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New Tree Tool ???

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  • New Tree Tool ???

    I am starting to see postings about the beta test of a new tree function here at FTDNA. Is there an official announcement somewhere I missed? I am very curious about what it will do to support our research and when the anticipated general release is expected.

    In preparation, I have several updated gedcoms (me and close relatives that I help) ready to load when it's possible to do so again.

  • #2
    Tree Message

    Below is the message that people are receiving. I can't quite see what this will do for our research efforts, but have seen mostly positive comments so far. I am hoping for a big improvement... and that it encourages more trees to be loaded.

    Congratulations! You're part of the lucky 5% of our customers that have been selected to participate in the beta release of the Family Tree! To get started, just login and click the "Family Tree" icon on the dashboard.

    If you've created family trees before, you know that it's an extremely useful tool for visually representing all of your relationships. The new Family Tree at FTDNA builds on that by letting you fully integrate your DNA tests to see how you're genetically related to anyone on your tree!

    The Family Tree is still in beta and we'd really value your feedback. If you have any suggestions about the family tree, please send an email to [email protected] .

    View Family Tree


    • #3
      Thank you, Angelia, for your informative post.

      Indeed, I was hoping that FTDNA would do a cooperation with my heritage, the biggest competitor to ancestry. But: no.

      The new FTDNA beta invention will help to visualize the DNA-roots in my own gedcom tree, but I guess it won´t show connections to f.e. familyfinder matches... Schade.


      • #4
        I was one of the people that got that message. Does anyone want to trade it for a different feature in beta testing? It's wasted on me since I don't upload trees. I may not be able to tell from the description, but even if I did upload trees, its not clear that it would provide any info above and beyond what I already know Except i suspect it will produce some pretty pictures- which ftdna is admitedly quite good at.

        Maybe someone whose doing it can post if it gives a new bit of info or puts things together in a way they may have missed w/o having the feature?


        • #5
          I think they are working on developing active trees that interact with matches (similar to leaf hints), rather than the rather inactive gedcoms that have been uploaded.

          Let's see where this leads. I'm one of the beta testers.

          Timothy Peterman


          • #6
            Lucky you Timothy. I have not been fortunate enough to be one of the 5%. Definitely a positive move from FTDNA to invite constructive comment in beta testing before rolling out a new feature.


            • #7
              The message I received Aug. 1 included, "P.S. This is an alpha test so expect some bugs & for parts of the family tree to be a bit rough around the edges. We want your feedback sooner rather than later so we have a better sense of the high priority issues."

              Perfect, No! Big improvement, Yes!


              • #8
                From what I have seen the new Gedcom/Tree feature is really catastrophic for people who have ancestors in the Nordic countries. We don´t usually have surnames to rely on so geography is key information! Actually without that information a Gedcom is basicly wearthless! I believe location is important for many Americans aswell when there are tons of people with identical names.

                The new matching feature seems to be pretty bad also, as they make "leaf hints" between people based on anything that is similar, like first names! Prepare for many weird tree constructions!

                Oh, well. It doesn´t really matter as the default setting is "Private". Most Gedcoms/trees will disappear in a jiffy and never return.

                Personally the only new feature I ask for is the option of sharing my tree and ancestry information with other treeholders/information sharers only. That way more people (people like me) would actually upload Gedcoms.


                • #9
                  One absolutely crucial thing is missing in the Beta. That is that LOCATIONS (birth places) MUST be displayed for the induviduals in the default view! Just showing names is just confusing.

                  For all of us in northern Europe and for American immigrants with roots in this region, where surnames did not exist until some 100 years ago, we end up with 1000:s of Andersson, Olofsson and Persson, which will mean nothing at all without the locations.

                  Also, the default setting must be that trees are shown to matches, just like they are today, otherwise the number of trees available will drop dramatically. (If you do not want to share your tree you just do not upload one)

                  Apart from that the new family tree functionality is a great feature that will boost the number of testers with trees, which is really needed.

                  P.S. The avatars are pretty useless also. Use the screen real estate to show more information (locations). And the automatic name matching system will make a false match 99.9% of the times. Please leave that out.


                  • #10
                    Maybe the default privacy setting is for the interactive feature only? Some people may prefer not to use it, and if so, it's better to honor their preference than to have them remove their trees entirely.

                    Also, if the interactive feature is initially "buggy" or picks up first names as last, etc., people may want to switch it off.


                    • #11
                      I'm not in the lucky 5%. However, I have also tested at Ancestry. One of the Ancestry features I like is the ability to search all my matches by location, not just by surname. The leaf hints at Ancestry are nice (but, why oh why are the vast majority of my matches to the same surname?!!) but without the chromosome browser tools, it's pretty worthless. I have paternal matches to folks who carry my maternal surname because someone in their line married into my maternal line, not because I descend from that line on my paternal side as well. Location sorts that out pretty quickly.

                      I don't know if the new tool provides this ability, but being able to use the triangulation (ICW) tool and then compare the trees in a pop-up window that identifies overlaps would be helpful. Likewise, I use the NICW tool with my mom in order to phase my father's line, so this would be helpful in sorting my deceased dad's lines where I have some NPE's. I find the current trees to be too unwieldy and the search function doesn't really work, so I often end up spending a lot of time clicking through each line that extends beyond 9 generations until I find the surname overlap I've identified in two trees. The ability to do this more quickly is appealing.


                      • #12
                        For those of you participating in the Family Tree beta, please be sure to send your feedback to the email address provided in the email invite and on the Family Tree screen on the website. That is the only official place to report feedback -- that email address goes to the people who will make decisions based on the feedback

                        Of course, you're welcome to post here too -- just make sure you're not posting here instead of sending email to the appropriate address.



                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ShellyH View Post
                          I find the current trees to be too unwieldy and the search function doesn't really work, so I often end up spending a lot of time clicking through each line that extends beyond 9 generations until I find the surname overlap I've identified in two trees. The ability to do this more quickly is appealing.
                          I use my browser's "Find" feature to search for a given surname in a tree."

                          I wasn't chosen to test this, but I prefer a pedigree view for looking at trees. At Ancestry, you have a choice and I always switch to the pedigree view. Not only is it easier to view, but it makes it a lot easier to count the generations from the tester to the common ancestor. But one the few things I like about Ancestry is that, when a shared ancestor is found, they give you a chart showing your descent from the ancestor and your match's descent from the ancestor side by side with the degree of relationship already calculated for you.

                          Of course, they miss some matches who have common ancestors because the you and your match have entered the names and/or the other info about your ancestors differently.

                          The location search is very useful too, but assumes a standard way of entering place names and there isn't one. A rigid form for entering them might help with US places, but not worldwide. And even in America, people at Ancestry use different things. For example: United States, USA, US, America, British Colony.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MoberlyDrake View Post
                            I use my browser's "Find" feature to search for a given surname in a tree."
                            Have you found a way to make that work at FTDNA when the surname is found beyond the first 9 generations? Often, my intent is only to identify the location of that surname when it gets back that far, and if it's not on the first page, I get the "ping" letting me know it's not found when in fact it's only hidden somewhere in the 10th or 11th generation. At Ancestry you at least have the surname column list on the left hand side.


                            • #15

                              I sent a number of recommendations to the correct e-mail address on Saturday morning. Do you know where Family Tree is going with this? I can envision a number of possibilities.

                              Timothy Peterman