So, you have been spending a lot of time answering that original question: "what is a family tree". Some of you may throw your hands in the air and proclaim that a family tree is a headache, and others may say that it is an adventure. This large variation between opinions is actually common because some families just have a lot more "documentation" than others.
To keep things as easy as possible, however, remember the steps we've followed up until this point:
- Getting Organized - start with a single surname and follow that all of the way back. Use the format of the family tree chart template to guide you. Identify if there are local or geographic connections to the different surnames you will research as this can allow you the chance to "kill two birds with one stone" in your research;
- Start Pruning - remember that we asked you to "pick sides" a bit and use the portion of the family with the largest amount of leaves available in order to get a good start on the search for family tree data? Give yourself a bit of a break and conduct a search for history and family tree information from the most convenient sources because this will allow you to begin honing your research skills;
- Shake the Branches - we noted that some families are not as easy to gather details about ancestry for family tree work. We suggested that some good techniques included a reunion (of course!), a visit to the Census data, a road trip, and sending messages to forums and blogs. This also meant that we were aware of your growing collection of family chart data, and that you needed to get organized;
- Managing the Leaves - family history and genealogy data can be bulky and instantly overwhelming. Though we said that "step one" for a search for family tree data was to get yourself organized, we re-emphasized this essential behavior in the fourth step of the process too because we pointed out that anyone who gets themselves organized also begins to notice all kinds of gaps and flaws with the family tree chart too;
- Covering Those Gaps - cleaning up and organizing things means exposing any weaknesses. When you are really wondering how to answer "what is a family tree" you have to recall that it is people that fill in those lines and not just "data". This means that you have to fill the free genealogy and family tree tables and charts with at least one personal fact about each person (if possible).
In the last blog in this series we'll finish reviewing the steps you need to follow and give you some last good "pointers" for total success!
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