Do you prune your family tree? Do you keep your family tree, and your primary research, limited to those of your direct paternal and maternal lines? Do you allow only blood relatives in your tree? Alternatively, do you let your family tree grow wild and connect in all sorts of in-laws and out-laws through marriages and do you trace those families as well?
I have personally chosen the latter route and have agreed to bring in everyone that I can connect through a marriage. This clearly opens me up to an exponentially larger number of individuals ultimately but I admit that I do not chase them all down with the same energy. Clearly, I have spent considerable time on my wife’s family as well as the family of my grandmothers and their siblings.
I do place a special emphasis on being able to trace my paternal line, and all it’s descendants, cleanly and have done that. I am also very intrigued by the connections that come up when I pull in the marriages and the siblings by marriage. Through this means I can draw a connection to Davy Crockett, a lieutenant colonel that died at Valley Forge under George Washington, and if we believe all of the data one particular line that is researched back into the 14th century European nobility.
This for me adds spice to the genealogy quest and I have met some wonderful people along the way who were not blood relatives but distant connections through married cousins 4 times removed and the like. Having spent time this way I have begun to appreciate that the “six degrees of separation” is likely more than just an anecdotal observation.
Where do you stand? I am interested in how many of you keep a neat and tidy family tree of blood relative and how many let their tree grow wild.