Did you see the new Connection Finder? Any problems? [closed]

+107 votes

Hi WikiTreers,

Today we released major changes to our Connection Finder, our tool for showing how 20 million of us are all connected to each other through blood and marriage.

Actually, it's been completely rebuilt by Ales Trtnik. It's all new. Everything. But here's what regular WikiTreers will notice to be different.

Before today we had been featuring just three "Connection Anchors": the Member of the Week, the Profile of the Week, and our persistent anchor, Henry VIII.

Now there will be as many as 10 featured connections per week. We're still doing the Member of the Week and Profile of the Week, but then instead of Henry VIII or another persistent anchor we'll be featuring a new group of profiles every week. This week it's a group of aviation pioneers to go along with the Profile of the Week, Orville Wright.

But that's not the big change. The big change is that now you can find the connection between any two people, any time.

It used to be that you could only check your connection to the Connection Anchors. Every night we would calculate and record how all 20 million people on our big tree were related to these three anchors. You could see how anyone connects to them, but you couldn't see how anyone connects to anyone else. It would have put too much of a burden on our servers. Now, thanks to incredible efficiency innovations by Ales, this limitation has been removed.

The featured connections are now just examples. We are calculating and recording the number of steps to them simply as points of interest. Viewing a connection to them is no different than viewing a connection to anyone else.

Another little limitation that Ales removed: the 100 degree limit. It used to be that we stopped looking for connections after 100 steps. If a connection couldn't be found within 100 degrees of separation, we stopped looking. The Connection Finder is now essentially unlimited. But this may sound like a more significant change than it is. Almost all our connections are found within 50 or 60 steps. Almost no connections are found beyond 100. It's amazing, really.

Of course, we still have millions of people who are unconnected. About 80% of the profiles on WikiTree (20 million) are connected, and 20% (four million) are not.

Are you seeing any problems? Any large or small bugs? Please report them here. Thanks! Or post if you have any questions or comments.

Onward and upward, for our single family tree,


in The Tree House by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
closed by Chris Whitten

For those with the disappearing button issue -- https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Special:Settings do you have profile previews disabled?

Yes Jamie, mine is defaulted with the box check for disabled.

Yes, Jamie.

The box for "Disable Profile Previews" is checked in my "Settings".
Wow, it looks like you found the problem!  That sounds like that was a needle in a haystack!  Great detective and analysis!
I’ve figured out a fix — I’ll let you know when it’s live.

BRAVO, Jamie !!     yes

Yes, that is the problem! Glad to hear that you have found a fix, Jamie!
The fix is live :)

Yay, it seems to work perfect, Jamie! Thanks!

Steven Mix is 16 Degrees from Jamie Nelson

Many thanks, Jamie !

31 Answers

+37 votes
Thank you, Chris, Ales and Team for the Connection Finder improvements.
by David Selman G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+31 votes

Oh, wow. The first profile I checked was Orville Wright. It turns out that he and I are seventh cousins twice removed. (Which, come to think of it, is the same relationship that I have with this guy named Chris Whitten.)

by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (530k points)
Hi Greg!

The way we are doing the connection features is going to make the great work you do connecting notables even more valuable. I expect that we'll often be grabbing profiles from the Relationship Finder Quick Links. Thanks again for all you do there.

Casting about for a famous person to check, I chose Ronald Reagan and found that I am a blood relation to Nancy Reagan. Yet when I do a Relationship Finder check between me and she, out 30 generations, it doesn't find one. According to Connection Finder however we are both descendants of this man.  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wheeler-1667
+27 votes
Very cool! Is there a way to find the oldest profile (birthdate) that is connected? Would be fun to see that path
by Jonathan Crawford G2G6 Pilot (216k points)

Hello Jonathan.

Your point is very interesting. I found a connected profile with year of birth ab. 0020.

Check this


I love it! 51 degrees...

Michael Cayley, in an edit to this profile dated 21 May 2018, stated: "There are no reliable historical references to parents, spouses, or children [of Ap Cunobelin), therefore links to such relatives will be removed." But it appears the links were not indeed removed. From the description in the profile it is clear that the genealogy connecting this person to the Main Tree was concocted in medieval times and first written down by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century; it is most definitely not a properly sourced descent and almost certainly pure fantasy.

