How do YOU create YOUR tree

+13 votes
I am curious how other people work on their trees. I am quite new here but I originally started a tree at Genes reunited and then moved to Ancestry (where I think I got lazy). I found wikitree when I got stuck on an ancestor and subsequently found a big part of my tree right here. Anyway, I have tried a few ways of working on my tree, some more successful than others. Most of my paternal grandfather's side is already here, thanks to a wonderful man David McKeown, who I found is related to me by marriage to my 4x cousin. So I started on my maternal grandparents side. I decided to make the "skeleton" of the families (parents) then add the children to each generation and so on. I decided to do my tree this way so I didn't get sidetracked early on with extremely distant relatives that really I feel don't need researching until close relatives have been exhausted.

Anyone else have any thoughts/ideas on ways to do a tree?
in The Tree House by Wendy Sullivan G2G6 Pilot (161k points)
retagged by Michael Stills

2 Answers

+7 votes

Hi Wendy, 

Great Question. 

About the only "rule" for creating "your" branch of "our" tree is that you provide sources, good one preferably.  Beyond that we ask that you follow the Honor Code.

The Style Guide may give you some clues to help you decide on a method.

My methodology changes depending on what I am working on what new tricks I have learned.  A wise WikiTreer convinced me to work on single lines with a goal in mind. That helps keep me focused on my objective.

What I often do when I start is to add a short line of about 5 individuals that I have info on.  Often just the basic vitals.  Then I start dumping source information and tid bits as I learn them.  Once I have a few to work with, then I go back through and work on formatting and inline references. 

Of course my profiles all look different depending on when I worked on them and what techniques I was employing at the time.   Then, over time, I go back through and readdress the older profiles for new and fresh approaches.  

Remember, you are encouraged to ask others to join you or help you.  We have Sourcerers who love sourcing and Profile Improvers who love to write biographies, and Connectors who love to see profiles get linked to the tree.

Have fun and ask questions along the way.

by Michael Stills G2G6 Pilot (534k points)

Or perhaps you are asking more on how to research.  This is where good source information comes in.  

I often start with a basic google search to see what is out there and who has done good work and follow the leads from there.  Then I visit sites, like Ancestry, Family Search, Findagrave, etc and do the same.  Once I have a skeleton of a person with a picture of possible family members, I then start looking for sources, usually working backwards in time.  Death Record, Marriage Record, Birth Record and Census.

I find that my approaches change based on what I am learning and what I am finding.  I have notice over the years that approaches are influenced by the time frame and locations I am searching as well.   I spend a lot time in Ohio and Tennessee and have learn what local and off beat sources exist for these places.  For example the Rutherford B Hayes Obituary Index is a great place to search in Ohio for relatively recent Obituaries.

Then...if someone throws me a new place to fish, I have to check it out and if fruitful, I go back to the relevant profiles and update them.

Generally speaking that is my "approach" but it is more organic than that and I follow the hot leads when presented and at other times I just put the bobber in the water and see what happens.

Hi Michael,

Thank you so much for all your input. I really do appreciate hearing what more experienced genealogists have learned and their methods of researching and entering information. I do use my 2nd tree at Ancestry as a check list. My first tree was messed up when I didn't spot an error soon enough and had to delete a few people and then lost focus as to where I was. Ancestry made me lazy with having the hints sitting there. I am glad also that I chose to not upload my gedcom. I am finding it far more gratifying to manually add and research for myself rather than the automatic hints, click and add that was already encased in my tree. I have even found one or two discrepancies that I hadn't noticed before, so saved a possible error or two already. I am also finding myself wanting to learn more about my ancestors way of life. Funny really as at school, history was quite a taboo subject for me, I never could see what good it was learning about dead people who didn't have electricity! Now I welcome it. That is the thing I will be doing more of once I get a skeleton together. Thanks for the tips and ideas, they have certainly broadened my outlook already :)
Wendy, I wonder, based on your comments, do you have a genealogy program of your own, on your own computer? I think if you have your tree only out on public sites you might eventually lose control of your research and come to regret not having your own copy.
+2 votes
I learned the hard way to not rush to find distant ancestors. Mistakes along the way! I have restarted with each generation right from me onward, taking my time and waiting for the best sources.
I'm not a patient person so it's difficult but I know it's best!

by Kerry Karner G2G2 (2.6k points)

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