How Does GenDetective Work?

GenDetective rearranges your family into viewpoints that differ from other genealogy products on the market, with the belief that if we scrutinize our family differently new research opportunities and paths may open.  The goal is to help you break through genealogy brick walls, inspire new thoughts, identify research opportunities (read more here).

Study your tree

GenDetective begins by using a GEDCOM file created by your family tree manager.  Who, what?  The software you use to add people and information to your family tree, products like: RootsMagic, Legacy, Family Tree Maker, MyHeritage,, and others, can export your tree into a file that can be shared with other genealogists and software programs.  This enables you to “tell” GenDetective everything you know about your family.  Since GenDetective is installed on your computer, your research never leaves your hands; it is not shared with anyone but you!  For additional information on GEDCOM files view our video: So What Is A GEDCOM file?  Don’t know how to create the file?  GenDetective includes videos showing you step by step what to do.

I have my GEDCOM file (.ged), what now? Launch GenDetective, and using the wizard, point to the file you just created and let GenDetective go to work.

Wizard scans your tree

Time estimate

The wizard will read your file and tell you how many people, families, events and other information it found.  It will also provide an estimate as to how much time it estimates it may take to “digest” the information.

GenDetective takes your family and:

  • Arranges it based on geography, the places where our family lived, married and died
  • Identifies research opportunities for each person, using lifespan and geography
    • Estimates birth and death if not provided
    • Missing vital statistics, death statistics, immigration ..
    • Census records found and missing (federal, state and local)
    • Potential military service

GenDetective Serves Your Data In New Ways!

The GenDetective Wizard has finished, what happens next?  Explore GenDetective and the information it has compiled about your family and explore, look at your family on a map, look at the suggested research opportunities, study your family in the context of geography.  GenDetective has the following views:

  1. My Research Progress
  2. My Tree View
  3. My Family View
  4. My Maps View
  5. Reports By Task

In the next few blog posts we will discuss each one of these views into your family and how to use them to identify research opportunities, and break through your brick walls.  That’s our goal right?  Smash through, tunnel under or leap over our brick walls and proceed with our exciting new research.


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