Ten Effective Strategies on How to Build a Family Tree
Good organization is the basis for almost all genealogical research. Here are ten important tips to consider to help you stay organized when building your family tree.
1. Understand the Size of Your Family
Let’s start with the basics: how big is your family? The amount of time it takes to build your family tree is dependant on the size of your family.
Most people tend to underestimate family size because they base their estimate on known brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, etc. and they forget about their extended family. Let’s try to estimate the size of a typical extended family. This will help you gauge the amount of work required to build a complete family tree.
With some digging, most people can trace their family history back about 150 years. A generation is 32 years, so this represents five generations. That means being able to trace you family back to about the time of your great-great-great-grandparents. Generally, this will be the scope of your family tree.
How many people would typically be in a family tree of five generations? Well, you have two parents, four grandparents and eight great-grandparents. If you keep counting backwards, you will find you have 32 great-great-great-grandparents. That is, 16 great-great-great-grandfathers and 16 great-great-great-grandmothers. Counting yourself, this means you have a total of 63 parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. going all the way back to your great-great-great-grandparents.