FamilySearch Certifies ‘Relative Finder’

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Todd Wakefield with Karl G. Maeser, a former President of Brigham Young University.

Have you ever wondered if you were related to your neighbor, best friend, or even Prince William? Thanks to a FamilySearch certified app called “Relative Finder,” you can find out how closely related you are to historical figures and everyday acquaintances.

“This app allows you, in three minutes of time and effort, to discover how you are related to all these people,” said computer science professor Tom Sederberg. “It is fun and informative, and can stimulate interest in family history work.”

Sederberg has been heading this project at Brigham Young University for fifteen years. The idea came to him while he held a calling to oversee the genealogy program in his ward.

Sederberg computed how everyone was related in his ward by gathering ward members’ genealogy records from the Church History Library and saving them on floppy discs.

“On average, everyone tied into about two-thirds of the ward (members), and there were lots of examples of second and third cousins,” Sederberg told KSL.com. “These are people who lived next to each other for 10 to 15 years and they had no idea they were related.”

In hopes of sparking interest in family history, Sederberg developed the app to show connections with a variety of people.

“We can show how you’re related to a couple of thousand people like European royalty, U.S. presidents and LDS general authorities, living and dead, and several other people who we have genealogical information on,” Sederberg told KSL.com.

In order to access the app, users must have an account with FamilySearch. LDS members can sign in with their membership number, and non-LDS must have previous genealogy completed on the website.

Bridget is a newsroom writer at LDS.net. She graduated in April 2015 from Brigham Young University in communications with an emphasis of public relations. She served a Spanish speaking LDS mission in McAllen, Texas. She is a skilled pianist and an expert baker of chocolate chip cookies.