Thursday, February 5, 2015

Descendancy research for when your family tree is "done"

My husband's family tree has been loved. His great uncle was a professional genealogist, his grandmother served a family history mission, almost all of his lines include Mormon pioneers who started doing genealogy in the 1800s. His closest unknown ancestor would have been born in the early 1700s. His genealogy is "done".

My husband and his parents
But it's not. Even if all of your direct ancestors have already been recorded (which is certainly not the case; there's always more to find), genealogy is the business of families - whole families. Your ancestors cared about their siblings, their aunts and uncles, and their second wives (or first wives!). They cared about all of their children - not just the one who happens to be your great-grandfather. Those children deserve to be researched.

I've posted before about how each of our ancestors could have hundreds of descendants. You can find them! It's called descendancy research.

The basic idea here is that you're trying to move forward in time instead of backwards. You pick one of your ancestor's siblings and try to find their spouse and children. Then you try to find all of their grandchildren and so forth.

If you want to see which descendants are already found, Puzzilla is a great resource. Puzzilla shows a simplified version of FamilySearch family tree. You can then choose an ancestor and view all of their descendants that are listed in family tree. By looking for gaps in your ancestors' descendant trees you can easily identify research opportunities.

Jessica used Puzzilla to find new research opportunities and bring names to the temple. You can read about her experience on her blog.

Is your family tree done? Have you researched any of your ancestor's descendants?

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