful that I wrote about here.
I moused over the various people and discovered that when you “land” on someone, you can view their information. In this case, my great-grandmother who, on average, contributed 12.5% of her DNA to me and 25% of her X chromosome.
I can then view Evaline’s ancestor or descendant tree, or a straight path to the root, which is me, by clicking the blue buttons.
By scrolling your mouse up and down between people, you can see a horizontal black “line” that shows you a year. By following the line, you can see who in your tree was living during that year.
Gosh this is fun!
By mousing over the green year bar at far right, you can see what was going on historically at that time, as well as in your own family.
I love this tool!
Under the options tab, at upper left, by toggling the flag icon, you can then view your tree by birth location.
I love this view.
You can view the migration progression by just looking at your tree.
Scroll on down the options tab for more display possibilities.
In my case, the “number of children” information isn’t accurate because I have not fleshed out the families at Ancestry. I was only working primarily with my direct ancestors.
I’ve combined unique birthplaces with potential immigrants.
By mousing, you can see how many ancestors you had at a particular time and the total world population.
Wow. In 1615, I had 16,384 ancestors? I need to get busy! I am never going to be finished!
Just when you think you can’t have any more fun…
You can read more about this tool and ways to use it in an article written by the author here.
I don’t know B. F. Lyon who created this cool free website, but under the options tab, I found this:
Want more options/features? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please drop Brad a note to say thank you or offer suggestions!