25 July 2012

Using Reverse Genealogy to Overcome Brick Walls

Original Image from Blog Post

Sometimes it’s the seemingly littlest “tips” that have the biggest impact on our genealogical research!  This post from last year on Family Tree Magazine’s blog about “Reverse Genealogy” reminds us a technique that many genealogy researchers overlook and shouldn’t!

It’s easy to get tunnel vision when researching an ancestor. But your research is best served by considering your focus ancestor as part of a community. (Emily Anne Croom, author of the best selling genealogy guide Unpuzzling Your Past, call this "cluster genealogy.")

Not only is your great-grandfather a member of his nuclear family, but also of an extended family. When you do reverse genealogy, you go a step beyond him and then research forward, broadening your search to his relatives and even friends. Any of the folks in your ancestor’s “cluster” could have provided him with housing, worked for him, asked him to witness a document or attended his funeral...

Read the full blog post

On a related note, there is a YouTube video of Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak talking about “Reverse Genealogy: Finding the Living.”

Have you had a “Reverse Genealogy” success?  If so, please share!

Editor’s Note: There is an ongoing course, Reverse Genealogy: Working Forward to Break Down Brick Walls offered by Family Tree University for those interested in pursuing this concept further.

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