Tip: Know Your Relationships


As you’re exploring around your family tree, do you ever think, “Who is ‘Lysander Liske’ and how is he related to me?” Followed by, “Hmm. You don’t see many babies named ‘Lysander’ anymore.”  While RootsMagic doesn’t have the power to name babies, it does have the ability to always show you your relationship to the selected person on the main screen.

To display the relationships as you navigate around the main views, do Tools > Set Relationships from the main menu.  RootsMagic will bring up the following form where you can simply click the Set relationships button, or you can click the Change… button to select a different person to set the relationships for first.


RootsMagic will scan through your database and set each person’s relationship to the person you selected on the form.  Then as you navigate around the various views, RootsMagic will display that relationship in the status bar at the bottom of the screen.


In this example, the relationship between the highlighted person (William Thomas Lloyd) and the selected person (Dr. James Smith) is first cousin twice removed.  As you move from person to person in your file, the status line at the bottom of the screen will be updated to show the relationship between the highlighted person and the originally selected person.

You can easily select anyone in the database and set the relationships relative to that person, so it’s easy to display everyone’s relationship to you, and then change it to show the relationships to an ancestor you are researching.  One important point to this though is that when you set the relationships, it sets them for the people currently in the file.  If you add additional people to your file after setting relationships you will need to redo the Set Relationship command to include those new individuals.

And with that tip, “Congratulations”, meet your “second-cousin 3 times removed”, “Lysander Liske”!



7 thoughts to “Tip: Know Your Relationships”

  1. I have always used the relationship tool. Most often as the permanent relationship to myself. However, I received the most enjoyment from this tool when I gave a relative, sister, cousin, grandchild, etc. a copy of my tree by changing the Relationship to that specific individual for their tree. It is much easier for all ages to understand when the relationship shown is to themselves.

  2. Totally cool tip, because I use the relationship calculator all the time to find out who’s related to me. This saves me several clicks.

  3. A great feature. Also, if you want to see whether there is more than one relationship between you and a particular person in question, use Tools > Calculate Relationship from the Main Menu. Since there sometimes will be more than one of our own lines crossing another, we can be related to a person in several ways, especially when there are more than one set of common ancestors–but even if there *is* only one set. I guess RootsMagic shows us the closest relationship. That’s how I interpret the results.

  4. I think I’m really going to like the relationship tool as my Dad’s sister married my mother’s nephew. And they are my godparents. Its confusing to explain to the younger generations so I hope this will help.

  5. Thank you for pointing out this great tool. I haven’t used it, but have just gotten my DNA done, and this will help me understand the relationships with my DNA “matches”.

  6. Simply a great idea, I have some 6000 relatives to watch over, now I know who I am compared with them.

  7. What a great idea! I hadn’t realized the program did this, so thank you for spelling it out in your blog.

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