Help:Family Tree Explorer tutorial

Below are four lessons that teach the basics about using WeRelate's Family Tree Explorer. For this lesson you will need a prepared GEDCOM file, previously created WeRelate person or family pages, and/or names and event information for a few of your ancestors. See Help: GEDCOM to learn how to prepare a GEDCOM file for upload. Each lesson builds on the one before, so you may need to finish this tutorial in one sitting.

-You may want to open a new browser window or tab, allowing you to both complete and consult this tutorial at the same time. Alternatively, you could print this tutorial page for your convenience as you work through the lessons.


Lesson One: Beginning your family tree

Objective: This lesson will teach you how to use the Family Tree Explorer to create and begin your family tree. There are three ways to add pages to your family tree: GEDCOM upload, manual page creation, and adding an existing page.

(If you have already created a tree(s), the Family Tree Explorer will automatically go to the last tree you worked on. You will need to Close Tree and open a New Tree to do this section of the tutorial. You may create as many family trees as you like. If you already have a tree and want to skip the first lesson, skip to Lesson 2.)

First, please make sure you are logged in. Click on the MyRelate menu item and select Launch FTE from the drop down. The Family Tree Explorer will be displayed on your left and the wiki pages (person, family, place, source, image, etc.) will appear on your right.

  • To start your tree with a GEDCOM upload please see Help:Gedcom
  • To start your tree by creating new ancestor pages and not upload a GEDCOM:
  1. Select No when the Family Tree asks you if you would like to upload a GEDCOM.
    1. Select the menu item File.
    2. Select the New Tree... drop-down item.
    3. Give your tree a name. It could be anything that you choose. By default, your first tree is named default.
    4. In the screen on the right, choose Family from the Add menu at the top of the screen.
  2. The Family Tree Explorer window will automatically display the combined Pedigree and Descendants or hourglass view. Ovals are family pages where you can record marriage information and children. Rectangles are person pages where you can record middle and other names, vital information, census data and any other historical information about each individual. To add information...
    • about a person, click on the box with their name on it.
    • about a family, such as children, click on the oval with the family's name inside.
  3. Once you are on the page, click on edit.
  4. A fill-in-the-blanks form will then be displayed in on your right window.
  5. Enter the information you wish to add to that person
  6. Save the page.
  7. Repeat for each person and family in your tree. To add additional persons and families see Lesson 2.

  • To start your tree with an ancestor page you have already created or have found on WeRelate:
  1. Bring up the Family Tree Explorer as before.
  2. Select the File menu item in the left FTE menu and click on new.
  3. Select No when the system asks if you would like to upload a Gedcom.
  4. Select Cancel in the the Start your tree menu.
  5. Click on the Search menu item and select to search inside WeRelate.
  6. First choose either Person or Family namespace.
  7. Enter the appropriate names in the given and surname fields. Click on search and click the desired page title.
  8. Click on the Tree item from the menu on the Left. You may alternatively click on the green plus menu item in the upper menu of the left FTE window. This page is now in your tree.

Lesson Two: Adding to your family tree

Objective: This lesson will teach you how to use the Family Tree Explorer to expand your family tree. --This tutorial assumes that you are familiar with the use of WeRelate:Definitions#Namespace and Family Index

  1. Before we begin, please take a look at the split screen. On your left is the FTE window and on your right is the page view window. WeRelate runs in the page view window. The FTE window is divided into...
    • a summary window on the top
    • and a pedigree window on the bottom.
  2. Notice the various bars. There is the...
    • Menu bar at the top of the FTE window. The menu bar controls general functions that effect both windows. From the menu bar you can...
      • add a new person/family pages
      • access/search WeRelate's wiki the other namespaces
      • upload GEDCOMs
      • use bookmarks for navigation
      • delete trees
    • two-button bar above the summary window. This lets you...
      • make a particular ancestor the root of your tree (Green target sign with branches and roots)
      • Add the page you are viewing to your tree (the green plus)
    • four-tab bar above the pedigree window. This manipulates the viewing style of the pedigree window below. See FTE Menu and buttons for more detail.

Adding previously created WeRelate pages to your family tree:

