Another update to the Fan Chart app

+36 votes

Good morning, and Happy Connect-a-Thon to everyone!  I have just this morning published a major update to the Fan Chart app, and I invite you to check it out.

The easiest way to get to the Fan Chart now is to go to your Family Trees & Tools page, then scroll down to the list, and you'll find it in alphabetical order there.

I have just now updated the Fan Chart help doc ( so you can get all the details there, but the main highlights are these:

* Many more options now to customize how your ancestors are displayed in the fan chart in terms of names

* Option to use full dates instead of just lifespan years

* Option to show Wikitree ID and/or Ahentafel #s

* Option now to SAVE your Preferences (after you've logged into the WikiTree apps server) - so then - every time you login in the future, those preferences will be automatically loaded.

* Included in those settings is the option to customize two unique palettes for use with your own fan charts. (That along with a new Rainbow palette option).  Also, you can now customize the way the Primary Person is coloured in your chart, if you don't like the default colouring from the standard palettes.

* When colouring by Country or Place name, you can choose to base that on either birth location or death location.  You are also able to customize the colours chosen (the location colouring does not use the standard palettes since it has to be flexible enough to show so many more options) - but this way, you can ensure that Canadians shows up on a Red background with White text, or that those from Ireland are always displayed with Green!  (These settings can also be saved for future use)

* The PDF creator now has an opening dialog which allows you to tweak the PDF title and location, and whether to show the QR code

Huge thanks to Tommy Buchs for his assistance, especially with the revisions to the colour palettes, and his eagle-eyes and suggestions for improvements in all the new features.  Also, I'd like to give a shout-out to Sir William Arbuthnot who also made many suggestions which made it into this revision.

As always - let me know if there is something that is not quite working right - something I broke in the latest revision, or a feature you need.   The one thing that I have yet to get working properly is being able to retrieve reliably the data for living people that you have rights to (on your watchlist) when you are logged in.  Even logged in as yourself, your exact birth date and Middle Name (for example) seemed to elude the Fan Chart app.  This is on the top of my list for the next revision ... so ... be patient for that.


 - Greg

in The Tree House by Greg Clarke G2G6 Mach 7 (71.3k points)
use the scroll bars at top and bottom.
Yeah, I get you can use the browser scroll bars. I just was wanting to view the entire chart on the screen at once, like in FamilySearch.
Thank you Chris Gilbert, for the details in changing the privacy setting in order to view the fan chart.  I was quite disheartened to repeatedly seeing a blank chart!  Then, I saw your post about changing the setting.  Thanks, again!
HI there Frank - re: your question about zooming out.

I didn't program a way to change the font-size, to allow an in-app zoom in/out option simply because most browsers have the ability these days to magnify and zoom in/out already built in (and much better than I could replicate).  Often it is tied to a key combo like COMMAND +  / - on a Mac, or CTRL or ALT + / - on a PC, and sometimes you can program a function key or special combo.   Hope that helps.
Fair enough. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. Thanks for this great tool!
Wonderful!  Thanks Greg
I do not see the option for the Fan Chart on my tree. I go to my profile, select My Wikitree, Family Tree & Tools, and there are 4 tabs: Family tree, Genealogy Research, WikiTree Tools, and Contact. I scroll down and do not see "Fan Chart" anywhere in any of the sections. I even search the page for "fan" and get zero results. Is this under another title? Or is this only available to certain types of accounts? Thanks.
Barbara, "Public" is not an option for living people. How can I get my own fan chart if I'm living?
Hi there Susan,

If you change your own privacy level from RED to either the YELLOW setting (Private with Public Biography and Family Tree) or LIGHT ORANGE (Private with Public Family Tree), then you should see it as an option on your Family Tree & Tools page.

Get there by clicking on the second menu (the one with your Wiki ID) and choosing Privacy.

The key is that the Family Tree has to be Public for the Fan Chart app to be able to read the data, not necessarily your whole profile.

Hope that helps!

 - Greg
Many thanks Greg for helping out . Much appreciated.

