In the latest issue of Family Tree magazine, editor Helen Tovey introduces a new project – creating a family tree matrix. In our latest blog, we share this great project with the Ancestry Hour community, helping you to find red flags and promising leads in your genealogy research.
Sometimes when we come to a brick wall in our family history investigations it’s because we can’t find the details we’re after to enable us to continue searching. At other times it’s because we’ve found details but aren’t sure which of the information or paths ahead of us is correct.
For instance, perhaps you have an ancestor that you’ve found under several (apparently unaccountable) surnames through their lives in the records? Or perhaps you have an ancestor whose age varies wildly. By gathering a matrix of information about a person and their relations you can recreate (or reconstitute) the family – analysing your collection of data for red flags to be worried about, or promising leads.
How to create your family tree matrix
The column and row headings listed below are examples of table headings that you may like to include, when creating
your own collection of data for you to compare.
In this instance, the concept has been designed to relate to just one person (though it can include cross-references
to other people). The idea behind it is to help you build up a collection of clues that can be analysed side by side, to help you spot evidence that’s more likely, or less likely.
The premise is to think about the facts that we’re after and to have a range of records in which we can search for
them. When you have a puzzle on your hands, this log will give you the scope and space to record your details in a
layout that’s easy to study at a glance. You may like to copy these details into Excel to create your own spreadsheet.
Spreadsheet information to include
Date of birth
Place of birth
Date of marriage
Place of marriage
Date of death
Place of death
Place of burial
(with space in column 1 left blank)
Marriage (other; parish, banns)
Burial (other: parish, etc)
Family ‘lore’ (oral history)
Family records (birthday books,
Family Bible etc)
Good luck with your own matrix and we hope it helps you solve your family history mystery or eliminate those red herrings, saving your time and energy.
For more on Family Tree magazine, visit the website.
(image © Crazyphunk)