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Add ability to search for surnames or other information in our faimly line or tree

Someone asked me if I had a certain surname in my ancestry I couldn't answer him with out searching up and down, each and every line and check individually if anyone married someone by that name. manually takes so long, it would be wonderful to automate the searches of family ancestors. I have often wanted to see if we had any ancestor from a certain area an again no way search automated just manually.
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  • This has been asked for before - the issue with the search is where does your tree stop. How many decedents does it include from the direct line ancestors. 1, 2, or 10 generations. Since there is no "your tree" it is all connected somehow a common agreement would have to be made as to what will be the search parameters. And then it would have to go on the development priority list. Personally I would not have a lot of use for the feature. There are plenty of other things I would prefer to see added such as 1 - search for deleted records which now you have to find other ways , 2 - search for blank surnames - it is extremely difficult to find records with just a given name - lots of manual scrolling to find a record. I could probably list several others that I would give higher priority than search "my tree".
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  • For those kinds of uses, it can be done now using a FamilySearch sanctioned tree management program, such as Ancestral Quest. You just have to build up your tree in that program, many of which have an "import" function to pull in however many generations you want up from you thru your FamilySearch account.

    Click at the bottom of any FamilySearch browser page, where it says "App Gallery". Set the Category to "Family Tree Management". This will take you to
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  • One alternative is for each individual that you have contributed or attached source records to in your view of "your" family tree - that you switch on the "Watch" feature, which will add to a "List" of all the people you are watching - viewable under the "Lists" option. This List can be sequenced and searched in various ways.

    You will also receive notifications when any other contributor makes a change or addition to any individuals that are on your "Watch List" - which is the real intention of the Watch List.

    Any Watch List, I believe, has a limit of around 4,000 individuals.
    • This comment was removed on 2018-07-25.
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    • Yes, my watch list includes ALL my direct ancestors - I have less than 600* of them that I can be pretty sure are mine, and some of my lines go back to the 16th century. So I am aware from my watch list (which can be sorted alphabetically on last name) of the different surnames of all my ancestors.

      If you are asking for details of surnames relating to everyone in the various branches you have on Family Tree you are probably asking too much of the programmers - as gasmodels suggests.

      (Btw - I believe I calculated that if I could identify all my ancestors going back to the mid-17th century - i.e. back to my 8x great grandparents - there would still only be just over 2,000 names on my list.)
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  • Lots of times, the request for my connection to a given surname comes from someone doing DNA testing. At the last Roots Tech, it was suggested that for the various site, you prepare a DNA version of your specific tree and post that to the site, rather than refer to a tree in Ancestry or the FamilySearch FamilyTree.

    The reasoning given in the Roots Tech presentation is that DNA testing will establish a relationship reliably for about three generations back from you -- to your great-grandparents.

    Consider the following and how much DNA you get from each person (the method for counting generations varies with the DNA interpretation provided):
    1 generation (from you) - your parents -- 50% from each - siblings -- this kind of testing is close to (but not) 100% reliable.
    2 generations - your grandparents - 25% - 1st cousins
    3 generations - your great-grandparents - 12.5% - 2nd cousins
    4 generations - your 2x ggrandparents - 6.25% - 3rd cousins
    5 generations - your 3x ggrandparents - 3.125% - 4th cousins

    The reliable connection is very weak 4th generations out from you, so any connection that further out (5 generations or greater) is chancy at best.

    Thus the most useful DNA tree would go back only 5 generations from yourself. Any more and using DNA to identify a relationship is almost non-existent.

    Another factor is that if your relatives lived in the same area for any number of generations, there is a strong chance that there will be a collapsing of the pedigree (cousins marrying each other). This is especially true if a common religion is involved, such as my Swiss Mennonites in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

    Another factor -- while it is generally accepted that you have 50% of your DNA from each parent, the fact is that the percent can vary between the parents. It is entirely possible that you may have almost no DNA from a given great-grandparent, and a much higher percent from another.

    The only reliable connections are through the Y-DNA (for males) and mtDNA for females.

    The Y-DNA follows the direct male line of father, grandfather, greatgrandfather, and so on. The mtDNA follows the direct female line of mother, grandmother, greatgrandmother, and so on.

    And finally, each DNA testing company has their own method of interpreting the DNA results. The basis for determining ancestral heritage is often based upon the information provided though submitted pedigrees, many of which contain errors.

    If you watch Finding Your Roots (a PBS show), each season relies less and less on DNA for identifying ancestral connections and heritage. That is because it has been discovered that DNA testing is a very complicated business and interpreting DNA requires more knowledge than what I've presented here.

    Searching the internet can reveal a lot about DNA testing. These are some of the questions that people ask (the term "ancestry" refers to your ancestry, not a particular company)::

    What does ancestry DNA really tell you?
    Is a DNA test 100 accurate?
    How much does a DNA test cost to find out ethnicity?
    Do you have the same DNA as your siblings?
    Do a father and son have the same DNA?
    Can you get a DNA test from your doctor?
    Do you inherit more DNA from mother or father?
    Can DNA identify siblings?
    Do half brothers and sisters share the same DNA?
    Can a DNA test be done with just the father and child?
    Do you share more DNA with parents or siblings?
    What do you inherit from your mother?
    How much DNA do you share with your cousin?
    Are Brothers DNA the same?
    How much DNA do we have in common with other humans?
    How is a fourth cousin related to you?
    Is ancestry DNA paternal or maternal?
    Which parent does the hair gene come from?
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