RootsTech and Relatives at RootsTech - FAQ

A general RootsTech FAQ can be found here.

What is the difference between registering for RootsTech and joining Relatives at RootsTech?
Relatives at RootsTech is an optional activity that is part of the RootsTech conference. Attendees can sign up for RootsTech and access some of the classes and sessions without choosing to join Relatives at RootsTech. Attendees who join Relatives at RootsTech can see how they are related to other conference attendees and send a text message to relatives, if desired.

What is Relatives at RootsTech?
Relatives at RootsTech is an online experience that shows if (and how) you are related to other RootsTech attendees. To participate:

  1. Register for the RootsTech conference.
  2. Check the box to join Relatives at RootsTech.
  3. Make sure your family is in the FamilySearch Family Tree. For help adding a few individuals to Family Tree click here. To add many individuals from another database: Learn more.
  4. Visit the Relatives at RootsTech page ( or the FamilySearch Family Tree mobile app to see any relatives and how you are related. You can even send a message.

Is my information safe?
Your information will be protected and won’t be sold to a 3rd party. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for additional details.

When you register for RootsTech, we ask for your name and home country. You can optionally provide a state (where applicable) and a profile photo. This information is visible to other RootsTech attendees in order to improve communication and, with your permission, to show family relationships.

You can control what information others can see in your RootsTech Profile.

Can I opt out of Relatives at RootsTech? Can I update my profile?
You can opt out of Relatives at RootsTech, update your profile or add a photo. There are opt out and update links at the bottom of the Relatives at RootsTech main page ( or in the FamilySearch Family Tree mobile app.

What if it says I am not related to any other RootsTech attendees?
We use your family information from FamilySearch Family Tree to identify family relationships. There are a few reasons why you may not be getting many results.

  1. Need to join Relatives at RootsTech: If you haven’t yet joined Relatives at RootsTech, we won’t be able to show you your relatives.
  2. No tree: If you haven’t added your family into the tree yet, we won’t be able to find any relatives. For help adding a few individuals to Family Tree click here. To add many individuals from another database: Learn more.
  3. Need more information: It’s possible that you need to add more generations. See if you can take one of your family lines (the ancestors of one of your parents) back a few more generations. For help adding a few individuals to Family Tree click here. To add many individuals from another database: Learn more.
  4. Not enough trees: There may not be enough family trees submitted yet from your particular part of the world.

What do these other numbers on the page mean?
In addition to showing you how many relatives we have found for you, we show you some other personalized facts based on the information you provide:

  1. Total Number of Relatives Found: This number is found at the top of the page and shows the total number of relatives that have joined Relatives at RootsTech.
  2. Top 300 Closest Relatives: At the top of the page, when clicking View Relatives, you can see your top 300 existing blood relatives. This is the main feature of Relatives at RootsTech. In the top 300 list, you can view your relationship with your relatives, send messages, and add them to your Friend List.
  3. Same Surname: The feature also shows how many “cousins” have signed up for the conference. This represents the number of RootsTech attendees who share your same surname. Not all will be literal cousins, though they share the same name. You can search for other last names by clicking the Check Another Last Name button.
  4. Total Number of Participants: Near the bottom of the page, this number shows the total number of attendees participating in Relatives at RootsTech worldwide.

What if the information shown is wrong?
We use the relationship information found in FamilySearch Tree to calculate relationships. If the information is incorrect there, you will see inaccuracies in Relatives at RootsTech. You can go to to update inaccurate family tree information.

I fixed my tree information. How long before I start seeing relationships?
It can take up to an hour to re-calculate relationships after a user updates person or relationship information in FamilySearch Tree.

How can I message relatives or friends?
There are TWO ways to message other FamilySearch users:

  • Anytime: Using FamilySearch Messaging.  On both the mobile and web version of Relatives at RootsTech there is an option to Send a Message to other users via FamilySearch messages. These messages will remain in your account after the conference. If you send the message in the Family Tree mobile app the other user will get a notification in their inbox that a message has been sent. 
  • During RootsTech Connect: Using the direct chat on RootsTech site. At the top of the RootsTech Connect screen select the chat icon. Chat is a great way to correspond with other RootsTech attendees during the conference. This messaging system will go away after the conference ends.

What does  “Close Relative” mean?
A close relative in your relative list represents someone in your immediate or closely related extended family, such as a

  • parent
  • sibling
  • child
  • spouse
  • aunt
  • uncle
  • cousin
  • niece
  • nephew

These are often living individuals, and the relationship is more familiar. For privacy reasons we don’t show as much information for these relatives as we do for the deceased.

Why did the number of my relatives decrease?
Scanning all of those trees and calculating all of those relationships requires a lot of processing. If we have so many participants that the system performance slows, we will reduce the number of generations scanned. This may lower the number of relatives we show. Rest assured that your data is still preserved in Family Tree. We are simply calculating fewer relationships because we are scanning fewer generations of Family Tree.

How do I connect with other users with the same last name to see if I am related or to contact them?
When the conference event actually starts, there will be a feature to search for other users that have joined Relatives at RootsTech and see how you are related to them. Add them to your Contacts List, and message with them.

Can a mobile user get the banner back if he or she dismissed it once?
Yes, if a user chooses to not show the banner at the top, he or she can get it back by reinstalling the app.

Why does it show DECEASED in the relative graph?
To protect privacy, deceased persons that are 1 generation above a living person will show “Deceased.”

Why does it not show portraits for users under 18?
To protect privacy of youth, for any user under 18, it does not display the portrait.

Does the Relatives at RootsTech Map show exact locations?
For privacy reasons the Relatives at RootsTech experience has been simplified to show only generally where your relatives are located. On the map, for example, location pins have been placed in the middle of each country, state, or province, respectively.

Why can't I print the relationships? 
Relatives at RootsTech is intended to promote social connection as you discover relationships with living relatives. It is an in-conference experience, not a research tool. To protect the privacy of others we don’t support printing family relationships.

Why can’t I see more than 300 relatives?
Because of the international reach of the RootsTech Connect conference, and the number of attendees, we are limited in how many family relationships we can show for each attendee. You can increase the scope of your results by changing the location in Relatives by Location to see the closest 300 for each location or use the Search to see 300 results based on your query. You can also view your Relatives by Ancestor, which will show up to 300 results for each.

What is the benefit of marking someone as a contact?
Designating someone as a contact has a couple of distinct benefits. First, it’s a great way to “save” people you want to keep track of. For example, you can use the Search feature to find friends you think may have registered for RootsTech. You can then save any you find to your friend list to easily keep track of your results and even start a conversation. Second, once the conference is over, the Relatives by Location list and Search will go away. The Friend List will remain available for a few weeks after RootsTech is over.

Why do my parents have more relatives than I do?
We compare 10 generations of your family tree to 10 generations of the family tree of each attendee who opts into this experience. Your parents may have more relatives at RootsTech because 10 generations of their ancestry contain 1 more generation of ancestors than yours. The number of relatives expands exponentially with each generation we go back.

Where can I change the photo used for myself for Relatives at RootsTech?
The photo used for Relatives at RootsTech is set here:

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