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So far, I had been really successful with the use of the family tree maker, but one afternoon I noticed some glaring "gaps" in the "leaves". Remember that I had started referring to all of the documents and details as the leaves that fill out a tree, and which can be very untidy if you don't keep things pruned and raked up accordingly? Well, I had been raking and  pruning nicely, thank you very much, but then I realized that things were too nice and that I had been overlooking some pretty important details for the family chart.

"What is a family tree?" I once again asked myself as a sort of mental slap. "It isn't all sunshine and happiness!" Why did such a grim thought pop into my head? I had been somewhat intentionally avoiding one of the best sources for information possible - obituaries.

Here's what happened...I was looking at the information in my free family tree program, and realized that it wasn't as rich and full as it could be. I knew I had been doing quite a job filling up the data and getting most of the facts, but nothing was really popping out...it was looking like a nicely organized list.

That's when the somewhat ridiculous thought popped into my head..."what sort of fruits and nuts are growing on this tree?" What I actually meant was that the tree was lifeless and that I hadn't gone to any length to KNOW the people...I had only named them. This meant that it was time to turn around and really roll up my sleeves for true genealogy and family tree labor.

Remember a few blogs back when we talked about some clever tactics for finding the missing people on the seemingly empty branches? Well, now I realized that I had to look at every person on the family tree pedigree in the same manner. They had to each be a mystery that I assigned myself the task of solving.

What was the mystery? I had to learn at least one personal fact about each person. For instance, I quickly learned from perusing an old letter that Aunt Emma loved the smell of lilacs and that is the reason for all of the lilac shrubs in my grandparents back yard! I learned that a distant relative from the Revolutionary era held a patent on a buggy seat!

What is a family tree? It is data and facts for sure, but to make the genealogy a family tree it has to come to life...interestingly enough, that made me start thinking about the end of life too, and THAT is the subject of the next blog!

Jenny Carson Family Reunion Specialist  Was my post helpful? If so, please share!

Jenny Carson Famlu Family Reunion Specialist

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