Sunday, November 4, 2012

Brick Walls- Extended Family

One of the common things when doing genealogy is that we tend to have blinders on when it comes to extended family. We become so focused on our direct line that we fail to take advantage of the clues that may be gained from researching collateral lines. Many road blocks occur with our direct lines due to the lack of a paper trail. The needed confirmation of information may not exist in direct family so we are forced to look elsewhere. In the early stages of my genealogy life I wore blinders and did not pay attention to the other members of the family. As I matured as a genealogist I found the gold that could be found when looking at the brothers and sisters in a family unit. One of the primary areas of confirmation is building a body of evidence to make a conclusion on your family line. Discovering the birth, marriages and deaths of other family members will help you in better understanding your direct line. In most cases these people had interactions with each other both good and bad. A great deal of information can be gained in these situations over a land sale, contention over probate or a military service record. Not to mention the vital records. When you run into a brick wall make sure to check out the whole family unit for clues. It is important to find all the pieces of the puzzle, because they will help you in resolving your direct line family. Good luck in your research and please be sure to share your ideas.