RootsWeb:Viewing a WorldConnect Family Tree

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This article originally appeared in The Official Guide to by Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG and Tana Pedersen Lord.


The “homepage” of any family tree database in WorldConnect gives you basic information about the file: the submitter’s name and e-mail address, the number of records in the family tree, and the date it was last updated. This information can be found at the top of every page in the tree. In addition, you may find links to the submitter’s personal websites or comments they have left pertaining to their files.

You can access an individual’s record in the tree by entering a surname or full name in the search box or click the link for a letter in the alphabet to browse for individuals in the tree whose surname begins with that letter. Once you have located a person you are interested in, you can click on his or her name to view the individual’s record.

The Individual Record

An individual record displays all the information in a given family tree for one person (e.g., their name, gender, ID number, parents, spouses, and children). Notes and sources will be shown, if available. You may see blue links for parents, spouses, or children; click these links to view the individual records for each of these individuals.

At the top of the individual’s record, you’ll notice a group of links. These links help you navigate to other sections of the family tree, take you to a variety of reports and charts, and may even let you download the tree or add Post-em notes. The options that appear vary for each person in the family tree and not every selection is available in every family tree; the options that appear depend on the information in the actual file and the preferences of the tree’s owner.

The Index

The Index link shows the names of all individuals in a family tree, beginning with the specified individual. If the index contains multiple pages, you can click the “Previous Page” and “Next Page” links at the bottom of the page to navigate through the index. You can also click any of the individual links to go to another person’s individual record or use the search box to find a specific individual.

Descendancy Report

The Descendancy link displays a report that shows you an individual’s descendants including birth and death dates, with a maximum of ten generations.

You can return to the individual’s record by clicking the “Individual” link at the top of any report.

Register Report

The Register link displays a narrative report that shows you an individual’s descendants including names, dates, and places, with a maximum of six generations.

Pedigree Chart

The Pedigree link displays a pedigree chart, the traditional chart used to show an individual and his or her ancestors. WorldConnect offers two formats for pedigree charts. The “table format” is the traditional, graphical chart with branching lines, and it displays a maximum of four generations. The table format appears by default. A compact text-only format is also available and displays a maximum of ten generations. To view the text-only pedigree, click the “Display pedigree in text format” link.


Ahnentafel is a German word meaning “ancestor table.” The Ahnentafel begins with an individual and moves backward to his or her ancestors—it also shows two family lines in the same report. You can view up to six generations of an individual’s ancestors on one page of an Ahnentafel chart. Click the “Ahnentafel link” to access this chart.

Note: If you want to print a chart or report without banner ads or any of superfluous material, click the “Printer Friendly Version” link at the bottom of the page. Click the “Return to normal view” link at the top of the page to return to the report.

Things to Keep in Mind

As you look through the trees on WorldConnect, keep in mind that it is not one huge master database but rather is a collection of individual family trees. Each file remains separate and is not merged into a giant database because each file belongs to the person who submitted it. The files are the work of many thousands of individuals independently researching their family histories.

As a result, you will find some duplication. When doing a search, use as many of the advanced search features as possible to help eliminate same-name individuals who are not actually the individual you wish to locate. If you have done that and still find duplication, it might mean that multiple submitters have the individual you are looking for in their files. That can be good news because it means that any or all of them might have discovered information you do not have.

However, remember that RootsWeb does not have a staff that checks, verifies, or judges the accuracy of the trees found at WorldConnect. This information is provided by individual submitters. Evaluation of the accuracy of the information is left up to you. Information found at WorldConnect, like any genealogical material acquired from Internet sources, books, or via hundreds of other ways, only provides clues and contacts for your further research—not proof of a pedigree or a family history.

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