Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Ancestor Score

Although I follow Randy Seaver's blog, Genea-Musings, on feedly, I somehow missed this great topic for his last Saturday Night Genealogy Fun until I saw Linda Stufflebean's post on her blog, Empty Branches on the Family Tree (love that blog name!).

As I was reading Linda's post and then Randy's it hit me that this goes hand-in-glove with the Genealogy Do-Over and making a research plan or setting research goals for 2016.

The idea is to look at your tree for 10 generations, starting with yourself, and see what percentage of those ancestors you have identified. We all have 1,022 ancestors plus ourselves in ten generations, which takes us back to our 7th great-grandparents, of which we all have 512. That alone boggles my mind whenever I think about it.

As I looked through my tree and calculated my score, I found the results a little depressing once I got past my 3rd great-grandparents. Then I had to remind myself that these numbers only represent those people from whom I am directly descended. I have hundreds of identified relatives in my tree, its just that most of them are collateral ancestors and don't fall into this calculation. And that raises some questions for my research plan.


I enjoy learning as much as I can about my relatives, which includes their siblings, other family and even their friends. But if my goal is to learn who my direct ancestors are, should I spend less time on these cousins and siblings until they are needed to identify direct ancestors? Or should I research as I have been, learning as much about each ancestor as I find them?

It is an interesting question. Time, money and energy are finite. Where should I apply mine this year?

When I do formulate that plan, I'll be sure to let you know.


Linda Stufflebean said...

Hi Anna, Besides having the time to research, it greatly depends on where the ancestors were from. I have a healthy colonial American bunch on my mother's side, but my dad's tree is done because his grandparents were Slovak immigrants and I searched the village records back into the early 1800s, which is the end. So I have no possibility of finding half of my generations 7-10 because the records don't exist.

Lois Willis said...

I agree with Linda about it depending on the records that are available. I have also written a post about deciding where to focus your family history research.