Genealogy tip of the day: July 15, 2015

Today’s tip is about collateral lines.

Many people only research their direct ancestors: parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on. If they find information on the children in these families, they might not keep it because those people aren’t their ancestors, just relatives of ancestors.

Finding out about collateral ancestors — the children in those family groups, or your direct ancestors’ siblings and cousins — can be valuable to your research.

Not sure if you have found the correct family in the 1880 census? If you know who the children are, you can pinpoint whether John and Mary Smith you see are the right ones. You can also check the neighbors in the census to see if there are any known relatives living nearby.

Is this Thomas Jones the father or son? If the age isn’t listed, you can look at who else is in the household.

Sometimes a parent goes to live with a child when they are older. If the child isn’t your direct ancestor and you don’t look for the other close relatives, you could miss finding that person.

Happy hunting!

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