Theory of Family Relativity (TOFR) at  MyHeritage  

By Kitty Munson Cooper
Blogging at

slides at

The Theory of Family Relativity (TOFR) can use your DNA matches and the many user trees on MyHeritage 

to find new branches of your family

Through DNA I have connected with many 3rd and 4th cousins who share this interest

I even traveled to Norway with one 4th cousin and we stayed in the guest apartment of another 4th cousin near Drammen

Best to have a tree back to your g-g-grandparents

(all 16) or at least your greats,

n..b. sharing DNA gets less likely beyond 3rd cousins

When you have a good tree then the Theory of Family Relativity can often figure out your relationships

In order to use the Theory of Family Relativity you need a DNA test and a tree at MyHeritage

The DNA test can be a transferred test or you can test at MyHeritage

The tree needs to go to at least your grandparents and preferably further back

Comparison of two kits, one transferred and one tested at MyHeritage kit for the same person

Here is a 3rd cousin once removed compared to both those tests

To see your theories go to your DNA matches page 

Click on Filters to see the filter menus,

then click on All tree details for that menu,

then click Has Theory of Family Relativity

Now just  your DNA matches with theories will be listed 

You can use the button Review DNA Match

or click the purple View Theory

Your match page only shows one theory, 

click on the purple button View full theory

to see the other theories


Each theory is assigned a probability,

each is based on different trees or records 

To go directly to the multiple theories,

on the list of matches page

Click on the purple "View Theory"

Now to evaluate a theory


This theory presumes my gg-grandad Halvard had a sister Lisbet

who is the same Lisbet who is

the gg-grandma of cousin Nilsen 

Start with the known person in your tree 

click on View in tree

A quick check of my tree at MyHeritage does not show his sister Lisbet but I know my tree there is not very complete


My family tree on my PC and GENI both have Lisbet

And a quick lookup in the Etnesoga entry for Ostein's family finds her as well

(Norwegian Farm Books are a huge help for research)

So do her birth and death years match?

How about locations?

Do we have the same spouse?

My tree has no spouse or descendants, does the spouse in cousin Nilsen's tree match the records?

The farm entry for Veste in EtneSoga agrees

Time to add Lisbet and family to my tree

but I cannot just click them over yet

I need to go back to one of her parents who are in my tree

and find a record which includes Lisbet

On her mother Anna's profile page 

Click on Record Matches or Research this person

Wikitree has a record which includes Lisbet

click Review match

This is what I was looking for, now click Confirm Match

Each fact can be selectively copied over

Found where we can add Lisbet to our tree! 

After selecting facts to copy be sure to click

Save Record on the bottom right

Whenever I work on a match I always like to leave myself a note as to what I found 

Now whenever I look at the match with John or see John in my match list the little comment icon is purple

This is a good way to keep track of the matches I have looked at and figured out

Every 3 or 4 months they run

the Theory of Family Relativity again

so when I go check my TOFR matches

I look for those with an empty notepad

I also reset the number of matches at the bottom of the page to the maximum, namely to 50!

As to that Per match, I can see immediately that the theory is incorrect because I know Halvor's father was Halvar Ostensen Skjold not Halvor Arvesen

Clicking on Halvor Arvesen shows me he came from a completely different area of Norway. My Halvor is from Hordaland

TOFR can often be fooled by the two people who have the same name and dates

so always check the location and other family members 

The other way to get bad theories are errors in other trees

A common one is assigning your ancestor to the wrong spouse

Looking at a match on my mother's side with ancestors from the same small Bavarian town I see the wrong father for my gg-grandfather Solomon Langermann

Here is Solomon in my tree

My ancestress Semele was married twice, Liebmann Aaron Hoenigsberger was her first husband, Loeb Langermann was her second husband. The tree used by the theory has the wrong father for Solomon and thus the wrong relationship

Most of the theories are correct 

of my 32 theories only 4 are wrong

but all have been fun to figure out!

Using Theories of Family Relativity at MyHeritage

By Kitty Cooper

Using Theories of Family Relativity at MyHeritage

How to use the Theory of Family Relativity at MyHeritage to build your tree and meet cousins

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