  1. Make sure that the person or family you are adding is linked to another page in your tree. A person can be linked to a family page in your tree by...
    • entering his/her name in one of the Children fields on the family page
      • Note: you can add multiple children this way just by clicking on one of the two links under the children heading
    • entering his/her name in the Spouse field on the family page
    • entering the title of the family page into the Spouse of family field on the person page.
    • entering the title of the family page into the child of family field on the person page.
  2. Although any page may be added to your tree, they will not be connected generationally unless they are linked together by family links. For example, "John Test (5)" is the son of the "Harry Test and Marge Demo (2) family." You must either...
    • add "John Test" as a child on the "Family:Harry Test and Marge Demo (2)" page
    • "Harry Test and Marge Demo (2)" must be entered in the Child of family field on John's person page.
      • Note:You only need to add this relationship once. The system will update all connected pages.
  3. If the two people are linked on WeRelate, then you're in luck. You can navigate to the desired page and connect it to your tree using the FTE (Family Tree Explorer). In the Pedigree and Descendants view, all pages linked to the primary person on your tree will be shown. They will appear above (ancestors) or below (descendants) his or her name.
  4. If the page is linked to your primary person but has not yet been added to your tree, it will be in a gray box. To fix this, simply...
    • click on the gray box
    • wait for the page to load
    • wait for the correct name to appear in the top of the FTE (Family Tree Explorer)
    • click on the Tree+ link at the top of the WeRelate window to add it to your tree. OR you can click on the green plus button in the FTE window. This button is located directly below the FTE menu bar.
  5. When pages have been added to your tree, the...
    • Family pages are shown as green ovals
    • male person pages are shown as blue rectangles
    • female person pages are shown as pink rectangles
  6. If you are in either the Pedigree or Descendants views, click on the arrow pointing toward the name on your tree.
  7. The arrow will shift downward and a link to a family page will appear. A red question mark indicates that a page has not yet been connected to your tree.
  8. Click on the link. The family page will open in the WeRelate window. The family name will appear at the top of the Family Tree Explorer.
  9. Click on the Tree+ link in the WeRelate window to connect the page to your tree. OR you can click on the Green Plus button in the FTE window.
  10. Once the family page has been connected, an arrow should appear to the left of the family name.
  11. Click on this arrow, and the names of the next generation will appear below.
    • Note: clicking on one of those names will...
      • open his or her person page
      • bring his or her name into the top of the Family Tree Explorer
      • allow you to connect her/him to your tree, using the Tree+ link OR the Green Plus button.
    • Note: you can continue this process for as many generations as you want. This will only work, however, as long as the person pages are created and linked via family pages.

-Alternatively, you may navigate to any person or family page in the WeRelate window and click on the Tree+ link to add it to your tree.

Adding new WeRelate pages from scratch:

  1. Follow the directions listed in Lesson One for adding pages from scratch.
  2. A few things to remember:
  • To link generations together, family pages must also be created, using the Child of family and Spouse of family editing options for person pages.
  • When linking generations through family pages, make sure to use the correct Person index numbers and Family index numbers, or multiple pages for the same person may be created and generations will probably not be linked together properly.
  • If you need to add a person page from scratch:
-Only add a person page if you are sure that it has not already been created, or there will exist multiple pages for the same person. You may want to search for the person using the WeRelate Search menu.
  • Click on Add on the Family Tree Explorer menu. Select New Person.
  • Enter the given name and surname of the person you wish to add.
  • Click "Add". A page will open in the WeRelate window, inviting you to enter more information about that person.
  • Enter any information you have about the person.
  • Click "Save Page" at the bottom of the page. While Family Tree Explorer is running, any page created will be automatically added to the open tree.

Lesson Three: Navigating your family tree

Now that you have added new members to your family it is time to learn how to get around. You can still do everything in the right window that you could do without the FTE open. Plus you can use the FTE to go from one person or family to another easily and without losing your place.

Objective: This lesson will teach you how to use the Family Tree Explorer window to navigate between persons and families in your tree.

  1. Notice the four-tab bar above the blue-shaded, tree viewing window. These tabs allow you to switch between the different FTE views.
  2. Hover your mouse over the tabs. As your mouse is over a viewing tab, its name will appear. These various tabs are going to be discussed separately in the following sections. We will now start with the

Combined Pedigree and Descendants view (graphical format)

  • Note:This view is the default view. If that view is not already selected...
    • to use this view, click on the button farthest to the left. This should appear as a bolded tree of branches and roots.
  1. In this tree viewing window, you should see a series of blue and pink boxes (people) and green ellipses (families) located on your left. These boxes/ellipses should correspond to the person and family pages you have created.
  2. One of the boxes/ellipses should have a black border around the edges.
    • Note: This is the subject of your Family Tree.
      • The subject is the person/family you are currently working on. It is displayed in the right window and at the top.
    • As you navigate your tree, the subject of the tree will change to reflect whoever you currently have selected.
    • If your tree has so many boxes the text cannot be read, reduce the number of generations of ancestors (left slide-bar) or descendants (right slide-bar) and/or the font.
  1. The page that opens when you start FTE is the page that was open when you ended your last FTE session. This helps you pause and restart your research without missing a beat.
  2. You will also notice that the name of the open page appears in the white box at the top of the FTE. The buttons above the box, in the page management bar, provide shortcuts for some simple FTE page-specific functions. For example, you will see a button with a green bullseye on it. This button makes an open page the root of your tree. The "root" is the person or family page selected as the basis for organizing the other pages. One of the pages on your tree should take up the entire width of the FTE window and appear to be the central organizing point in your tree. That is probably the "root". Choose another page in your tree and click on its box to open the page.
  3. Instead of viewing your tree in the standard up and down format, you may wish to see your tree with the descendants on the right and the ancestors on the left, or visa versa. There are three circular buttons in the center of the pedigree window.
    • Click on the right circle to rotate the tree to the right.
    • Click on the left circle to rotate the tree to the left.
    • Click on the middle circle to return the tree to the up and down view.
  4. At times you may need to enlarge or reduce the font. Use the up and down arrows in the upper right hand corner of the pedigree window to change the font.
  5. You can work on more than one line on the same FTE tree. Add the pages of a new line to your existing tree. Bookmark the root person by navigating to that person's page. Click on the Bookmark menu item in the FTE window. Select Bookmark this page. Bookmark a person in your other line.
  6. Click on Bookmarks again and you will see the page listed at the bottom of the options list. If you bookmarked a page on each of your family lines, you could easily switch between them by selecting the appropriate page from this list. Select Remove bookmark to remove this page from your list of bookmarks. Feel free to bookmark any pages that you would like to make easily accessible before moving on to the next section.

