However, in practice, genealogy research is far more like a hub with spokes going out in every direction, and connections made from spoke to spoke.
The image here is how I perceive genealogy research in my own mind – and how I think most of us really approach a research problem. (click image to enlarge – and if the images doesn’t want to close, just click anywhere outside of the image and it will disappear)
As an example: If a birth certificate can’t be found, we don’t just keep looking through birth certificates. Instead, we move on to newspaper archives, marriage records, wills, county histories, plat maps, census - – any record that might help us pinpoint a ballpark birth date.
And, once our ancestor is found in one of those records the clues oftentime lead us off into yet other directions.
And yes, sometimes we still have to visit a library!
A quick example. I could not track down the John Hendrickson of the above image. I had him in Indiana at one time and then in Missouri at a later time but lost him somewhere in the middle. Then, by chance, I was skimming through a book on Jackson County, Missouri history and there was one single line about the marriage of John Hendrickson’s daughter. It said she had gotten married “upon the family’s return from Kansas”. That tidbit sent me off to Kansas, old newspaper articles, a Kansas county website, and long-forgotten family stories.
I guess if I really had to describe the research I’d call it a ping-pong ball!
Just wondering how you approach your family tree research. Please leave a comment below – I’m always open to learning new techniques, thought processes, and ideas.