OneGreatFamily Review 2024
As their name might give away, OneGreatFamily isn't interested in narrow family trees that only include close relatives but instead believes that the best kind of family tree is one that shows us how connected we are.
With the rise in popularity of direct-to-consumer DNA tests, genealogy has never been an easier hobby to get into, and many new people embark every day on tracing their ancestry. This can be a difficult task, but luckily the market has responded, and several world family tree platforms like OneGreatFamily have popped up to help people from around the world collaborate as they investigate their family history.
Today we're going to look at the service OneGreatFamily offers, the features included in membership, and how they stack up against the stiff competition in this growing market.
Who Is OneGreatFamily?
OneGreatFamily's mission to bring families together in their mission to help us discover more relatives to grow their world family tree has been three years in the making. They have a staggering 190,000,000 ancestors' names in their database, with roughly 50,000 more names added to their database every day, so it's clear that their mission is an ongoing and ever-increasing success.
They call themselves 'the most technologically-advanced online records management software tool,' a claim that we'll discuss when we compare and contrast later on, but at face value, the numbers in their database and the daily data that are added to the system every day certainly appears to back up this claim.
What Is A World Family Tree?
In the case of online genealogy, constructing a family tree based on your own ancestry is an outdated idea. As research technology makes advances and new information becomes available to us, the ability to link these trees becomes more commonplace.
The software of a world family tree will match profiles from your tree to others, forming connections that you didn't know existed. This demonstrates the importance of not approaching your family tree in isolation and understanding your place in a wider frame.
As you develop your tree, you'll form connections not only with surprising new distant family members but connects you with people around the world who are on the same mission as you. They're an exciting opportunity to collaborate and form lasting relationships with new friends and family.
One Great Family Is A Paid Platform
Before we discuss what tools OneGreatFamily has to offer, we should mention that this is a paid platform. Other competitors like Wikitree and Geni.com offer a free plan, though Geni.com does offer a premium plan, so this may put some users off.
A free seven-day trial is available to all users that's easily cancelled if you're not happy, but be careful to cancel within the trial period, or your card will be charged.
There are three payment plans, monthly, quarterly and annual, which, when broken down, cost incrementally less, with the annual plan costing $6.67 a month when broken down. The option to pay month-to-month is a nice touch and puts OneGreatFamily steps ahead of Geni.com, where the premium plan is $119.40 upfront, $20 more, and with no freedom to make the payments more manageable.
What Tools Does OneGreatFamily Offer?
Suppose you're new to world family tree software. In that case, you should know that there are several huge database platforms, such as Wikitree and Geni.com, that contain a comparable number of names in their databases as well as a host of community features, not to mention DNA testing sites like AncestryDNA and MyHeritage, which offer similar functions as well as cutting edge DNA testing.
With so many options available, you want to be sure you're making an informed decision. Three patents have been filed based on OneGreatFamily's technology, so with that in mind, let's look at what they have to offer.
Family Tree Builder
Your family tree is built upon signing up to One Great Family using the information you use to create your profile. For the best results, One Great Family recommends adding at least 18 names to your family tree for the best results. There's space to add birth and death dates to every relative, so make sure to add as much detail as possible as this will help the system locate matches so it can begin merging your tree with existing ones.
When you first click 'Enter more relatives,' you'll be prompted to download an extension called GenealogyBrowser, a Windows-only desktop companion for your One Great Family profile that allows a different interface and the ability to print your tree.
GenealogyBrowser scans the 110 million individual ancestors in the One Great Family database and opens up two new viewing platforms: Starfield and Handprint. Let's have a look at the functionality of these features and how they help you build your connections.
Located on the left side of the Genealogy Browser, Handprint lets you view the genealogy of an individual, showing all their listed relatives. The Handprint title of this function is derived from how your fingerprint identifies you uniquely, recognizing the impact you've left on other profiles, matching you together based on your relationships and not simply names and dates.
On the right side of GenealogyBrowser, you'll find Starfield, which allows you to view your genealogy on a micro or macro level. In practice, you'll be able to highlight and expand any node which represents your family members, so you can view their personal data and who their relations are.
When you zoom out far enough, you'll be able to see hundreds of profiles but be able to expand them simply by hovering over their node.
GEDCOM downloading and uploading
GEDCOM data, which stands for Genealogical Data Communication, is a common method of exchanging data between family tree building platforms as they will all accommodate GEDCOM software. Sites like AncestryDNA give you the option to export your account as a GEDCOM file to use with other platforms. One Great Family also offers this feature if you want to expand your research to other platforms
It's essentially an easy way to back up your genealogical research into one spot and then uses it across any genealogy software, which is doubly useful in the event that you lose all your research, as your GEDCOM file will contain all of your findings and can contain up to 20 ancestral generations.
Uploading your GEDCOM to One Great Family isn't an exact science, which is true of every consumer genealogy platform.
Discrepancies between your file and the One Great Family world family tree if profiles aren't merged correctly. This can result from mismatching birth and death dates, their spouse, or their biological family. This situation can be cleared up by using the Collaboration feature, so if you think someone else who is working on your genealogy has the wrong data, then you can reach out to them.
One of the big benefits of world family tree builders is the opportunity for teamwork. Going it alone when building your family tree can be difficult, and sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can make all the difference.
Anyone who adds an individual record to the One Great Family archives will have their account linked to that record. Collaboration is a feature that lets you utilize this information so you can see other members who may be working on someone in your tree and contact them by email.
