Who are the look-alikes in your family? A new free facial recognition web app compares your pictures to see just how strong those family resemblances are!

family look alikes

Two Peas in a Pod

Recently I saw an article online that practically begged me to read it: “22 Photos Which Prove That Your Genes are Amazing.” It shows a series of “photographs of people who, despite belonging to different generations within their families, are as alike as two peas in a pod.” (Take a look! Those photos are pretty cool!)

lookalikes grouped togetherOf course, that got me thinking about the look-alikes in my own family, and I had to find and compare their pictures. I came across these two sets of look-alikes. Unfortunately, their faces are not posed or angled the same direction, but when I look at those faces, I am struck by their physical resemblance to each other.

The first pair is my sister-in-law and her Great Aunt Alpha Larson. In the past when I came across Alpha’s photograph I always felt there was a strong resemblance to her sister’s grand daughter. But it wasn’t until I looked at them side-by-side that I realized how many traits they share: the arch of their eyebrows, the shape of their eyes, and even their teeth.

What to Look for When Comparing Faces

When it comes to comparing faces, there are many features you can compare:

  • The shape of the face (is it oval, round, square or heart-shaped?)
  • Teeth (Look for unique shapes and spaces)
  • Eyes (analyze the shape, color, size and spacing between the eyes)
  • Eyebrows (shape, length, and distance to the eye)
  • Nose (position on the face, the size and shape, and pay close attention to the nostrils)
  • Ears (where they are positioned on the head, their shape and size)
  • Hair pattern (taking into account the age of the person)
  • Moles and other distinguishing marks

Facial Recognition Technology

All this got me wondering…is there a free online tool that will let us use facial recognition technology to compare two faces? I got Googling…and there is!

Microsoft’s Twins or Not facial comparison web app recently launched. It’s so new they’re still refining it. But it works and it’s super easy to use.

I fed in my first two lookalikes and the results came up as a 58% match: pretty astounding for a three-degree difference in blood relation (from a grand-daughter two generations up to her grandmother, then one person over to her sister).

The second match wasn’t quite as strong: just 39%. That’s still pretty striking for four degrees of difference on the family tree!

I was curious about how the look-alike relatives shown in that article would rank in Twins or Not. So I clipped a couple of photos from there and ran them through. Below is the stunning result: a 100% match (which is no surprise–these babies are SO alike).

This kind of service is trending in mobile apps too (even for your pets!), though most of the available apps help you find your celebrity look-alike.

twins or not test

Other software programs that can be used to assist with facial recognition include:

  • Face Off (free online download)
  • iPhoto (by Apple – included on Apple computers)
  • PhotoShop Elements (by Adobe Systems)

The Look-Alikes in Your Family

Who are the look-alikes in your family? Why not take a screenshot of your results at Twins or Not and share it with us–and on your favorite social media site?

Better yet, share your look-alikes with your family. It’s a fun way to kick start conversations about family history. Remind your family members that you’re not just interested in the lives of your shared ancestors, but also preserving your family’s stories.

More Resources

Are you interested in learning more about exploring your family history, and the tools that can help you do that? I’m constantly on the look-out for tech tools that can make your genealogy research more productive and fun. Here are three Genealogy Gems articles that will give you the inside scoop on what’s available and what I use personally:

Tools to Highlight Your Great Genealogy Finds

“My Name is Jane:” Heritage Scrapbook Celebrates Family Tradition

Use Forensic Genealogy Tools: New Technology Sheds Light on History

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