Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) For Genealogy (Part Two)

This image was created using the prompt “Can you create an image of a genealogist looking at their family tree” on Cosmic Dream

Last week, I posted the first blog of what I think will be a three-part blog about using AI for genealogy. If you didn’t read that post, you can catch up HERE. In that post, I looked at the AI tool at MyHeritage. This week, I wanted to tell you how I used ChatGPT in my genealogy so far.

As I mentioned last week, I was using the free version of ChatGPT and saw that some of my genealogy friends have been using the paid version of ChatGPT, and it looked interesting, so I put my name on the list to convert to the paid version. By the way, I didn’t have to wait too long before I could do that.

So here are some of the things I’ve been able to do.

  1. Create art. I used the old ChatGPT for art, but the ChatGPT 4 looks much better and more professional.
  2. Ask questions about genealogy. Some of the questions I’ve asked are; “If I were new to genealogy, what would be the best and most organized way to start out?” “What do you suggest as the best way to organize and keep your genealogy?” This can be a great jumping-off point for something I might want to write about, create a video about, or create a presentation about.
  3. I used it to write more compelling sales information for items in my store. I don’t know if it will make a difference, but now I think that those items might be more appealing.
  4. Create biographies for my ancestors. First, I entered into ChatGPT the statement…. As an expert genealogist, write a written report about….. and then I put in a copy and paste from one of my ancestor’s profiles on Ancestry, specifically from their LifeStory. This is what the report looked like.

Genealogical Report: Alice Elizabeth Clark (1884-1978)

Personal Details

Name: Alice Elizabeth Clark
Birth: July 26, 1884, Horsham, Sussex, England
Parents: Robert Clark (1842-1888) and Hannah West (1846-1917)
Marriage: Jesse Oliver, July 20, 1907, Brighton, Sussex, England
Children: Beatrice Alice (b. 1908), Mabel Gladys (1911-1965), Sylvia Joy (1930-1976)
Death: September 28, 1978, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Burial: October 2, 1978, Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada

Early Life

Alice Elizabeth Clark was born in 1884 to Robert Clark, a 42-year-old laborer, and Hannah West, aged 38, in Horsham, Sussex, England. Her early childhood was marked by her father’s untimely death in 1888 when she was just three years old.


  • 1891: Lived in Horsham, Sussex, England.
  • 1901: Resided in Brighton, Sussex, England.
  • 1911: Moved to Hove, Sussex, England, after her marriage.
  • Circa 1916: Relocated to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
  • 1921 and 1931: Recorded as living in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Family Life

Alice Elizabeth Clark married Jesse Oliver in 1907 in Brighton. The couple had three daughters over their marriage, with their lives marked by frequent relocations, including a significant move to Canada. Alice lost her mother, Hannah, in 1917, which was followed by the deaths of several siblings over the subsequent decades.

Later Years and Death

Alice became a widow in 1951 after the death of her husband, Jesse. She continued to reside in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and outlived two of her daughters, Mabel Gladys and Sylvia Joy. Alice passed away in 1978 at the age of 94 in Edmonton. Her burial took place in Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada.

Additional Notes

  • Alice Elizabeth Clark’s life journey from England to Canada represents a significant shift in the family’s history, mirroring the broader patterns of migration during that era.
  • The loss of many family members throughout her life, including her father at a young age, her husband, and two of her children, reflects the challenges and hardships of the times.
  • Alice’s longevity, living to the age of 94, was quite remarkable for her generation.

I expanded on this by asking ChatGPT. Can you provide any other historical information and give the dates and places she lived?

It politely told me…

Certainly! Let’s delve into the historical context and additional information related to the various places and times in which Alice Elizabeth Clark lived:

1. Horsham, Sussex, England (1884-1891, intermittently in later years)

  • Late 19th Century: Horsham was a market town in Sussex during this period. The town was known for its agricultural activities, with a focus on farming and market trades.
  • 1880s England: This was the era of the Victorian period, characterized by rapid industrialization, social change, and advances in science and technology.

It then went on to tell me more about the other places that my great-grandmother had lived and about the timeframe she lived in.

Additional Historical Context

  • Women’s Role: During Alice’s lifetime, women’s roles in society were evolving, especially with the suffrage movement in the early 20th century leading to women gaining the right to vote.
  • Economic Shifts: The transition from a primarily agrarian economy to an industrial and later a service-oriented economy would have significantly impacted daily life.
  • Technological Advances: The period saw significant technological advancements, including the spread of electricity, automobiles, and, later, the advent of commercial air travel and television.

Initially, it missed the detail of the name of the ship that my great-grandmother had come to Canada on, so the report went on to tell me the possible ships she might have traveled on, including the one she did travel on, the Empress of Ireland. But then I gave it this information. I’m sorry I forgot to tell you that she sailed on the Empress of Ireland. So now, can you provide more details about the ship and the time frame?

It then went into great detail about the Empress of Ireland

It’s interesting that as you write your prompts, you start to talk or type like you’re talking to someone… and I was more polite… not that I’m not polite, but you start to thank them and say things like I’m sorry…

So you can see how this could be helpful for putting together the information and creating write-ups for your family history. You could use this, but you could again use it as a starting point and expand on it to make it your own.

Last week, I wrote in my blog; get back, I say, you devil of BSO. At the time, I asked the Cosmic Dream (which is part of the platform)… what would a devel of BSO look like, and here’s what it gave me. Hmmmm, he is shiny.

5. One of the other things you can do is attach a file. So first, I asked if it understood what a GEDcom file was and if it could analyze it? Its response was that it knew what a GEDcom file was and that, yes, it could analyze one. So I attached a GEDcom I have of my DNA tree, and I asked it if it would look at the entire file and then give me a list of any people in the tree that it felt might be a duplicate. I came back with a list, but it needed one further tweak. I expanded on my question and told it that it should also look at other information like birth or death dates and any family information to determine duplicates.

It gave me a list of names that I could go through and check for duplicates and corrected the results, and for the most part, it was pretty good.

Here are just a few of the things you can try out on ChatGPT and there are more and the list is growing.

I’m fairly certain you can see that I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole.. but I think it might be a good one because it’s making me excited about working more on ChatGPT, and it’s most certainly worth the $20/month at this point, and the fun I’ve had exploring, and there’s more to come.

Stay tuned next week when I explore the AI on Ancestry.

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  • Ellen
    This is a wonderful article and my first dive into AI thanks to Randy Seaver sharing your link. I am excited to try this. I also hope you’ll be at RootsTech again this year. I will be.

    • Thank you… there are more articles to come about AI and yes I’ll be at RootsTech so I hope we can get together… I’d love to hear about your newest adventures.