With any luck, reaching out to them may uncover new leads and perspectives you would never have discovered without the collaboration feature, benefitting both of you and making your work more rewarding and exciting.
Genealogy Learning Center
One Great Family has an exhaustive range of educational material, which you can access via the Tools tab on their homepage by clicking the Genealogy Learning Center link.
This resource contains extensive drop-down lists on the following topics:
- Get started finding out about your ancestors
- Tips, advice, and instruction on doing my family history research
- What kind of documents can help me get information about my ancestors?
- What does a name tell me about a person?
- What can I do to bring my living relatives together?
Say you click the top 'Get started tab,' and this will take you to this page, where each link will take you to a page with even more links and opportunities for learning and making your work smarter and more successful. For example, if we click 'Get started finding out about your ancestors,' it takes us to this page.
Each link will take you to a page of information discussing the topic in detail, so if you're completely green with no clues on where to go first, these resources are extremely helpful. They're also free and accessible to anyone visiting the site, so anyone who wants to do some research can get some valuable tips and insights. This thoughtful sort of service isn't offered to this extent by Geni.com or Wikitree.
One Great Family's surname database draws on the millions of existing names on their world tree as well as those included in the Social Security Death Index, which you can use to hunt for people with a surname of interest to your work.
The system helpfully presents matches to surnames in your tree for you to look through for leads. It also gives you useful information about the surname you've searched for, viewing its popularity throughout history and how often it's appeared in the United States census.
This system is a useful jumping-off point for finding members of your distant family tree or simply learning about the history of the name in other families.
How Does OneGreatFamily Compare To The Competition?
One Great Family vs. Wikitree
There are two primary differences between these two world family tree platforms.
The first is that Wikitree costs no money to access, so you can use the complete system for free, unlike One Great Family, which only offers an initial seven-day trial. This doesn't necessarily work out in favor of Wikitree.
As we know, we're generally better paying for a service where the people administrating it are paid for it, as this at least implies there will be a certain degree of professionalism and commitment to their work. The case with Wikitree is that members of the community who are in charge of moderating family trees, removing or adding matches where they find them with no official code of conduct guiding their process.
Furthermore, users complain that Wikitree uses outdated software that is likely to break under the weight of the data it's carrying, whereas the cash flow generating One Great Family's service means, though it's not the most attractive interface, that the resources are available to maintain it.
The second difference is One Great Family's lack of a community forum for discussion. The G2G (Genealogist to Genealogist) forum on Wikitree is a space where the entire community can pose questions, answer existing queries or simply engage in discussion on the topic of genealogy. While any online forum can be home to a few bad eggs which can cause bad experiences, overall, it brings a real community experience to Wikitree as opposed to the limited one-to-one Collaboration feature offered by One Great Family
OneGreatFamily: Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get a DNA test from OneGreatFamily?
No, unlike specialized DNA testing sites like Ancestry, or world tree builders affiliated with testing sites like Geni.com, OneGreatFamily is simply a family tree building tool. Though it's a good resource to use after you've received DNA results to take your research further.
Is OneGreatFamily a paid platform?
Yes, it is, though the flexibility afforded by its three payment plans offers a lot of freedom. Everyone receives a free 7-day trial upfront which is easily cancelled before any money is withdrawn from your account.
The monthly payment plan is only $14.95, so after a month, if you decide to back, you'll only have lost a few bucks. This gives it an advantage over Geni.com, which offers essentially the same service but with a steep $119.40 flat fee for membership.
Be advised that several users, despite selecting the monthly payment plan, were billed the full $79.95 for the yearly option. While you can contact them and get a refund on this, the fact that it happens at all speaks to the outdated nature of this family tree builder.
Do I need to download Genealogy Browser?
One of the main complaints about OneGreatFamily is its outdated software. Genealogy Browser only works on Windows, so if you have a Mac, it won't function at all.
It also requires a Windows XP/Vista/2000/2003 operating system, which at this point are both nearly twenty years old, which speaks to how much of an update the system requires.
There are demonstration videos on the website, but they all require Adobe Flash to run, which is no longer compatible with web browsers.
So while at the time, while twenty years ago, the Genealogy Browser would have seemed a cutting edge, purpose-built piece of software, the market has moved ahead so far that it's now very old-fashioned. In short, to use OneGreatFamily, you will need to download their browser to operate effectively, but there are other options like Ancestry that are much more competitive in the modern genealogy environment.
The Bottom Line
OneGreatFamily, like Wikitree and Geni.com, is a system that feels a bit out of time. While leading genealogy platforms enjoy regular updates with smooth modern interfaces, easy-to-access customer service, and a wide range of cutting-edge DNA testing technology, OneGreatFamily is immediately recognizable as a system that was designed decades ago when the internet genealogy research was in its early stages.
The clunky, unattractive display has aged poorly and hasn't been updated since its creation; the opening page feels immediately dated, which should have alarm bells ringing.
The need to download a separate browser that runs on outdated processing systems shows that OneGreatFamily can't handle data that sites like Ancestry deal with on an exponentially higher scale every day and more likely every hour.
While adding another world tree builder to your genealogy research might reveal a missing link in your investigation that you wouldn't find anywhere else and is, of course, a valuable tool, it's hard to justify a paid platform that feels as though it has been left to stagnate while the industry continues to develop.
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OneGreatFamily Review 2024. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from https://namecensus.com/blog/onegreatfamily-review/.