I would be very surprised if a properly sourced descent (at least in Western Europe) could be found to anyone earlier than Arnoul Bishop of Metz (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Arnulfing-2) and Pepin of Landen (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pippinid-2), the two earliest reasonably documented ancestors of the Carolingian dynasty.

+34 votes
Very nice.  I am impressed. This is the kind of feature that makes having a one-world-tree more interesting.

And now that finding connections finds a solution quickly for most cases, Id recommend changing the connection links on the bottom of the profile pages. Typically, when I am on a profile page, I am interested in my connection with that person.  But the "Check your connections" link takes me to the anchor person.  I think it should now default to the profile person.
by Paul Gierszewski G2G6 Mach 6 (67.4k points)
Paul, when you are on another profile, have you checked the 'Relationship to Me' in the drop down under the 'wikitree ID' in the menu line?  That will give you your Relationship to that profile.
Yes.  That works the same as the "check your genealogical relationship" link at the bottom of a profile, and is fine for genealogical relations.  However in most cases I am not directly related and am just curious in the "connection".  While there are multiple-step ways to get to the Connection finder, I am proposing that it be a single-click default setting for the Check Your Connections link.
I see what you mean.  It defaults to Henry VIII instead of the profile that you are on. If you select the 'genealogical relationship' and  'No Relationship Found' is seen, the 'Connection Finder' link is in that section, which you can select.
Good idea for improvement, Paul!
Done! :-)

I expect we'll adjust the pull-down menu too.
Thanks Chris and team!
I just needed to say THANKS to Chris and Ales and the many others that have probably helped implement this!  You guys rock!

That was fast - Thanks! laugh

Aren't Chris and Ales and Team simply brilliant!!!!
Just found out Chris and I are connected 19 degrees in his Harper my Peninger lines.  Never had thought to check, until ya made it so easy!
+27 votes
Thank you for the improvements!
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (462k points)
+23 votes
I love it! Thank you very much to the ones that made it possible! And it's fast too!
by Maria Lundholm G2G6 Pilot (177k points)
+25 votes

This is pretty impressive programming work by Aleš Trtnik and the team. I bet it has been rather hard to establish. Very well done!

by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (261k points)
Thanks, Michel. :-) Ales's work here transformed what was possible. And it's going to enable us to do more creative and interesting things with relationships and connections in the future.
+23 votes

I really love this improvement! Thank you, Chris and Aleš, for finding another way to peak our interest and improve our profiles. You guys rock! laugh 

by Mindy Silva G2G6 Pilot (916k points)
+20 votes
hehehe, nice, with this version I found a very convoluted link to my project leader.  Which it never showed me before.
by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (492k points)
+21 votes
This is great Chris (and Team)! Now if only we could get some type of branching or triangulation built in! I noticed that Azure and Eowyn both connect to me through a specific family line, and it wold be interesting to be able to compare 3 profiles to see how they all connect!
by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (587k points)
+20 votes
This so so nifty.  The path to Whitten-1 is 22 profiles, and the route is via my mothers Norwegians, which never come up on the relation finder.  Think this may be only the third time, they got included.  

After doing large batches of merges, I get emails from the PM's asking how I'm related, and I explain that I'm not, just doing some WikiTree housekeeping, but now for fun, I can send them a link with how I'm related, even though that has nothing to do with how I happened to be merging their duplicate profiles.
by Patricia Roche G2G6 Pilot (596k points)
+18 votes
Thank you very much. I love this feature. Well done.
by Carol Lynn Napora G2G6 Mach 2 (27.5k points)
+15 votes

As you are asking for information about problems:

The new connection finder has the same bug as the old one ; it chooses an indirect male line rather than a direct female one.  The relationship finder shows the direct line:



by Joe Farler G2G6 Pilot (135k points)
edited by Joe Farler

You can choose relation types on WikiTree+. Limit the relationship type to ancestors.


Those other futures will also come to wikitree, but Connection finder was the first. All limited relations are trivial compared to connection finder.

+16 votes
And who would have ever suggested that we were 12th cousins once removed, Chris? Wow!!
by Fiona McMichael G2G6 Pilot (184k points)
+19 votes

Hi Chris,

I notice a problem today in my personal unconnected list.  Some profiles that are connected are showing as unconnected.  One example is https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Lee-19419  She is connected through her mother and has been ever since the profile was created in March.  

