Family Ancestry - Discovering Your History
- In the genealogy, the worker is preparing the history of one family for the benefit of the many descendants, while in an family ancestry history he is preparing a cross section of many a family for himself alone. In the former he is appealing to general family interest, while in the latter he is appealing only to his own fancy.
Definite form is recommended for an family ancestry history. Thus uniformity can be assured and the record of every person included will be arranged like the record of every other person in the history and its appearance and usefulness will be greatly enhanced. This form can be printed, which is preferable, or typed as needed. If it is typed, great care should be exercised to keep to the same arrangement throughout the work connecting family.
The temptation is, when the form is being typed as used, to omit those items for which it is known there is to be no need in connection with a particular individual, with the result that the whole sheet concerning family ancestry is shortened and the work is thrown out of its uniformity thus bringing the remaining items of the form in unusual places which will cause confusion.
The printed form is always to be preferred because there can be no change in arrangement of family lineage, and if any amount of work is to be done it will be found cheaper to pay the small additional cost of printing a form than to take the time to type it and guard against any changes and omissions. In a family ancestry history each set of ancestors, comprising husband and wife, with their family and history, will form a complete unit of the work, comprising from one to as many pages as are needed for the entire story.
If it is desired for any reason because of some prominence to record something of the lives of children who are not in direct line, and more room is necessary than the vital record of family ancestry, for which there is provision, this should be done on the parents' biographical sheet as this is their only point of contact with the history. There is no occasion to pick them up for later consideration.
They are not ancestors, and while their history may be very interesting as uncles, aunts and cousins several times removed, as collateral relatives they have no independent place in a family ancestry lineage. The only ones having any special interest, which will be continued in a unit of their own, being those next in line of succession as ancestors in the family. If it is desired to carry out the family of children other than direct ancestors it should be done in connection with their parents who are in direct line.
There should be no provision for side lines and if forms are used in recording them the work should be done with a special color of ink to show that they are extraneous and the sheets bound in the unit of their father and mother and paged as a section of their number. This will set them apart as entirely foreign to the work in hand and no direct part of the ancestry of the family. Adherence to these guidelines will result in a clear and consistent family ancestry.
The biographical sheet can be used to record more fully the history of the family than is done in a genealogy. In the latter only that matter should be recorded which is of general interest to the family as a whole or to some particular subdivision of it, while in the family ancestry anything of intimate activity should be included which is of interest to the writer.
It will be noted that the individual booklet of an ancestor and his immediate family may very easily cover a dozen or more pages and become somewhat of a monograph or brochure, which will constitute one unit of the family ancestry history. A family ancestry chart, carefully constructed and researched, will have lasting value.
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