Are You Related to Someone Famous?
Last week, the genealogy giant, Ancestry.com, released a new mobile app called “We’re Related.” The We’re Related mobile app is categorized as “Entertainment,” and is more of a novelty than a serious research tool.
The We’re Related mobile app product description reads:
Find fame and friendships in your family.
We’re Related is a free app that helps you discover if you are related to famous people and your circle of friends.
- See who you might be related to based on information from your Ancestry account.
- Discover how you are connected to unexpected relatives who share common ancestors.
- Easily share relationship discoveries on Facebook, Snapchat or WhatsApp, and more.
- Get notified when you have new connections to celebrities or friends.
- Find out which relatives are nearby.
- Organize relatives by type or favorites.
How it Works
The app uses data you have stored in your online Ancestry tree to tell you how you are related to certain famous people. It also has the ability to search nearby users of the app to see if you are related to them. I haven’t tried the “Nearby Users” feature yet, but this is probably the feature I would use the most.
The app allows you to invite friends by using your Facebook account. Some of my readers may remember that back in 2008 Ancestry.com launched a Facebook app of the same name. It gained over a million users in just a few days. This may be a rebirth of this old idea.
The We’re Related mobile app took just a few seconds to tell me I was related to Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Britney Spears. Oh well, you can’t pick your relatives! Then, after several days of having the app installed, it added a total of 8 “insights.” “Insights” show how I am related to famous people. The We’re Releated mobile app shows upwards of 25 categories under the Categories view. However, my famous relations all fit under just 4 categories:
- Actors & Actresses
- Business Magnates (I was happier to learn I was an 8th cousin twice removed from Bill Gates),
- Musicians and Composers
- US Presidents & US First Ladies
I am not sure if the app hasn’t made any other connections or if Ancestry is simply rolling out the database slowly. I suspect the latter is the case. In addition to the various “famous” categories, the Categories view lets you filter by Favorites and Facebook friends.
Each “Insight” shows a picture of the person you are related to, his or her name, your relationship, and a brief bio with a link to Wikipedia for more. Below that the “We’re Related” mobile app gives you 3 choices:
- View the family tree path back to the common ancestry (an essential feature in my opinion),
- “Heart” or “favorite” that person,
- Share this amazing new insight on social media.
The BYU Family History Technology Lab has a web app that is very similar to the “We’re Related” mobile app. It is called RelativeFinder. (Read my brief review about RelativeFinder and the other great apps BYU students are producing.) I think the mobile nature of the We’re Related mobile app is a big advantage over BYU’s RelativeFinder. Plus, the user interface is much more colorful and enticing. However, I find that the features of the web-based RelativeFinder app gives you more control over filtering the kinds of famous and historical figures you are interested about.
In the end, I suppose that anything that gets people asking more questions about their family history is probably a good thing. However, I don’t see myself using this app much. In fact, it will probably be on the top of the list to delete when I am in need of more space on my smart phone.
Have you tried the app? What is your opinion? Comment below.