Genealogy Chat

Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search


  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

Changing a family tree

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Florence61 Report 9 Sep 2021 14:31

Has anyone had a family situation where a family member adopted a relative as years ago if the mum was say 16 then maybe the granny would have adopted the child to keep it in the family?
So if you do a family tree and show the granny as the childs mother, what happens when the child is told later in life and everyone knows ,because the family tree might be confusing.

If someone was say a brother and then they find out actually that person is their cousin not their brother, should the tree be changed to show the correct lineage as it were?

I have not had this situation in my family tree but i know of another family where this situation has arisen and the family member asked me should they rewrite the tree or not?

Im not sure myself, so does anyone else have any suggestions or has anyone else found themselves in this situation?

Florence in the hebrides


ArgyllGran Report 9 Sep 2021 15:07

It's really up to personal preference., and maybe on how much has to be changed, or how confusing it might be for anyone looking at the tree in future.
There are no rules.

Personally, I would change the tree to show the correct relationships, but add notes to explain what had happened within the family at the time


nameslessone Report 9 Sep 2021 15:19

I agree wtih AG. But it might depend who you are going the tree for, as doing it one way or the other might upset someone.
If they are legally the child of the mother and not adopted by the grandparents then they ARE the child of the parent.


ErikaH Report 9 Sep 2021 15:21

I suppose it depends to a certain extent on whether or not anyone is likely to see the tree

BUT.....if the 'hypothetical' people know the truth, the obvious answer is ensure the tree is as accurate as possible, and for the sake of future research and future generations, honesty is to be advised.


Florence61 Report 9 Sep 2021 16:33

Thanks for your suggestions. I did suggest that as the granny is old but still living, maybe wait until they have passed and then write a "correct" tree. I think they dont want to hurt their feelings as they brought them up and legally adopted them.

I dont think the"grandchildren" know their mothers origin either.

I shall pass on your thoughts and mine and they will have to make their own decision after that.

Florence in the hebrides


nameslessone Report 9 Sep 2021 18:32

So the question, really, is whether you do a legal family tree or a birth family tree.

Very difficult if the ‘grandchildren’ don’t know either.


Florence61 Report 10 Sep 2021 00:20

Yes names very difficult. How do the people on WDYTYA cope with it after they find siblings and half siblings plus birth parents etc.Just dont know how on earth they would sort out their written family tree, would be very complicated.

Florence in the hebrides


Kense Report 10 Sep 2021 11:38

I suspect that the situation occurs quite often but the only people who know the truth are long gone. I have at least two cases in my tree where the mother is over 50 which is suspicious.


Kucinta Report 10 Sep 2021 23:14

I do two entries for the person, one under the adoptive parents and one under the biological parents, and add a note to each, referring to the other record. I normally add the detail, spouse, offspring etc, to the entry under the adoptive family. The entry under the birth family is pretty brief, but may say something like, adopted by great uncle X and wife after mother Y died in childbirth, see duplicate entry for further details.


Florence61 Report 12 Sep 2021 17:12

Thankyou for your suggestions as most helpful.