Using ChatGPT to Write The First Draft of Your Family History in Less Than 5 Minutes

An intriguing tweet from Denys Allen gives a five-step recipe for producing a first-draft family history from a timeline using ChatGPT.

I tried it using Bing Chat. It made a bold attempt at a life story for an individual in my family tree.

I’d forgotten to include the name, so it made one up.

It made up a name for his father who I’d mentioned was a Jewish immigrant. It assumed he was from Poland and so was his wife. Not true

It wrote his father was a merchant. Not true, he was a teacher.

I mentioned he was killed at YPRES III and it wrote he was hit by shrapnel and buried with the marker a Star of David.  He was killed there, the rest is fantasy.

There were several other things it simply made up.

I was able, in stages, to edge it toward a more accurate biography by adding additional information, mentioning what was false, and asking for a rewrite.

I’m sure it would have done better given a more complete timeline, which would take about as much effort as writing the final product.

2 Replies to “Using ChatGPT to Write The First Draft of Your Family History in Less Than 5 Minutes”

  1. No surprise to me…I wouldn’t be trusting ChatGPT for anything like this…there’s so much more that goes into the writing process than just stringing together a series of words to tell a story.

  2. I agree with Teresa. Those of us that write, for genealogy societies and historical societies use much more when writing than looking for appropriate fits with words. Aaaarh.

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