Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday’s Tip

Do You Research Just Direct Line Ancestors in Your Family Tree?

Over the years, I have grown from researching direct line ancestors (when I was a beginner) to researching the family unit and collaterals. Collaterals are any blood relative who is not your ancestor – such as aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, siblings, and so on. Ancestors are parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on.
This method of research, researching direct line ancestors and collaterals, has given me a snapshot of the family unit. It gives a look into their lives and helps to see them as real people who faced challenges and triumphs. As I researched the siblings, aunts and uncles I learned about their migration path, tragedies, occupations, the education level, their children, and grandchildren. When researching a great uncle, I found out that one of his young sons died not long after the family moved to Texas from Mississippi. Then, three years later this same uncle’s eleven years old son drowned in pond. They had moved from Mississippi to Texas and this great uncle worked for the railway. These people aren’t my direct line ancestors but they are my relatives.

The magnitude of researching family can be overwhelming at times, and it’s nowhere near completion. I have made every effort to make sure every statement has a proper source citation as I go along in my research and to fill in the gaps in my family tree. Have I been successful at this daunting task, probably not.

Researching family and building my family tree on direct-line ancestors and leaving out the “other” family members limited my research. It is helpful in researching those other family members and identifying your ancestors and their families. You learn about the whole family. This method of research deepens and broadens the scope of your research.

It made sense at the time researching the direct line because I was starting out with very little information, and I felt it was a daunting task to research the “other” family members. That was the best way for me to begin learning about my ancestors without becoming overwhelmed or frustrated. Learning about my ancestors would tell me the most about my family’s histories. Also, I needed to focus on the direct line to learn of my heritage and where family originated. Researching direct line ancestors was important to me since there wasn’t firsthand knowledge of them and I had very little information to go on. The information about them was in a courthouse, on censuses, a history book, or a cemetery and the only way it would be discovered is for me to go out there and find it. I took the little information that I had for my ancestors and began my quest. There just wasn’t any time to waste on other family members.
The children of your grandparents, great grandparents and third great grandparents can be beneficial in your research. You may find information that will help break through a difficult research problem. It may even lead you to a missing ancestor. Also, boarders living with them could be relatives. While looking for Clifton Coon’s brother Edward the censuses led me from Lincoln County, Mississippi to West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. On the 1930 West Carroll Parish census George D. Coon was living with E. M. Coon as was another boarder Henry Hampton. When I researched E. M. Coon I discovered that he was Edward the brother of Clifton Coon. Living with E. M. was Clifton’s youngest child George D. Coon and Henry Hampton. I found out from further research that Henry Hampton was the son of Edward’s sister Martha Sophrona Coon, who married a Hampton. Had I not taken the time to research great uncle E. M. Coon I would not have learned about him and his family.

Recently I have been researching my grandfather Clifton his parents and siblings and have learned about the family. Clifton’s father is an interesting person. Maybe a little on the “shady” side. However, he possibly had a sizable estate since he had a very large tall ornate tombstone placed on his burial site. This family member though made research interesting.

Researching each family unit and all the people in a family’s circle or community will give you a deeper and broader picture of the families. So, research direct line ancestors, collaterals, and friends, acquaintances, and neighbors in your family’s community.

No comments:

Post a Comment