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My Twig Theory

August 19, 2009

I tried something new today with my family tree and the photos that I took at the Seward Cemetery in Seward, Nebraska this Spring.  I started with a seemingly unrelated twig and worked my way back to an ancestor that I recognized from my main family tree!  It’s easier to find out who someone’s parents are than it is to find out who someone’s kids were. 

It was my first trip to this cemetery, so I took pictures of everyone I could find with the last name of WAIT.  All in all, I walked away with 15 headstones.  I only recognized a couple of names, so I filed the other 13 away hoping that as I filled in the information about the people I did know, I would also figure out who they are!  Well, it’s been a couple of months and I haven’t bumped into them.

This morning, I got an idea… how about if I build a separate tree on Ancestry.com starting with James B & Bena Gruber Wait.  I figured with a name like Bena, it would separate her from the pack and she would be easier to find.  At some point in time, a lot of the headstones in that part of the cemetery must have been redone because they all have the same shape and design on them.  James & Bena’s headstone looked older and was red instead of gray like the rest.  So they seemed like a good place to start!  It worked!

Within 20 minutes, I had linked 3 other headstones to that one and it turns out that James B’s father is Moses Woodruff Wait’s son!  Moses W Wait was my great great grandfather William Henry’s younger brother, their Dad was James G Waits from Ohio and he was already nestled into my tree.  I already had MW in my tree, but just hadn’t been able to find him in any Census after 1860 yet! 

I also found an obituary for Bena’s sister, Pauline Gruber Sears, that listed her siblings and uncovered her maiden name, so I added all of the info from that obit into Bena’s profile to link her to the rest of her family.  That’s a little gem I can flesh out later if/when I come back to that part of the tree!

Now I’m just poking around in there trying to attach my new little twig into the rest of my tree.  Anyone got some wood glue?  Lol!  Actually, the new Member Connect function is making it really easy.  I just connected to my other tree and am now going down the line and adding the missing information!

You know… piecing together your family tree is like putting a big puzzle together.  You may be over here on the left side piecing together what looks like a boat, but then you have all of these other pieces that you’re looking at, too.  Pretty soon, they start to take shape and you find that it’s actually a picture of a swan from the far right side of the puzzle.  Sooner or later, as you work your way out, you’re bound to find the pieces that connect them together so your picture is complete!  Of course, there are also times when you find that that swan actually belongs in completely different picture altogether, but at least you’ve put some pieces together for the owner of that puzzle.  It’s all give and take.  =)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 27, 2009 9:36 am

    Be careful about adopting other members’ twigs into your tree. Some of them may have wrong or misleading information. One fellow descendant on ancestry had placed a common ancestor of ours in a state where he wasn’t in that census year (he was in another state with his known parents and sister). Be sure to follow up with sources that you can be fairly sure of; doing your own source research, and looking in more than one source, will add reliability to your information. There may be lots of people with the same name, spread across different states. Be sure you’re barking up the right family tree!

    One lesson in your experience is the value of searching for collateral relatives. Getting to the sides of your direct line can yield valuable information (such as you found with Pauline Gruber Sears). That was a great move. Overall, this is a terrific way to expand your coverage. Just be sure of your sources, and don’t take anything for granted.

    Welcome to the blogosphere.

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