Pedigree view and Descendants view (outline format)

  1. Click on the second view tab from the left (the one with the upward section of the pedigree highlighted) to access the Pedigree view. This view presents your tree beginning with your root person/family, expanding in the ancestral direction through linked person and family pages. You should see the root person/family at the top of the tree-viewing window, with a gray arrow pointing right, toward the person or family's name.
  2. Click on that arrow pointing to the name. The arrow should shift so that it's pointing downward and the next ancestral generation should appear, with a right-pointing arrow next to the person or family's name.
    • If your root page is a person page, then the person's parental family page will be the next to appear. If the root is a family page, then the person pages for the parents will be the next in line.
  3. Click on the right-pointing arrow(s) to further expand the pedigree. Do this until you have a few generations of person and family pages visible.
    • If there is not an arrow next to a person or family name, you have not linked that page to further ancestral generations on WeRelate. You can do this by entering in family information on person pages and person information on family pages, and by creating the necessary ancestral person and family pages.
    • If there is a red question mark next to a person or family name, that means you have entered the person or family name on their descendants' person or family pages, but have not yet created a page with that title. Click on the page name and then on the Edit link at the top of the WeRelate window to create the page. Any page you create while FTE is open will be automatically added to the open tree.
  4. Now, click on the third view tab from the left (the one with the downward section of the pedigree highlighted) to access the Descendants view. This view functions in an identical matter to the Pedigree view, with the exception that it expands through generations of descendants of the root person or family.
    • If you have not entered any information about any children of your root person or family, you will not be able to expand the tree in that direction. If you do not want to, or cannot, enter information for further generations of descendants, but you still wish to explore this view, return to one of the earlier views, and make a different person (with descendants listed) the root of your tree. Then, switching back to the Descendants view, you will be able to expand the tree in the same manner as the Pedigree view.

For more information about menu and viewing options, click here.

Navigating with the index view (spreadsheet format)

  1. Now click on the button with the six horizontal lines, it is the button on farthest right of the lower button bar in the FTE window. You will see an index list of all the pages in your tree. You can add any namespace to your tree. Thus you can attach images, sources, places, articles, etc. to your tree. Thus when your cousin is looking at the tree he can see supporting information.
  2. Click on the down arrow in the all pages field. Select the namespace for the pages you wish to see. Let's choose People. This is a list of all the people in your tree.
  3. Now let's filter the People index for a particular surname. Type a surname from your tree.
  4. Place the cursor over the dividing line separating title from Surname and drag the line to the right far enough to let you see the whole title of each page.
  5. Click on a few pages in the index list to go to selected pages.

Lesson Four: Collaborating with the FTE

Now that you know how to use the FTE, you are ready to collaborate. Collaborating at WeRelate is simple. You can either leave a message on someones talk page, send a WeRelate email, share your tree or view someone else's. To send emails and exchange messages please see Connecting_with_others

Objective: This lesson will teach you how to share your trees and information and view that of others.

Sharing a page or your entire tree

To share a page with someone
  1. Go to the page you wish to share.
  2. Click on the Share menu item in the upper right of the page view window.
  3. Enter the email address or WeRelate User Name in the To field.
  4. Click on send at the bottom of the page.
To share your tree with someone else
  1. Click on the Family Tree menu item.
  2. At the bottom of the screen is a list of your trees. Click on the share button for the tree you with to share.
  3. Enter the email address or WeRelate User Name in the To field. And :#Click on send at the bottom of the page.

Accessing someone else's tree

--Sometimes you might like to look at someone's tree and compare notes.

  1. Go to some else's user page.
  2. At the left is a list their trees. Click on the launch FTE link next the tree you wish to open. For this demonstration, go to Dallan's page and click on the launch FTE link next to Quass.
  3. The FTE will boot up on the left side of the screen with the index for the tree.
  4. Page through the index and select a person to make the root or make primary for your view of the tree.
  5. Click on the Bullseye or make primary button at the far left of the upper button bar. Then click on the tree view you desire.
  • Adopt someone else's tree
  • After you have opened a tree, select on File in the upper left corner of the FTE window and click on copy tree.
"Type a name for the tree in the My Tree Name field and click copy. Now you and your cousins are really working on the same pages in the same tree!

Where do I go from here?