1. Join a collaborative family tree website
Geni is free to join, but you can upgrade to a premium membership for an annual fee. WikiTree is free.
Here’s how these sites work: You put in the names of your relatives, and the Geni or WikiTree algorithms will search to see if the names of your relatives match the names of people on other trees. If the names do match, and you confirm it is the same person, you can merge your family tree with another.
If you merge a few times, you will likely be on the World Family Tree, connected to millions of people, including and me.
Both sites have wonderful and engaged volunteers who will help you if you need it. Both also have tools that make it super-easy to see how you’re related to me. Here’s WikiTree’s 100 Degrees of A.J. Wikitree.com/wiki/Special:Connection
And here’s the “A.J. Jacobs Cousin Connector” on Geni:
You can also join the Global Family Reunion projects on WikiTree and Geni.
Once you’ve made a connection to A.J. or the World Family Tree, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know the good news.
2. Join a genetic testing site
There are several genetic testing services that will figure out your ancestral roots from your DNA. They send you a spit-test you can take at home and mail back to the company. A few weeks later, they’ll send you information about where your family came from – along with a list of hundreds or even thousands of your genetic cousins.
I’ve been using two primarily: 23andMe.com and FamilyTreeDNA. Once you get the results, compare with my profile on 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA. Email email@example.com to let us know if you are linked, or if we should keep looking.
3. Get professional research
If you don’t yet have enough information to connect to he Global Family Tree, a professional genealogist can help. The team at Genealogists.com has partnered with the GFR to offer free, pro-Bono help to those who need it. They will do some initial research to help you find your link to the Mega-Tree. If you like their initial pro-Bono research, their team members can be hired for more in-depth research. Genealogists.com has one of the largest networks of researches in the world.
MORE YOU CAN DO:
We’re looking for volunteers to help with genealogy, social media, organizing and outreach. Please let us know if you’re interested in helping us to connect the entire world. firstname.lastname@example.org