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Have you ever received a message from someone asking how you might be related to their parent or grandfather? Such a message was in my Ancestry inbox recently. The writer wished to know my relationship to Alvin Lambert.

Since Lambert isn’t one of my common surnames, I needed to search my RootsMagic database to first see if I had such a person in my file and then figure out our relationship. To start this process, I typed in the Lambert surname in the search box for the RM index.

Having located Alvin Lambert in my database, I just have to highlight him on the people screen and it will tell me how we are related. I simply have to look below his name and dates in the individual area of the screen.

The relationship shown on this screen is to the person identified as the ‘Root’ person in the settings.

Sometimes, I might wish to calculate the relationship with someone other than the root person. To do that, I have to use the Relationship Calculator tool. This tool is accessed via the Command Palette. The icon for the command palette looks like a paint palette and is in the upper right corner of RootsMagic 8.

Clicking on the icon opens a list of tasks. Scrolling to the Rs, I located the Relationship Calculator tool. and clicked to open it.

The tool opens with the name of the highlighted person in the Select Person 1 slot. (Note: This can be changed by clicking on the ‘Select Person 1’ button and then selecting the desired person from the list of people.)

To answer the question as to how two people are related I need to select person 2. Thus, I click on the ‘Select Person 2’ button and type in my last name and then first name of the person I want to use as person 2.

Once I have both people selected, I just click on the ‘Calculate’ button in the bottom right corner of the window.

The program then figures out the relationship between person 1 and person 2.

Sometimes, I might wish to generate a report showing the HOW of a relationship. For this task, RootsMagic 8 has a built-in report called ‘Relationship Chart’. To get to this report, I go to Publish and then click on All Reports and Charts.

With the list of all of the available reports open, I scroll to the Rs to locate RELATIONSHIP CHART.

When the report opens, the currently highlighted person on the people screen will be listed as ‘Person 1’. If that is who I want in that position, I simply select person 2 and modify any of the other settings.

When the ‘Generate Report’ button is clicked, a report is displayed showing the lines from both individuals back to a common ancestor.

For those with trees on Ancestry, it is possible to determine the relationship between the home person in the tree and another individual in the tree.


Since I’m already configured as the home person in my tree, I simply had to locate Alvin Lambert in my tree and open his profile page.

When I click on the relationship, a ‘report’ opens showing the ancestry of the person back to a common ancestor and then down to me.

No matter which way I create this report, the accuracy of this report is dependent on the accuracy of my tree.