Here’s the next in my occasional series of bite-size Quick Tips. Click on the Quick Tips tag for my other Quick Tips. Because I tend to write longer posts, I wanted to provide a quick-to-read (and quick-to-write) post every couple of weeks. This one is about an important lesson I learned years ago. Please, learn from my mistakes!
Don’t ignore your ancestors’ siblings
When I first started doing genealogy research, I was easily overwhelmed by the ever-growing number of ancestors I encountered. I started out with census research, primarily, and when I looked at the long list of names on a given ancestor’s census form, I decided to focus on just the ancestor I was descended from. It felt overwhelming and tedious to enter information from all the siblings into my software. I didn’t see the point.
I was wrong.
I’ve since discovered (as I posted about here) that these siblings (called collateral relatives) are hugely helpful in my research. Not only do they flesh out the experience of my direct-line ancestors, they provide valuable clues that I’ve found the right family. So rather than feel overwhelmed by these large families, I now feel thrilled when I find them. It may take a few minutes to enter information for each person into my database, but it’s time well spent. The bushier the tree the better (as long as every person in the tree has been confirmed with sources)!