Family Cluster Genealogy
Cluster genealogy involves researching the siblings and cousins of your ancestors. When I began my genealogical journey 25 years ago I concentrated on direct ancestors only. In recent years I have discovered that studying the family cluster allowed me a better understanding of my ancestor through family situations and dynamics. Having a better understanding of the family helped me to develop personalities behind the names and dates.
I have often found through looking into the records of siblings and cousins I was able to break through many roadblocks and brick walls. Records have disappeared through time, perhaps through a fire or flood, and it really does seem like a dead end. Through researching close relatives there may be records that have remained intact, with the answers available to break through to the other side.
Some families remain in communities for generations while others may change locations a number of times in a generation. Through knowing where the children in a family were born allowed me to not concentrate on just one community when pursuing an earlier ancestor.
Looking at the family cluster has brought a keener social understanding of family. The family facts, their occupations, number of children, whether these children remained in school or were required to work and help to support the household paints a clearer picture of where the family fit into society. The more I discovered about each individual has helped to fit together many puzzle pieces.
When I received my Ancestry DNA results my fuller family records was beneficial in understanding how many of my new cousin matched fit into my family tree. I hope through my shared trees my cousins have my “bigger picture” research methods valuable in assembling their own trees.
Some family researchers seek information beyond the family and into the community. Through discovering friends and neighbors hey are able to learn how their ancestor fit into their local society.
Don’t ignore the bigger picture in your family research as you may find the link through a non-direct ancestor which will allow you to break through to the other side!
How to Use Cluster Genealogy a.k.a. FAN Club Research
Genealogy Books Available At Amazon
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