Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Something New ... And Exciting!

After the breakthrough I had last week with my brick wall 2nd great grandmother, I decided the way to go about researching all my brick walls was to go wide and deep.

Now, I have never been one for a ginormous family tree anyway. Having just come off a successful culling of my own out of control tree. which, as it turns out, wasn't so out of control as some. But that's not the story here.

The story today is to share with you what I am currently attempting in the Cave.

I spent the weekend casting a very wide net, going in deep on the Whitford family that I discovered last week. Turns out the whole clan is nuts - and they liked to marry and divorce numerous times. I would not have seen this pattern if I was sticking to just my direct line. By starting a new research tree on Ancestry dot com I was able to include all the collateral family, half cousins, step grandparents, all the odd, but blood related at some level, characters that I would not have bogged down my own tree with. (No, I do NOT want my own WikiTree, thank you). And, guess what!? I did start to see patterns, and was able to put some 'orphans' in families based on information found on other relatives documents, death certs, wills, etc. I must admit it was quite exhilarating!

Genealogy high?

So I have started to create research trees for all my dead end ancestors, adding all the spouses, children, brothers & sisters, aunts & uncles, etc; and following the trails to see what I might unearth.

It is very satisfying, for my obsessively orderly brain not to have all these trails, these webs, dangling from my own tree like so much Spanish moss. And, when I want to research a particular family I can just open that tree and work.

Now, I have member tree hints turned off so I don't get a gazillion bad trees popping up in my new hints, but once I have found all the legit sources available, I will pop over to search and look at those trees.

This is where the magic can happen.

Like it did for me last week.

Most often not, mind you, but it can, so I always look.

And, here's another thing. Once I get the research tree built, and have become pretty familiar with the surnames, I can hook my AncestryDNA to the tree and wait a bit to see if I snag anything! If I had one of those 30,000+ behemoths I would certainly not recognize the name of my 6th cousin five times removed. But with a compact little research tree I would.

The information is out there - we just have to dig deep and go wide sometimes until we spot that glimmer of light at the end of the long, long, long rabbit hole.

Today I am working on my McBrides and my O'Connells - should be a piece of cake!

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