Bridges from Sweden

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Surnames/tags: 100_circles connection_finder
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It used to be that the Connection Finder was limited to ten Degrees of connection plus three anchor profiles. The New and Improved WikiTree Connection Finder, launched in September 2020, lets us view the paths from one profile to any other profile connected to the Global Tree.

This new facility inspired the exploration of 100 Circles: A Geometry of The Tree, an adventure started in November 2020 and still continuing.

Bridges in the Connection Finder

Unless you are very well connected you will soon notice that your path to the featured profiles of the week always goes through a one of a small set of "gatekeeper" profiles. It may even happen that your path to the Global Tree always goes through one of your parents, never through the other.[1]

From my Swedish perspective the gatekeeper profiles are mostly emigrants to North America, crossing the pond, like bridges. I suspect that WikiTree members from most European countries will have some emigrant bridges recurring in their connection finder views.

These were the ones I marked as bridges in 2020:

In 2022 these bridges have been "outdistanced" by some others, who are now regularly appearing in the shortest paths to featured profiles.

The blue bridge stands out wisually when you play with hthe Connection Finder.

Olof's circles in comparison

In November 2020 Olof Andersson (1793-1860) was chosen as one of the 100 circles focus profiles. At that time Margaret Hedfors was the most frequently appearing bridge for Olof in the Connection Finder, which was the reason for using her as a "guide", when choosing profiles to compare with Olof.

The diagram plotting the number of profiles in each of Olof's circles (a circle being all profiles with the same distance from Olof) shows a pretty typical curve: a little steeper on the left side where the low-number circles are and a slightly gentler slope on the right side of the peak. An initial perception was that the curve for any profile would look more or less like that, the big difference being how far to the right the curve would peak, or, in other words, how long the "inroad" would be.

Olof's circles in November 2020

To illustrate this Olof was compared with a couple of other profiles in the same kinship network, and then with one more profile "on the other side of the bridge". First he was compared to Stina Eriksdotter (1824-1875), Olof being five generations back in the maternal branch of Eva Ekeblad and Stina being three generations back in the paternal branch, bringing her closer to the bridge.

Compared populations of the circles of Olof and Stina

Then Apollonia Nilsdotter Brodin (1821-1878) was brought in, also three generations back in the paternal branch, but on a closer line to Margaret Hedfors.

Compared populations of the circles of Olof, Stina and Apollonia

The most frequent path goes by way of William Gerald (Bill) Philip (1930-2015), who is in Margaret's third circle. So he was brought in as a fourth comparison profile.

Compared populations of the circles of Olof, Stina, Apollonia and Bill

Finally Samuel Lothrop Esq (1622-1700) was brought into the comparison. He has been with the 100 Circles from the beginning, being known as the profile with the shortest mean distance found so far, at that time. (This has not changed much).

Compared populations of the circles of Olof, Stina, Apollonia, Bill and Samuel Lothrop

All in all this made a nice progression of similar curves, with successively shorter inroads to the main hill. Comparing the circle populations of the same five profiles two years later, in November 2020, does not give the same neat picture. That is, the two American profiles hold their positions, but the three Swedish profiles jumble together and are hard to tell apart.

2022 comparison

Looking at the population changes for the five sample persons over the past two years gives a neater picture:

Change over two years

You can see that the population in the circles of the two American profiles has not changed much - basically they have benefitted from the general addition of connected profiles to the Big Tree. Two of the Swedish profiles have undergone a marked shift towards the left side, profiles being shifted into closer circles by new connections being made by the finding and creation of new bridges . The third, Apollonia, who is the closest to the Margaret Hedfors bridge, has not changed as much. It may be that since she was already well connected by more than one emigrant in her closest circles, there was not as much scope for new discoveries around her.


  1. If that is the case in spite of your tree being equally filled out with great-grands on both sides, you need to go looking "sideways" for a connection to some branch that is already in WikiTree. Perhaps one of your grand-uncles had a brother-in-law whose family already has profiles.


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