Monday, January 23, 2017

How Did I Get So Many People In My Tree?

                                                              Baby Coconut trees, Vietnam 2008, Photo Credit: McKay Savage

I received a few comments about my main working tree after posting it in a couple of  Genealogy Facebook groups wondering how I ended up with 97,000 plus people so I thought I would explain how I managed to let this happen. When I began researching my children's family tree I started with collateral research, though at the time I considered it my due diligence in recording each family's history. Then I joined Ancestry and began using FamilySearch to help fill in some of the records I was missing. In 2009, I began adding my information into an online tree at Ancestry. Using my research and chasing down the little leaf hints, adding photos, and stories.

When I first started I had list of who I thought should be included in a family unit. Using myself as an example it goes like this:

  • Name: Dawn M. Williams
  • Parents: Bill and Nina Williams
  • Siblings: Patty, Billy, Kathy and Susie
  • 1st Husband: Private
  • Children: Kenny and David
  • 2nd Husband: Private (Only included because of public records)
  • Children: None
  • 3rd Husband: Tommy Kogutkiewicz
  • Children: None

My first husband and I have children together and it was his family I started researching first. I have both his paternal and maternal lines going back to the late 1600's. I also included his subsequent marriages and children going back 5 generations for all parties whenever possible. As it turns out his current wife and my father are distantly related!

I have included my husband Tommy's family lines because he is the love of my life and also because his paternal grandparents immigrated from Poland in the early 1900's and I am looking forward to tracing his lineage. I have included all of Tommy's siblings and their spouses, their children and grandchildren. I have also included the spouses maternal or paternal lines so that their children have a complete tree too.

I have 4 siblings so I have included their spouses and children. I have also completed their spouses lines so that my nieces and nephews have completed trees to at least 5 generations where I can. When my son, David, announced his engagement I immediately began working on my daughter in law, Cassie's tree and filled it out as far as possible so that my future grandchildren would already have a tree waiting for them.

As you can see my collateral research allowed me to add lines that were not always necessary but showed a more complete picture depending on which family you are looking at. There are some families were siblings from one family married siblings from a different family. Then there are also cousin marriages that make looking at a pedigree chart interesting. Then there are those lovely family members that had lives that fall into the following categories: tragic, interesting, inspiring or legendary.

Finally, there are the Bright Shiny Objects (BSO's) and the rabbit holes I followed to see if I could prove a relationship to a celebrity such as a President, musician or historical figure or try to see if I (or my children) could join a lineage society such as the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Mayflower Society.

My goal for this project is to prune down the number of "unnecessary" lines I have accumulated in the last 36 years. I mean do I really need that 5th cousin's spouse's line past their parents? Do I even need their parents if I choose to put the parental information in the "notes and/or comments section" of genealogy program? 


Savage, McKay, Wikipedia ( : 2017), "File: Vietnam 08-142-baby coconut trees," Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Welcome to Seedlings from Dawning Genealogy

Bare Oak Tree - Source: Wikipedia Commons

I was recently in one of the many genealogy related Facebook groups where a question was asked, "who do you include in your research?". I replied with "I include everyone"! I then went on to explain that my main tree is currently near 98,000 people strong but that I was going to begin dismantling this tree into much smaller and more manageable trees. Then a member of this group suggested that I start a new blog about explaining my process step by step. For the record here at the stats for my primary tree: 97,170 people, 15,204 photos, 4,350 stories and 104,142 records. Starting another blog was not on my agenda for 2017. However, I think it could be beneficial especially to someone who is new to genealogy.  So I am here to tell you that this is how my new blog, Seedlings from Dawning Genealogy came to be reality.

My goal is to make my tree smaller and more manageable however, I would like to share with my readers how I am doing this and the steps in my process. One of main objectives is to build these new trees in my genealogy software program first then upload that tree into Ancestry. I have decided to use free basics version of Ancestral Quest 15 for this project. For now I plan to post once or maybe twice a month on the process and the progress I have made


Wikipedia ( : 2017), "File: Bare Oak Tree".

© 2017, copyright Dawn M. Kogutkiewicz, writer and genealogical researcher of Seedlings from Dawning Genealogy. All rights reserved.