Why should I add information to my tree when it is not even my family branch?
That is a good question and I will try to answer it with a few examples. (See update at very bottom)
The first example we will look at is the family tree of Ardath L Monroe.
In 1921 her parents and sister were killed so she was left alone.
If we do not add the relatives of her mother we will miss a big part of her life story
By having her mother’s side of the family on the tree we will be able to see what happened to her once she was alone.
In 1926 we find her listed in a city directory living at 318 W Frank. Since we know that her parents were killed in 1921 we want to find out who she is living with, so we check the listing by address section of the city directory for 318 W Frank. We see that a Clarence Wright lives at 318 W Frank.
We then look at the “W’s” to find Clarence Wright and find a Clarence C Wright with spouse Rebecca. If we did not have Ardath mother’s relatives on the tree and had not collected records for those family members (additional information) we would not know that “Nancy R” is “Rebecca”; she is listed as Nancy on some records and Rebecca on others. Without the additional people and records we would have a hard time making the connection between Monroe and Wright.
The second example is the family of John Harbison.
If we just following John Harbison to his daughter Nancy to her son James Baird we will miss a vital part of the family tree.
By adding just a few more people to the tree we will be able to have a more complete history of the family.
Nancy’s son Henry Baird married Lucetta McKibben.
Lucetta McKibben’s mother is Nancy Harbison’s sister, making Henry and Lucetta first cousins.
The third and final example is the family of Maurice W E De Bunsen.
If we just followed his line we would not know where he was as a child, since his father was a British diplomat and he and his wife traveled all over the world without the children. The father and mother show up in census records but the children are not with them. Where are the children? If we don’t have additional branches on the tree then we may never find them.
Maurice shows up in 1861 as Moriety on the census record living with his uncle’s family. By having additional family members on the tree we will be able to find records for those family members and sometimes those records will contain the names of other people such as Moriety William De Bunsen which is Maurice’s childhood name. Without additional information we would know that Moriety and Maurice are the same person. We would also miss the connection because the uncles’ name is Barclay not De Bunsen.
Update – Oct 2018: Here is another example of a different named person living with a family, I have not solved this mystery, yet. – “Who Is Sylvia Gard?” – https://newspaperproject2012.wordpress.com/2018/09/16/who-is-sylvia-gard/
So now you see why it is important to include other branches of the family on your tree. It may be a little bit more work and take a little bit more time but in the end it can be time well spent.
Jose from Clarkston, Michigan