7 Answers

+11 votes
Excellent work, Greg.  I love the improvements you've added.  I use this often and recommend it to others as well.  Such a cool way to see all your ancestors, where they are from, and where your gaps are.

edit to correct auto spelling to ancestors
by Cindy Cooper G2G6 Pilot (250k points)
edited by Cindy Cooper
+7 votes
Outstanding work that will surely add a level of convenience for users wanting to see a easy-to-understand representation of their family tree. Thank you!

I do have one minor quibble, and that is how it neglects to display the names of living relatives (shown as 'Private') when I can otherwise see their details and information when logged in and viewing my tree.
by Olin Coles G2G6 Mach 1 (19.4k points)
Hi there Olin!

Yes - that is more than a major quibble, it is an issue that I've been dealing with trying to get the API working if you are logged into the WikiTree apps server to properly recognize your right to see "private" info to people on your watch list. In my testing, I have it working sometimes, and not others, so for this release, I've opted to use the more stable, but lesser version. I do have people in WikiTree who are helping me overcome this hurdle, so the next version will give you what you (and I!!!) really badly want for a complete Fan Chart experience.  To me, though, to have a feature that only works some of the time is more frustrating than having something that has limitations but is at least consistent.  Not sure if that's the answer you want, but it's what I've got for now.  Know that this is issue # 1 to be tackled next for me!  (Well, maybe not # 1, dealing with the lightning strike on my house and ensuing insurance matters does kind of top that issue ... no one was hurt ... but still ... !)

 - Greg

That's because Greg is using the wikitree API, which defaults to privacy settings. This makes sense, and standardizes the app functionality more. I think it should remain this way.
+5 votes
I got stuck.

I clicked on the link to my chart in the WikiTree News email. I then clicked on the style of fan chart. It came up but the only space filled in with a name was mine.

Perhaps I needed to log in. That option is along the top. I tried that, a login for the API. After entering the info I was taken to a page that said: "Welcome to the FAN CHART app - you are attempting to log in ..." and was otherwise blank. It looked like no way to get off that page. When this page displayed there was a message box that briefly flashed.

So, now logged in (at least to WikiTree as a whole) I tried again. My fan chart still contains just me.
by Paul Kinney G2G6 Mach 1 (13.8k points)
Hmmm .. very interesting Paul.  I'm not sure why it got stuck where it did.  I just tried to create your Fan Chart, and was able to do so successfully by doing the following:

(once I was in the Fan Chart app)

* From the NEW FAN menu, I chose NEW PROFILE FAN CHART

* Entered your wiki id: Kinney-1938

* Then it created a chart for me - complete with your name, parents, up to 2nd great grandparents.

Can you try again?

Maybe also try clearing your cache / cookies from your browser, see if that helps?

If not - please email directly and we can work through this together.

 - Greg
I didn't see an email address to reply directly.

Going the route you suggested did get me a good chart. However, what it first showed me is the results from your version 1, not the gentle pastels of the empty chart.

I tried colors according to place of birth. That produced a very nice colorful chart! However, I will have to verify a few place designations.

So, whatever the link in the WikiTree News email it wasn't a good one.
In looking at the colors of some of the entries for color by birth location I noticed that: "Bellevue, Ohio" was grouped under "Ohio" and "Bellevue, Sandusky, Ohio, United States" was grouped under "United States." I would rather not see it that way because there are ten towns named "Bellevue" in the United States. For a while one brother lived in Bellevue, Washington and another brother lived in Bellevue, Pennsylvania.
HI again Paul, there is only so much the app can do without a human brain to discern and parse actual location names.  To help you out with the logic, here's what I programmed:

COUNTRY = the LAST entry in a location, after the final comma.

PLACE NAME = the FIRST entry in a location, before the first comma.

SO, for example, for Bellevue, Sandusky, Ohio, United States, the COUNTRY = United States, the PLACE NAME = Bellevue.

For Bellevue, Ohio, then COUNTRY = Ohio, and PLACE NAME = Bellevue.

