10 December 2009

Counting the cousins, and other relatives

How many cousins do you have? It's a question I asked myself while looking at sample results from DNA testing company 23andMe. Based on matching segments across all of your DNA they provide an estimated degree of relationship with others of their clients. One was an estimated relationship of 4th cousin, but with a range of 3rd to 10th cousin.

We all have more distant than close cousins, but in a mobile society people move away and lose contact. How many cousins of various degrees do you know, or know about?

I turned to my genealogy database looking for the answer. In both Legacy Family Tree 7.0, and Family Tree Maker 2010, you can easily produce a relationship report showing the names and relationships of all the people in the database to any specified person.

It's then a matter of going through the listing and counting the number of people with a specific relationship.

Legacy makes it even easier, something I found out thanks to a tip from Geoff Rasmussen of Legacy/Millenium corporation. You can export the relationship report to a .csv file, open it in a spreadsheet, then sort on the relationship column.

Thanks to this tip I now know I have in my Legacy database; two first cousins, 23 second cousins, 25 third cousins, 14 fourth cousins, four fifth cousins, no sixth or seventh cousins, and one eighth cousin. That's not including the cousins removed by a generation or more, 7th great aunts and the like which you can also enumerate.

Lots of gaps to fill, so little time!

If you know how this information can be obtained from other software, such as Roots Magic or The Master Genealogist, please share by posting a comment. Is there's any free software which can import a GEDCOM file to provide this information?

In ending, a reminder that Millenium are offering all Legacy Family Tree 7.0 software at $10 off until December 31, 2009. See http://legacynews.typepad.com/legacy_news/2009/12/huge-holiday-savings-from-legacy-family-tree.html


FranE said...

Fascinating using Legacy to calculate the number of cousins and relatives.
DNA testing is that still just for males in direct line?
Thanks for an interesting post.

JDR said...

While most DNA testing for genealogy has focused on the male Y chromosome techniques using the full set of chromosomes are now emerging into the mainstream. Have a look at the 23andMe website. I'll be giving a presentation "DNA Testing for Genealogy: not just for men" at the next OGS Ottawa Branch Gene-o-rama.