It probably does not come as any surprise to my readers that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (more commonly known as Mormon or LDS). Genealogy work is an important aspect of our religion, as we take seriously the words spoken in Malachi 4:6, “And [Elijah the prophet] shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” As a result, Brigham Young University (BYU) recently launched a program that links up with FamilySearch that’s called Relative Finder. Through this month’s First Friday Find: Relative Finder, you can find your relationship to many different groups of people already built-in the program.
Since the creators of the program are LDS, many of the groups are LDS related, such as finding out if you’re related to prophets, current apostles, and/or early LDS members. However, you can also find out if you’re related to famous writers, prominent figures in U.S. history, famous Americans or Europeans, classical composers, Catholic Saints or Popes, Mayflower voyagers, those involved in the Salem Witch Trials, and more. It turns out that my genealogy links me heavily to the Salem Witch Trials. Me and hysteria? Sounds about right. I kid. Have no fear, I am also related to John Hancock, who is my third cousin, seven times removed. He redeems me, right? Or Susan B. Anthony? Amelia Earhart? Thomas Edison? I’m related to them all. Granted, Edison and I go back nine cousins, three times removed, but I can still call him “cuz.” And so can my Dad, since Relative Finder tells me which of my parents connects me to the prominent figure. I think my most fun relatives though are probably Elvis Aaron Presley (he’s my 11th cousin) and Harry Lillis (Bing) Crosby (my tenth cousin, three times removed).
So, how do you find out the prominent people who you’re related to? Follow these steps:
- Go to the Relative Finder website.
- Click on Login.
- Enter your Username and Password for FamilySearch. Anyone can sign up for one of these accounts and start linking up with ancestors.
- Once you are logged into Relative Finder, it will ask you to verify your email address and then have you mark that you give permission for others to see your information, but only if you sign in to specific groups that have permission to see it.
- Click on Download my tree! You will then see a list of ancestors who are famous in some way, either in the world or in Church history.
- Click on Relatives along the top. You can then click on various groups of people and see who your ancestors are in those groups.
It’s that simple. Of course, it’s not that simple, if you don’t have much of your genealogy work done. But, what you might not realize is that others may have done your work up to a certain point. So, if you can create an account in Family Search and link yourself back to somebody that has done the work from, let’s say, your great great grandfather and back, then you get all that information added to you without having to have done a thing except create a Username and Password.
So, this month’s First Friday Find: Relative Finder is a find within a find! This leaves me with a question for all of you, “Who are your relatives?”