Family Tree Fun: BYU Has 5 Apps That Use Your FamilySearch Data

The BYU Family History Technology Lab (FHTL) works with students to “research and develop novel and useful family history programs.” So far they have 5 different Family History apps published. They all utilize tree data, so if you have a login you can get going quickly. These apps make exploring your family tree fun!

5 BYU Family History Apps

Here is a quick run-down of each of the 5 apps:

Relative Finder

Relative Finder allows you to see how you are related to friends, coworkers, prophets, historical figures, and more!

Elvis Presley Relation

I’m related to the King!

This is one of the technologies that was used at RootsTech 2015 in the FamilySearch Discovery Center. It is one way to have fun with your family history. Once you login you can see how you are related to famous historical figures including (among others): US Presidents and wives, Reformers, Mayflower passengers, Signers of the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution, and current and historical leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For example, I learned that Benjamin Franklin is my 2nd Cousin 13 times removed! More importantly, I am related to Elvis Presley (he is my 5th cousin twice removed). The site lets you view a chart which shows the relationship (click on the image to the right). From the chart you can save it as a PDF, although when I tried it that feature wasn’t working.

It also allows you to create your own groups and share the group name, so you can see if you are related to each other. I have done it with my LDS Ward, and extended family to see how I am related to in-laws.

Virtual Pedigree

Virtual Pedigree allows you to navigate your genealogy with a new and revolutionary fluid interface. Simply click (or touch!) and drag, and begin exploring! It gives you hints and help as you explore your tree.

Many online family trees struggle when it comes to smoothly nagivating your family tree. After all, a screen can only show so much information at once. I love the fluid interface and how fast it loads your tree! Try it out for more family tree fun!

One Page Genealogy

One Page Genealogy is the place for you to view, customize, and download your family tree all on one page! View up to 20 generations of ascendancy or descendancy. Change colors and tree styles. Download and print to show your family and friends!

Admittedly, I have only begin exploring the features here, but it is an interesting way to create custom pedigree charts for free. Explore it for yourself and share what features you like best about the One Page Genealogy app.

Grandma’s Pie

Grandma’s Pie shows you where your ancestry is from, in interactive pie form!

Grandma's PieAt first glance, Grandma’s Pie is simply an interesting way to visualize your ancestry. With a different color for each country it is a cool visualization of your family pie. That in itself is good enough to make your family tree fun. However, this visualization is also a quick way to spot data errors in your FamilySearch Tree.

For example, a quick glance at mine easily reveals some errors. First, by looking at the Legend I see that red is “NY?” So obviously I don’t have a standardized place for their birth location. Next I hover over each of the red spots to see the name. Then I can go to FamilySearch and correct this data. Another example would be the dark green areas which are “Unknown.” After I look at those I can move on the black areas. So this visualization can be a useful data validation tool as well as being fun!


A game that tests your knowledge of your family tree. If you think you know your family tree, try out our newest game and prove your knowledge to your friends and families.

This web app generates questions about your family tree automatically. It has 5 categories: Dates, Places, People, Facts, Other. We played this as a family and had a great time. There is also a mobile version for Android. The Android version also allows you to create custom questions!

Explore these apps for family tree fun. Then comment below and share your favorite!

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    • Reply

      Glad you liked them. I love that BYU is producing some fun apps that interact with your FamilySearch data. We played Geneopardy on Thanksgiving while we waited for our stomachs to settle enough to indulge in pie! We had a great time.

  1. Elaina Bollar


    Thank you so much for these posts! I have recently been called as the Stake Family History Center Director and these wonderful ideas will come in very handy. Thanks again!

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