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kjgibson
03 March 2008, 04:40 PM
Hi All,

I've spent the last weekend finding and adding census records to my database. As I was entering data, I realized I was adding data for people who are unrelated to me ... that is ... families of persons who were spouses of my ancestors but who are not in a direct line and are not a blood (or any other type) of relative of mine. I need to develop some sort of cut-off point to keep the data manageable. And is it really of interest to me or my family if the my GGG Aunt by marriage had a brother whose wife's family lived .. well, you get the idea. But I hate to discard good information! It seems such a waste :-)

I'm thinking that for a start, I could record only the head of household for tangentially related persons and keep all the family info in a note.

So, my question is, where do you draw the line?

Cheers,
Karen

Nick
03 March 2008, 05:16 PM
I research my bloodline actively. Non-bloodline people (spouses' ancestors, children of female bloodline who have 'lost' the name) I record but do not research actively. I quite agree about discarding good data - so if I come across info on non-bloodline people, I include it but don't go looking for it. Unless, of course, it is of particular interest to me - I have a Saint in the family, minor aristocracy - and royalty (not such a big deal, since apparently one third of Brits can trace back to royalty), and (obviously being of a snobbish disposition!), I have traced these distaff lines back, just for the amusement.

This way, you can keep things manageable, but avoid 'wasting' valuable data. Thank goodness for computers and Reunion: if you had to do it all manually, on card index, well, you probably wouldn't even have asked the question in the first place...

BeppieChick
03 March 2008, 06:17 PM
Hi Karen

I had the same problem when I first started. I ended up making a huge decision. I was not going to enter any relatives of spouses that were not blood relatives. I ended up deleting 500 people - probably a couple of day's effort to get it in there. But I haven't looked back because the tree was getting too messy.

What I do instead, is I made 2 extra Fact Fields in Reunion. One that says Father and one that says Mother. I put the surname first, a comma, then the name. Great if you wish to find any later that may or may not have ended up being related (at least 20 of them have since finding more people). This way you have a connection to who the parents are if you need more info on that person later, or someone asks if their person of that same name is the same as yours. I also made 3 other Fact Fields called Spouse 1, Spouse 2 and Spouse 3. This is for the non-blood spouses in case I need a connection later.

I say delete them now and put their names in new fields. This keeps your tree full of blood relatives only. Just my personal opinion.

Liz

Frank Mitchell
04 March 2008, 02:29 AM
Hi All,
I've spent the last weekend finding and adding census records to my database. As I was entering data, I realized I was adding data for people who are unrelated to me ... Karen
Karen,
How do you know they are unrelated to you? They might be - you just don't know how yet.

My policy is basically the same as Nick's and I can't bring myself to throw away any useful information I come across. I have several Reunion files based on information sent to me by other people with the same surnames as mine. I might link to them one day, but, if I can't, someone else might find the information useful.

My wife and I have ancestors in different families with the same surname and who lived in the same small town as each other. Some day I am expecting to discover that my wife and I are cousins.

Of course, we all have our own way of doing things.

martha
04 March 2008, 02:49 AM
Hi All,

I've spent the last weekend finding and adding census records to my database. As I was entering data, I realized I was adding data for people who are unrelated to me ... that is ... families of persons who were spouses of my ancestors but who are not in a direct line and are not a blood (or any other type) of relative of mine. I need to develop some sort of cut-off point to keep the data manageable. And is it really of interest to me or my family if the my GGG Aunt by marriage had a brother whose wife's family lived .. well, you get the idea. But I hate to discard good information! It seems such a waste :-)

I'm thinking that for a start, I could record only the head of household for tangentially related persons and keep all the family info in a note.

So, my question is, where do you draw the line?

Cheers,
Karen

My response is that I don't draw a line. I have found that when I go back far enough, somehow all the European families are related. One of my favourite things is to let a cousin know that he actually married a cousin of his!

Martha

Karen Peters
04 March 2008, 08:18 AM
Hi Karen,

I asked a similar question and got some helpful responses in this thread:
http://reuniontalk.com/showthread.php?t=1487

I would also add that I include information about stepfamilies as well. For example, I have an ancestor who was raised by his stepmother and her second husband, so I include them in the family tree as well.

Good Luck,

linders
04 March 2008, 11:05 AM
I keep everyone as I'm sure one day I'll add a person, click to save and find out I'm related to everyone on the planet. I don't go into great detail on non blood relatives unless there is something interesting about them. I have over 60,000 people in my database and over half are blood relatives.

Nic Maennling
04 March 2008, 11:55 AM
Hi Karen,

Good question ! In my case I took a step back and looked at my resources, lifestyle, timetable and who was really interested in my family history. The urge to uncover every known person in my background is still there but reality told me to stop researching and get it published. In it I will explain that if anyone is interested in pursuing a certain line I would be glad to hear from them for the next edition. In my case there are grandchildren who want to read about their ancestors and perhaps that has made me draw the line.

Don't forget that genealogy is the only pursuit that the more you do the more you find to do !

Draw that line and publish - oh what a feeling !