(as you discovered)

When you Colour by Place Name (whether you use Birth locations or Death locations, same logic applies), there are two options you can use.

The default is to use COUNTRY SHADING, that will show Bellevue, United States as a separate colour (in the same range of colours as all the rest of the places in the United States), and also a Bellevue, Ohio (in the same range of colours as any other places whose "country" = Ohio)

If you switch to UNIQUE COLOURS, then it ONLY looks at the first name, and will colour ALL Bellevues the same.

For deep charts going back many generations, past multiple names for countries over time, this Unique Colours option will keep all of the same place coloured the same, regardless of what the country was called.  

However, you have discovered the one issue my logic cannot solve (without introducing a third variable at least), and that's the difference between Bellevue, Ohio, US and Bellevue, Pennsylvania, US, etc..

I will add it to my list of possible options for the next revision - but would like feedback on how large a problem this is to help me prioritize this change.

 - Greg

If you want to contact me directly, I've added a link in the FAN HELP menu (last one, top right of the app), at the very bottom is the option:  CONTACT AUTHOR.   Feel free to use it for any details / help / requests that you want to send to me directly.  Those direct messages to me do not show up on the G2G page.

 - Greg
Bellevue, Ohio v. Bellevue, US may not be a big problem because there are only 10 of them across the country. But I think there are 35 states with a Springfield.

One possibility is if the country is United States, leave that aside and look at the state.

I don't know what other countries may have town names that appear a lot. Perhaps England? Or Germany, which used to be a big collection of districts? So maybe a third variable is needed -- if the first and last are the same check whether the part in the middle is different.
When I first used this I really wanted the location coloring feature. I ended cleaning up (making consistent) lots of location names, more than I expected, by using consistent country names and adding them where I forgot them. I viewed this as me sending bad data into the tool.

For the US colonies (I have five that appear in my fan chart), I chose the same color for all of them with the new customization feature and also had to make sure they were all consistent. That probable also cleaned up some location suggestions.
Thanks for sharing that Marty!  

When I was testing the new country colour features, I found it forced me to obsessively fix location names, and then when I added the toggle so you could choose between birth locations or death locations - twice as much "fun"!  With the colouring, it was super quickly obvious when you see a bright red "born in Canada" coloured ancestor in the ring two generations before Canada was even a nation (1867)!
I am a bit of a data consistency wonk, so I saw when using the location feature, I saw this as useful for data cleansing and accuracy. I went deep in to some of my other ancestral lines and got completely carried away cleaning up locations generally adding countries for Ireland, Scotland, and England locations when just they stopped at the county/shire.  

It was all for a good cause.
OMG. Death locations. I'm only half done.
+6 votes
Thank you it looks great and I will have to explore it more. Just checking out the fan showed me distant ancestors I have not personally found yet so will be great to review their profiles when I get some down time next.
by Rosalie Neve G2G6 Pilot (152k points)
+6 votes
Very nice. Thank you.
by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (511k points)
+5 votes
Very cool changes. I like the color customization additions so I can make my dominant county USA white so I do not drain my ink cartridge when I print.

One really minor quirky thing I noticed is that when I choose Light Grey it appears as Light Grey on the web page but when I create the PDF to print it turn into Light Green.
by Marty Acks G2G6 Pilot (134k points)
Wow ... Light Grey == Light Green ?  Sounds like a typo by the programmer ... who is that dud?  I'll look into it. (maybe autocorrect has struck again .. I've been using my Canadian spelling for all the colour names maybe someone snuck in and played a trick on me!)

 - Greg
Notice, I also respected your Canadian spelling choices.;-)

BTW, I used to spend a lot of time in Waterloo, Ontario on business. I really enjoyed work my time there and working for a Canadian company (until they were bought by an in American company). I need get back get some apple fritters at the farmers market north of town. We have nothing like that in our area.
+6 votes
What a fabulous tool!  I'm really enjoying this.  It really shows you what's missing and it is easy to see where your tree is lacking.  I created an 11 generation chart and I'm sharing it with siblings.
by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)

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