Five years ago, I blogged about my quandary over whether to research my collateral lines, rather than focusing on my direct-line ancestors. That I even hesitated to explore collateral lines amazes me because the benefits are now obvious. These collateral lines provide valuable clues. They help verify that the person I’m researching is my person. My family tree is very obviously not complete without them.
Two years ago, I blogged that was rededicating myself to the task of adding siblings; that is, I going back to the censuses or other information I’d downloaded previously and filling in the blanks.
Now I have a new quandary on the other side of the spectrum: Should I limit my research when it comes to the collateral lines? In 2017 and so far in 2018 I’ve focused my research on my Adams line, barely even looking at the other three lines. In doing so, I’ve been able to really explore the collateral lines without feeling any pressure to return to my direct-line ancestors. It’s been really rewarding and fun.
This has added a little complexity in terms of organizing, but nothing I can’t handle. A year ago, I simply had a Collateral subfolder in my Surnames folder with all the source documents I’d downloaded for collateral relatives mixed together–I didn’t have enough to merit subfolders. But when the number of documents started to grow, I created subfolders for the surnames and the individuals, like I do with my direct-line ancestors, except that they fall under the Collateral folder. So the path looks like this:
Genealogy/Surnames/Collateral/[Surname]/[Name of Ancestor (YOB-YOD)]/Document name
I just checked. I have 419 documents in the Collateral folder.
I’m going to the library this afternoon, where I can access certain documents on Family Search that I can’t access at home, because the library is affiliated with the Family History Library. As I was creating the list of look ups in Evernote I realized that they’re for ancestors that are a bit far afield:
- A marriage document for my 2nd great grandfather’s stepdaughter
- A marriage document for my great grandfather’s half-brother’s wife’s parents
So I’m wondering whether I should ratchet things back closer to my direct-line ancestors or just continue happily exploring the folks who cross my path.
I thought I’d turn to you and ask. Do you limit who you research, or do you research anyone who is somehow related to you?