My husband likes to say that family trees should look like a tree (smaller at the top and getting larger as you get to the bottom) not look like a box! That’s because he doesn’t understand what the fascination is to find out all the children of the 5th great aunt or uncle and their descendents. I have tried to explain that sometimes when you find one of those far-reaching relatives that they might end up pointing you in the general direction of where your primary ancestors were living way back when.
For example I have the reunion minute book of the Johnson-Shively reunions beginning in the early 1900s and going through the early 1940s. Most of the minutes are very stiff – except sprinkled throughout are a few death dates and marriage dates. Other family names are mentioned. Searching for some of the other family names made it possible to find primary ancestors. If I hadn’t “branched out” (so to speak) I may still be hitting that brick wall.
As I was thinking about that this morning, I thought it would be interesting to make a list of the number of close relatives I have. Here’s my family stats:
Grandparents – 4
Parents – 2
Siblings – 2
Children – 4
Grandchildren – 3
First Cousins – 16
First Cousins Once Removed (children of First Cousins) – 30+ (the plus is because I know one of my first cousins has some children but since he won’t correspond with anyone, I don’t know how many!)
Aunts – 5 (two of them died as infants)
Uncles – 5
Great-Aunts (sisters of my grandparents) – 7 (this includes 2 half-sisters of my paternal grandmother)
Great-Uncles (brothers of my grandparents) – 17 (this includes 1 haf-brother of my paternal grandmother)
Nieces – 1
Nephews – 2
Great-Nephews – 2
Great-Nieces – 1
(End of Update)
Maybe I’ll get to other relatives soon! Have you counted up the number of close relatives?