Kind regards,
Nic Maennling
Lanark, Ontario, Canada

kjgibson
04 March 2008, 03:52 PM
Thanks everyone for your input. I especially like Liz's (BeppieChick) method of adding Fact fields to save the data. It's there but not cluttering up my database with extra tree branches.

Karen - thanks for the link to the earlier thread. I searched for one before posting my question but obviously did not hit on the right combination of key words. Lots of good suggestions there.

Frank - I say "unrelated" because they are the parents or siblings of persons who married an ancestor but are not directly linked to an ancestor. They could be related through another, undiscovered, line however. That is one reason I am reluctant to toss out any info I've uncovered.

I guess the upshot is - decide, or remind myself, of what I set out to accomplish. If the new information supports that goal, add it. If not, then note it somewhere and move on. Perhaps I'll create a log to save what I find and where so I can go back and pursue it later if I choose.

Thanks everyone!

Cheers,
Karen

Tom Robinson
04 March 2008, 07:47 PM
Everyone has their own style, this is my story...

I went through a large culling exercise a year ago. Up until then I had been entering everyone I came across or was sent data on, including a large number of my partner's relatives and an attempt to process everyone on a site which specialised in a village called Stoke Bruerne (some of my ancestors came from there, and being a small village almost everyone was related to everyone else).

I publish a subset of my data on the web (taking privacy into consideration) and I was also getting a number of enquiries about people who weren't on my main research lines.

It got too much--I couldn't digest the whole Stoke Bruerne site and this plus the other contacts was taking my time on people who weren't directly of interest to me.

So I had to draw the line. My main research lines have always been decided by going back to my earliest ancestors (treetops) and finding their descendants (register report). This is now also my primary area of recording data.

The grey area comes in if I find one member from a main line on a census record (etc.)--I'll enter the other people in the family. Sometimes when receiving information from a distant cousin I'll enter the people between us so I can see the connection. For a few rare surnames I still record everyone because it can be used for elimination.

For other information, say GEDCOMs or books which list people further away from a main line, I'll put an entry in the Research note where I'm drawing the line saying 'More information see <ref>'.

The culling exercise reduced my 10,000 names to 5,000; plus some sources.

I'm much happier now. I know that almost every card in my database is worth spending time on. Similarly, when looking at the place name list they're all for relevant people. The index doesn't contain huge swags of people I don't care about. When I hit a random card I usually recognise where they fit in. When answering requests they're generally backed by research instead of 'something I came across'. I can say 'no thanks' to offers of information on (say) a large ancestry of someone who married into a main line. Most people in my database now appear in the books I self-publish for posterity.

Al Poulin
04 March 2008, 10:48 PM
I have two little stories.

First my own. Having been born in Maine, my ancestry is French Canadian and Acadian, with old family photographs hinting at some native connection. Records in Maine during the 1830s to 1850s are incomplete. There was a thought that a great grandmother came from a particular family in one of the three original parishes in the Beauce County of Quebec, but no proof. So, using the known surname, Marcoux, I recently researched all three parishes for women of the same names, Marie and Sophie. All candidate women happened to be from one of the parishes. I identified the parents and grandparents of the candidate women. Then, I tracked the migration of all candidate families, involving siblings and some cousins, uncles, aunts. Except for parts of families which remained in the parish, the families, including all candidate women, migrated to newer parishes nearby, west to the Eastern Townships, or south to Maine. Only one family had members moving to Maine. That happens to involve the same "particular family" mentioned above. To document this work, I will create small, family files which will not encumber my own family ancestry. But the data is available should later research indicate a need to link or to modify my conclusion.

Secondly, my wife researches her Irish ancestry. That includes a smallish clan in and around County Mayo by the name of Waldron. She gathered in every possible detail about individuals carrying that name and their spouses, family alliances, and even neighbors. The ancestral family migrated from County Mayo to Blackburn, England, and then to Massachusettes and Rhode Island. This research has established patterns which have led to linking relatives, sometimes years after gathering the original data. She maintains several, small family files in addition to her own ancestry.

One draws the line to fit one's needs.

R. Walker
09 April 2008, 12:51 AM
What I do when I realize that I am getting in too deep on peripheral lines, is to start a new family file for these people. For instance, my 90 year old Cousin Helena in Switzerland had many brothers and sisters. Now, her sibs are all my blood relatives too, but there are too many of them and of their children and children's children. So I start another family file with her parents and and all the information that I have on the other offspring.

My cousin by marriage gave me some info on her family, and I did a lot of research for her, and found her family goes way back in the US. But none of that, other than her parents' names are in my family file. I created a new one for her, starting with her and going back.

I also have family files on people I have researched who were close friends of my family or who were noted as "nephew" or "cousin" on the census and living with my families. But not having found the direct link, I have all their information in a separate family file.

Keeping the info in separate family files allows me the opportunity of combining the files at a later date if I want to, and none of the information is lost. Once I found a person who was a descendant of one of the old family friends that I had done research on. I was able to send her a GEDCOM and some old photos. So you never know.

R. Walker