Curious: how do you prefer to research...

+9 votes
Do you prefer to follow your tree back as far as you can go?  Sort of a straight line back?  Or do you like to fill in the branches with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.?

Right now, I’ve been more focused on filling in the branches with extended family, but sometimes I find a new source and discover the names of parents a generation further back.  That’s always exciting.  It was very exciting to find my husband’s paternal great grandparents because for many years we had no idea where his grandfather had come from.  My father-in-law never knew his dad because his father died when my father-in-law was only 2 years old.

I also bounce between my tree and my husband’s tree.

Just curious what others do.
in The Tree House by Lynnette Hettrick G2G6 Mach 3 (38.2k points)


Pretty much, that's it. cheeky

Haha!  Seems about right, Melanie!
It's why my watchlist has such a huge variety of names on it that do not belong to my direct, or collateral, branches.

I chase after rabbits, sometimes finding Rabbitts along the  way.

But, oh, how glorious is the chasing when you find something that does an enormous loop-around from your father's line all the way back to your mother's line.; or something equally amazing.

7 Answers

+12 votes
In my case, rabbits come to mind. I will start on an ancestor fully intending to go up to his father but then I see an interesting child who got married to an interesting spouse who had a child who............ you get the idea. My path through the tree is winding and sometimes circular. It's not efficient but it is fun. :)
by Betty Fox G2G6 Pilot (169k points)


{{Image|file=Badges_20200401-33.png |caption='''Rabbit Holes and Shiny Things.'''<br /> (Inspired by [ the g2g comment] by [[Liard-1|Danielle Liard]].) |label=Rabbit sees Squirrel with all the Shiny Things, and lust is born in his heart. Rabbit sneaks up on Squirrel, rushes in and grabs a shiny red gem, then runs away, lickety-split. And he runs, and runs, and runs, until - finally - he gets back to his Rabbit Hole and gives the Shiny Thing to Mrs Rabbit, who Writes it up with Proper Citation. The End. }}

Yes, I have followed the shiny objects on side family members.  Wooo, that person looks interesting!  Let me look for more! ... :)
+7 votes
I like to follow one surname at a time because coincidences and connections are more easily recognised. I try to find all the children and grandchildren of each ancestor. My plan is to stop at that remove, but anyone who catches my attention on the edges can easily distract me and I work on them too. BUT I answer the queries I get, wonder how a certain story could have been neglected, and remember I have other ancestors that the new-found source might help me with, and find myself enjoying the wonderful maze of family history. Anywhere, anytime.
by Judith Chidlow G2G6 Mach 4 (46.9k points)
I love to find obscure connections.  My great grandmother had two siblings who were adopted out to a couple.  I thought the couple was randomly chosen, but it turns out that the woman was a distant cousin of my great great grandparents.  They never had children and I'm guessing my great great grandparents couldn't afford to raise many children so they had the cousin and her husband raise them.
+6 votes
I will usually get the main people in there, make sure the main facts are accurate and then I will usually add siblings, aunts, uncles, whoever.

sometimes I will get 3 generations in and then start at the oldest and work my way down. Depends on how much trouble I’m having finding what I’m looking for.

I also will go through all my sources and re read them to make sure it’s relevant to my person.
by Lauren Ward G2G6 (7.5k points)
+7 votes
I joined WikiTree for the concept of the Global Tree. I love the ability to connect to others.  So when I research my family I also add the spouses of my family and a few generations of their family.  Especially those before 1900.  Many lived in small homogeneous locales and many times the names are either familiar to me or show up again later with another family member marriage.  Like Melanie, I have a Watch List comprised of direct relations and those I call Cousin in Laws. More of the latter than the former.  LOL

Doing so I have found many people I have known either personally or of the family name and were Cousins in Law and we never knew  it.
by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (190k points)
I love the Global Tree too.  And I love connecting two families who weren't connected before.  I'm trying to add spouses and their parents at least, to make it easier for others to connect to them.  I don't always get to it because I've been distracted by some other profile.
+6 votes
I'm kind of methodical about it (left-brained engineer that I am).  I start from a person, trace back on direct lines as far as I can.  Then I start working forward from oldest ancestor, adding children.  When I have added all of 1 person's children, I methodically go through each child in birth order, adding spouse and their children.  When I get to the end of the first child's descendants and their spouses, I move to the next child.  I usually cut off my efforts at spouses that I add, without working on their parents, siblings, etc., but have to admit that occasionally I fall down that rabbit hole.
by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (948k points)
+3 votes
Hi Lynette, Interesting question.

I generally track back as far as I can go because I am usually tracking for YDNA paternal lines.  Also, I am usually researching Smiths that I am not related to, but I want to find the earliest paternal ancestor I can document in some way.

Sometimes I go back later and fill in the extended family.
by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (578k points)
+5 votes
I am definitely a bunny-trailer. I have tried to add some semblance of method to my madness by using a free space profile to make quick notes of people I find along the way that I need to get back to later, and as soon as I've done so I'm back to following the bunny trail.

One such bunny trail led to one of the biggest Doozies(tm) I've ever tried to untangle. (I have adopted "Doozy" as an unofficial genealogical term.) It all started when I was trying to track down the husband of my 6th cousin 4 times removed, and discovered there were at least 9 or 10 guys with the exact same (not terribly common) name.

And when I mentioned the 6th cousin 4 times removed in another bulletin board conversation, someone humorously pointed out that anywhere else, trying to track down such a person might lead to the conclusion that one needs a vacation in the local psych ward, but here? It's just business as usual!

Ain't this fun?  :)
by Carolyn Comings G2G6 Mach 3 (35.4k points)

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