Using WolframAlpha for Family History Calculations

A very useful utility for genealogists is the WolframAlpha Computational Knowledge Engine found at I use it for all kinds of calculations related to my family history.

It’s as simple as typing in a question, and getting answers. The site calculates things. Following are some examples – simplified for my purpose here. Sometimes the answers are pretty detailed – like how many minutes (or seconds) have passed since my mother’s death – assuming I entered her date of death in the search engine.

  • How far is it from Victory, New York to Brighton, New York? 47 Miles
  • What day of the week was April 13, 1950? Thursday
  • How large is Pierce County, Washington? 1806 sq miles
  • What date was the first Thursday in April, 1852? Thursday, April 1, 1852
  • Father’s grandmother’s daughter’s son’s daughter – second cousin


The following two example categories for WolframAlpha are very applicable to genealogists.
People and History:

Dates and Times:

How do you use WolframAlpha?

Author: Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (, writes daily at, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

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