Families cluster

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Surnames/tags: 100_circles connection_finder
Profile manager: Eva Ekeblad private message [send private message]
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The Wiki Global Tree

WikiTree keeps growing. On the WikiTree first page the total number of profiles is constantly updated - it's currently over 25 millions. [1]

WikiTree aims for a single, collaborative family tree with only one profile for each person entered, a single Global Tree. In the Global Tree there are chains of kinship connecting all profiles from one end to the other. [2]

The Global Tree can be explored by means of the Connection Finder. At the connection finder page, the updated number of connected profiles is displayed. It is currently over 21 millions. A different set of ten profiles is featured every week for easy access, and since September 2020 you can check the distance between any two profiles.

The Connection Finder shows the path between two selected profiles, counting the distance in "Degrees". The nature of the relationship between one profile and the following is shown in the image.

Connection finder path

Occurring relationships are: father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, brother and sister. These all count as one Degree. Note that a sibling relationship is counted as a direct relationship, not passing through the common parent. Nor is any distinction is made between half and full siblings. Also to be noted is that the inclusion of spouses distinguishes the Connection Finder from the Relationship Finder, which is exclusively for relationships by blood.

In terms of the metrics of the Global Tree gender does not matter. There are just parents, siblings, spouses and children to any given profile.

We have found it useful to regard all profiles at the same distance from a given profile as a Circle. A circle consists of all points that are at a given distance from a given point, the centre. So the first circle consists of the parents, siblings, spouses and children of the Focus Profile, who are all at distance 1.

Family Clusters - and fitting them together

A nuclear family will be a cluster of mutual relationships - all siblings being siblings of each other and, barring multiple marriages, all children will be children of both parents.

  • Sibling relationships are mutual
  • spouse relationships are also mutual
  • parent-child relationships are mutual. It would be nice to have good single word for it.

When it comes to the second circle from the Focus Profile, things get trickier, because some of the profiles surrounding those in the second circle will already have been in the first circle. There is no double counting.[3]

The drawing below is derived from my own family, with some simplification (=removing multiple spouses and their relationships). North and NNE are my parents with their first circles. East is my (ex)spouse and his birth family. South are my children and their families. West are my two sisters and their families. Since all members of a nuclear family are mutually connected, you quickly get a lot of connection lines when you have more than Mum, Dad and two children.[4] I wouldn't do it with a family of twelve vigourous children.

Spousal relationship red, parent-child relationship green and sibling relationship purple.
Focus Profile largest dot, first circle profiles midsize dots, second circle smallest dots.

With some turning and skewing it was possible to continue the drawing with my third circle. In the families of my children (SSW) my grandchildren are too young to have children. The children of my younger sister have only just started.

The picture below will serve as an explanation for why I will not try the fourth circle.


  1. There is some shrinkage, when duplicate profiles are found and merged into one, and, rarely, when profiles of living kin are deleted when a profile manager closes their account. But the shrinkage is insignificant compared to the steady flow of new profiles created by members.
  2. There are, of course, isolated fragments (often leftovers from very old GEDCOM imports), and family clusters that do not yet have a connection to the biggest cluster. In addition to the work by family these clusters are worked on by the Connectors.
  3. There is also no guarantee that all possible profiles have been created - or that all the types of relationship exist for a given profile. There are single children and unwed parents.
  4. I do hope I have not missed any lines.



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