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Genealogy or Family History? Big or small trees?

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


nameslessone Report 17 Feb 2009 15:54

What a pleasure to read such an interesting thread.

Congratulations to the posters, who even though they were upset have not written angrily as so many others have done lately.

Sue in Somerset

Sue in Somerset Report 17 Feb 2009 12:13

There is the tendency for some to denounce anyone doing a big study as a name gatherer when in fact they can be doing a valuable service for other researchers.

I have a rare name (for the area) in a particular village and making notes for my own family meant collecting parish records for anyone with the name then trying to sort them into families. I have collected them over generations and through censuses. Sometimes there was a little group out on a limb and unconnected but I made a note of them just in case.

I have been updating my records and putting information into a new tree program. As a result in the past few days I have actively sought out people on GR with ancestors of that name from that village.

As a result of exchanges of messages and sharing of information I have identified several new strands and linked up lines. I have been able to give distant relations (like 6th cousins) a lineage which would have taken them a very long time to do and probably required them to go to the Records Office to do it.

I am a strong believer in doing whole family clusters. You can often spot the way names are being passed on through generations and find cousins being witnesses at weddings.

Gathering clusters makes for a large tree very quickly.



snowfairy Report 17 Feb 2009 11:48

When I first started my tree it was to find out who my Grandfathers family were and from there it just snowballed. For a start,some of the greater Grandparents had enormous families who themselves had even larger ones- 19 cent. woooow!!!. I have all the brothers and sisters plus partners in each generation so even just that makes a massive amount. When one side is smaller I then tend to put their children in too, up to a point.I think in some families the infant death toll was not so high in as others which obviously means more Rellies to contend with and anyway ,how do you choose which siblings to put in and which to leave out'. Really one can`t generalise because as someone else said each situation is different.I have Ancestry and quite recently found a brother 1803 of my 2xgt. grandfather and this has really opened up my tree and given me a lot more clues-the missing link so to speak.I have certs but if you look closely and really study the Census you will often find important clues .i.e. a niece or nephew an elderly parent living there with them with the elusive name you had been seeking.I look at every household and sometimes you find a missing person amongst the other families listed on the page.
I am an addict and get so involved with what I am doing ,a quick ten minutes ,turns into two hours without any problem, Ahem!
We have a snowstorm raging outside so I know where I will be today!!!!!

Sue in Somerset

Sue in Somerset Report 16 Feb 2009 22:03

Nudging up for new people

Sue in Somerset

Sue in Somerset Report 3 Feb 2009 00:09

Nudging because of a discussion on General board


Kate Report 15 Jan 2009 22:39

Slightly off topic, but thinking over the time and effort it must take to find relatives and add them to the tree once it gets bigger and goes further and further back, you're bound to run into the odd mistranscription in the census etc. (This is why I am amazed by gigantic trees - I find it stunning that someone has apparently got so far in spite of stumbling blocks like relocations and variant spellings and even something as simple as tracking down a mistranscribed person in the census.)

So, my question is, does anybody else do what I do and - in their family tree programme or their tree on here - add notes to this effect? For instance, I might put down that my relative Thomas Hearsnip was living in Aughton, Lancashire in 1851, but was misspelt in the Ancestry search as "Hearnoss" so that I can find him again later without having to look for every Thomas born in 1806 in Aughton next time I want him.

Or, if nicknames and variant spellings come up, I put down that my 4xgreat grandma was christened "Ellen Masco", married as "Ellen Mascow" and appeared variously as "Helen", "Ellen", "Eleoner", "Nelly" etc when her children were christened.


Benjamin Report 15 Jan 2009 18:40


I dont go on assumptions. I like to check and check to make sure that I have my ancestors. 100% certainty can be difficult to achieve but you have to use your mind and work on what is likely in this game.

Its like finding the father of an illegitimate child. If there is a candidate then research him and his status for other pieces of evidence. Its like my Roberts success. My great, great gran was born out of wedlock in Dec 1863. Her parents Thos Roberts and Mary Ann Walder wed in July 1864 50 miles away from where they met and then the baby was baptised as their daughter in November 1864. "Mary Ann Kate, Daughter of Thomas & Mary Ann Roberts". Thomas baptised the babe as his daughter so I knew he must have been the father. I needed to search him more.

To verify things more, Thomas was a widower when he married Mary. Some people would just add him to their family tree even if they hadnt found the evidence of Thomas acknowledging fatherhood in the baptism of the baby simply on a hunch without finding out more like I did to make sure he was the father.

They wouldnt even bother to find out who his previous wife was or spend the £7 on his previous wifes death to see if that had any clues and if she died during Mary's pregnancy or not. Turns out that Thomas was still married well into Mary's pregnancy and that his previous wife died 6 weeks before the birth, explaining the illegitimate birth. The cause of death said that she had been ill for a long time and that made the idea of her husband Thomas having an affair while she was really ill and dying totally plausible and everything else fell into place. The death cert of his previous wife was the Clincher cert.



Madmeg Report 17 Dec 2008 22:23

I agree with most of you. If someone wants to pinch my tree, which is mostly derived from public records, then so be it. It isn't 100% perfect but I know the bits which aren't and they don't.

