Sunday, August 24, 2014

How to use Puzzilla to find your lost cousins

The Puzzilla Descendants Viewer ( lets researchers see descendants in the FamilyTree database using compact symbols that reveal patterns in collateral-line research.

Ancestry chart for John Fisher in Puzzilla

  • Open and log on with your FamilySearch signin. This will access your FamilyTree. (If you have never signed in to, you will need to register and connect to your ancestors in the database.)
  • Move the pointer across the symbols to browse the names and details that appear in the popup box.
  • Click on a symbol to freeze the popup box on the selected person and allow clicking inside the box.
  • Click on the View Descendants button to view descendants of the selected person. Click on other buttons to see other views of the selected person.
  • New in release 4 Beta: On the control panel, click on Hints, Attached Sources, My Changes, and Possible Duplicates and the other properties to mark records that have those properties. Be patient; retrieving this information from FamilyTree takes time. To see some results sooner, select a person on a branch of the tree and then click the property button. The properties will be retrieved sooner for only that person and their subtree.
    You can also make the marked records easier to see by hiding the marks for Died Before 16 and Born within 110. This is done by clicking the corresponding button in the control panel.
  • The path at the bottom lists the chain of relationships between the selected person and the person at the root of the tree. Copy the relationship path to paste into your research notes so you can remember the relationship to the selected person. You will want to record the path from both the ancestor and descendant charts.
  • Clicking on the 'X' close button in the upper right corner un-freezes the box and returns to browsing mode.


Puzzilla descendancy chart for David Kirkpatrick, b. 1827. John Fisher is the first blue square on the far right. 

You will have to register and signin to before you can use Puzzilla.