Another example is https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Needham-1156 connected through his wife.

Both profiles were previously showing as connected.

by Joan Whitaker G2G6 Pilot (144k points)

Same issue here: Jasper Brady is connected, but his wife and descendants and anyone connected to them are not. Those profiles were linked together on 30 July and showed as connected before.

And me as well. My unconnected total was about 15 profiles yesterday, this morning it's showing as 232.

The total of connected profiles yesterday was 20,156,130, after today's update it's dropped to 18,992,361. Likewise, the total of unconnected yesterday was 4,083,611, and it's now showing 5,276,559.
I'm seeing this as well - I think it has to do with paths that used to go through Private profiles. I don't think the new checker will go through the path if you're not on the trusted list. At least that's my initial impression. I'm seeing this on a profile that my personal login shows it as unconnected, but my project account does show the same one as connected.
When checking Jackie Robinson (Robinson-13), his connection runs through some profiles of still living persons. The "puzzle" icon shows at the top of the profile for those who don't have access to those living profiles, while those who have access to those, it does not. However, when running the Connection Finder, it does show me my connection to him, which is even more interesting. There's something unusual going on there.
Thank you, Joan, Isabelle, Carol and Scott. We are working on this.
I also noticed this problem and it is already corrected. Servers need a few more minutes to update the data.
Thank you Aleš, my personal unconnected total is back to 15. And the connected and unconnected totals are looking good as well, with 20,164,261 connected and 4,085,023 unconnected.
Thanks! Yes, it is fixed.
Thanks Chris and Ales. My list looks OK now.
All is well now - thank you SO much for your quick response!
Does anyone know if the overnight update failed, (or is it just running very late). Profiles that I created yesterday are still showing as unconnected, and the totals of connected and unconnected profiles are still showing yesterday's figures.
All updated now, thank you. Must have just been a delayed update.

That was me. I just updated the Connection finder and restarted the update of unconnected profiles. 

Maybe we didn't tell it anywhere but now updates of unconnected profiles and distances to prominent profiles  start at 8 am GMT and are done in 50 minutes.That time will extend as the data grows, but not much. I am not sure when the updates used to be done.

+18 votes
Fantastic that I can now check relationship between any two profiles - very helpful.

One minor problem - with the featured profiles at the bottom of my profile, the number of degrees reported is different from what the Global Family Tree Connection Finder says, eg Orville Wright says 25 on my profile but 26 on the Connection Finder; Azure Robinson 29 on my profile but 28 on the Connection Finder. The other profiles (Amelia Earhard, Charles Rolls etc...) seem to be correct.
by Wendy Scott G2G6 Mach 2 (23.5k points)
On my profile it says 20 degrees from Rolls, but when I look it is actually 16.  What was shown at the bottom of the profile yesterday as 16 ( ie correct )  has changed to 20 today, even though the finder still shows 16 steps.
This should be fixed now.
Yes, fixed on mine now.  Thanks !
Orville Wright is correct now, but Azure Robinson is still showing 29 degrees on my profile but 28 on Connection Finder.

This is not really a big deal to me, and probably most people wouldn't even notice it, but I'm guessing you, as a programmer, would like to know if there are any bugs.
I corrected this. It was related to half siblings of half siblings.

Distance to Azure Robinson from Wendy is now 28.

I hope I didn't broke something else.
All fixed for me now, thanks! Yes I hope it hasn't broken something else.
+16 votes
Hi Chris,

currently the Connection finder doesn't show over 20m connections but less than 19m.

Edit to fix the grammar
by Jelena Eckstädt G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
edited by Jelena Eckstädt
+20 votes
It seems to work perfectly fine to me but if I could make a suggestion, when i search for my cousin it says 3 degrees of separation. Would it be possible for it to say 'first cousin'? It does not really matter in this case but when we get into the realms of 19th cousin 15 times removed then this would be something that a computer could probably work out better than a person. I am not suggesting removing the degrees of separation, just adding to it.
by Andy Lear G2G6 Mach 1 (11.6k points)
+18 votes
Great job, Aleš!

Work like this really moves WikiTree forward in a significant way!

Can't wait to see what's next. :-)
by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (388k points)
+17 votes
Another Great Job Ales.    That's for the continual improvement that's made to WikiTree.
by Peggy McReynolds G2G6 Pilot (450k points)

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