Yes, I did find nobility in one remote branch that I never intended researching at all, and went back to 1044 (before the wonderful William!) as a result of old books and documents. It was very exciting to do so. But most of the Ag Labs and Cotton Piecers stop around the 1700s if I am lucky and to be honest I would rather research the areas in which they lived and the conditions there at the time than just "get them back".

I have just over 1600 in my tree, mostly direct line rather than siblings of direct line.

Love to all


Sue in Somerset

Sue in Somerset Report 16 Dec 2008 18:12



Ann Report 6 Dec 2008 16:33


Sue in Somerset

Sue in Somerset Report 27 Nov 2008 17:14


Sue in Somerset

Sue in Somerset Report 9 Sep 2008 00:48

I am doing an unofficial One Name Study for a rare surname in my family. I get hot matches for an ancestral uncle on my tree who has the same name as another man. I usually contact the people with that other man simply because I know about him and have his tree offline as part of my research. I haven't managed to link him to any of my own ancestors yet.

Today someone has opened their tree to me. No message first to say they were going to do that. I know she has that man on her tree. I had a quick look to see if she has his ancestors yet and that seems the case. I did notice she has all her living relations and even children on her tree. If I were an unscrupulous tree grabber I could have copied all of them.



Madmeg Report 9 Sep 2008 00:34

HI all. have posted on this before. I would never open my tree to someone who is totally unconnected, but this week opened my tree to someone who thought he was connected, and then changed his mind. I pointed out the connections, turns out he didn't know how to find them on the site. Once we had agreed a connection, albeit a bit remote, he opened his tree to me. I could have downloaded the lot and given myself a headache, but I asked his permission to add his grandparents to my tree, and he agreed. In fact, I forgot my agreement and put his parents and himself on as well, cos I have this thing about getting as many living relliies as possible in my tree. But that won't be put on Genes, it is in my private tree on my hard-drive.

It is difficult to decide how far to go, but you have to think why you are doing this project. Is it to get the biggest tree in the world that nobody will ever be interested in or is to serve a real personal purpose?

I think the latter for most of us.

Much love


Sue in Somerset

Sue in Somerset Report 8 Sep 2008 23:21



tineke Report 14 Aug 2008 10:31

Carole & Sue From Up North

It is a good thing that your informant put references on but... One of the people who has rellies on a big tree on this site [i would describe him a more a collector of names than a tree bandit] has a web site which looks brilliant, has all the right data base references - what it doesn't say is where he got the original tree data from. I am well aware that he was supplied with researched trees going back over 300 years plus bolted on the more recent stuff which was supplied to him. He e-mailed me with a 'have a look at my wonderful web site' message, I looked, was impressed and went back to him to offer congratulations as to how long it must have taken. His reply was along the lines of it wasn't more than a few days. I would speculate what he did was take the people's trees, then look up the references and then add them to his mega tree. In many ways there isn't a technical problem as long as he is acurate but is it morally right that he did not credit the original researchers who actually did all the hard work?


Sue in Somerset

Sue in Somerset Report 10 Aug 2008 20:20



Benjamin Report 9 Aug 2008 18:17

Yes, I dont name collect but I will research the employer or friend of an ancestor if it helps knock down a brick wall.

I have a logical mind, and many of my theories have turned out to be the truth. Examples is:

In 1871, my East End residing 7 year old 2xgreat gran's birthplace was given as Sussex, yet in later censuses it was given as London, Stoke Newington. But they were in Bow at that time and I had a theory that maybe they moved to Stoke Newington from Sussex, lived there for a short while then moved to Bow. True as that was.

My ggggran was in Oxford in 1861 as a servant with her employer. She was in London in 1866. I wondered if she moved there with her boss in about 1862. I found they did as her boss got married in London in 1863.

I wonder if the girlfriends of married men got pregnant purposely to win their husband if their wife was ill or something?



Shelly Report 9 Aug 2008 15:03

hi all
i don't see a problem with anyone wanting to add as many names as they can to their tree, as long as its well researched. Sometimes during my own research i've come across information that may not be directly connected to my direct blood relatives . i add this information because i know it will be helpful to someone in the future who may need it.
I'm amazed how anyone can get as far as 19,000 names though! i've only got about 570


Carole & Sue from up north

Carole & Sue from up north Report 9 Aug 2008 13:30

Hello All,

I made contact with someone recently who had 19,000
names on their tree, and I had a couple of hot matches. i was a bit dubious because of the amount of names he had and the fact that he had my grandparents on it. However, looking at the tree, his connection to me is very teneuous BUT he has given me 4 generations (with all source notes given) of my grandmothers ancestors, street names matching up with my info. He may be doing a cluster research and I am grateful that he is! I have no problems opening my tree to him, even if he puts down people on my mother's side that he has no direct link to. Its a case of where do you draw the line? Do you put down every single name connected to you or do you concentrate purely on blood relatives?

If this gentleman didn't have 19,000 names on his tree, I doubt wether i would've got this info.

Carole x

ps after 2 days examining the notes on his tree, and searching on the census records and the I.G.I, Ive found out a lot of new things, including that 2 sisters married 2 brothers, which I don't think he's realised.

Sue in Somerset

Sue in Somerset Report 9 Aug 2008 12:03