Author Topic: Pruning  (Read 3459 times)

Offline Paul Caswell

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Pruning
« on: Saturday 30 May 09 00:56 BST (UK) »
Hi All,

Hello, my name is Paul and I'm an Ancestry addict.  ;D

I need to do some brutal pruning on my tree. It's not going to be fun.  :'( But I think it will be for the best. My tree is not 'unmanageable' but I do keep finding 'lonely' families who shouldn't really be there and I will never truly 'know' anything about them apart from names and places.

You know how it happens. You find the marriage of a granduncle so you trace her ancestry. After a few hours you find you've exhausted the census and added nearly 20 people and had a lot of fun finding middle names, spouses, GRO references etc.

So ... I really need to do some pruning.

Who do I keep and who do I say a fond farewell to?

Do I discard my Essex Turpins who I researched diligently, trying hard but failing to find a connection with the famous Dick Turpin?

Do I discard granduncle's spouse's tree?

Do I discard some of my more distant Caswell's?

Do I discard my one-name one-place study of Stockleys from Corfe Castle? Just eight are direct-line but several great and great great aunts married into them too.

I realise these are all questions I must answer myself but I would certainly appreciate any guidance on what not to delete.

Who would you be sure to keep?

1. Direct-line? - Presumably yes.
2. Their siblings?
3. Their siblings' partners?
4. Their siblings' children?
5. Their siblings' partners' parents?
6. Their siblings' descendants?
7. Their siblings' partners' ancestors?

Where do you stop?

Paul
Caswell - Durham(Jarrow), Northumberland(Berwick), Dorset(Netherbury)
Drury - Middlesex(Kensington), Shropshire(Oswestry/Selattyn)
Turner - Dorset(Parkstone)
Speight - Essex(Braintree), Kent(Gravesend), Westmorland(Kendal)
Stockley - Dorset(Corfe Castle)
Amey - Suffolk(Haverhill)
Cousins - Norfolk(Ketteringham)
Sears - Bedfordshire(Potton), Cambridgeshire(Gamlingay)
Census information is Crown Copyright

Offline nickgc

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Re: Pruning
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 30 May 09 03:52 BST (UK) »
Hi Paul,

I would start by discarding the "back-trees" of granduncle's spouse and other non-blood related families.  Personally I have never seen the point in researching this type of "non-connection" unless requested to do so by a first or second cousin, or that there was some fame or notoriety associated with the family.

From the list of 7 options you gave, I would say definitely dump #5 & #7 first.

My normal stategy is to get as much as possible on the closer generations.  Grandparents, 2x and 3x  (and maybe 4x)greatgrandparents sibling's families.  Beyond that I find that tracing the siblings of direct ancestors usually does not really give me anything but names that I hve no connection to and no real interest in.

Have fun!

Nick
McLellan - Inverness
Greer - Renfrewshire
Manson - Aberdeen & Orkney
Simpson - Hereford, Devon, etc.
Flett - Orkney
Chisholm - Scotland
Wishart - Orkney
Shand - Aberdeen
Pirie - Aberdeen

-----
Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there.   -Robert Heinlein

Offline Jean McGurn

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Re: Pruning
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 30 May 09 04:55 BST (UK) »
It may be a good idea if you do dump anyone not directly in your line, such as the Stockley's from Corfe,  that you keep in a separate tree folder for future reference, just in case anyone researching any of those names has hit a brickwall and you are able to help them to nudge a brick or two.

Jean

McGurn, Stables, Harris, Owens, Bellis, Stackhouse, Darwent, Co(o)mbe

Offline kiwihalfpint

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Re: Pruning
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 30 May 09 05:30 BST (UK) »

My normal stategy is to get as much as possible on the closer generations.  Grandparents, 2x and 3x  (and maybe 4x)greatgrandparents sibling's families.  Beyond that I find that tracing the siblings of direct ancestors usually does not really give me anything but names that I hve no connection to and no real interest in.

Have fun!

Nick

I have to agree with Nick ..... I can't see the point of searching for Grand Uncle's or your cousins spouses family and their families.   They aren't connected to me,

Also have to agree with Jean about keeping them in a separate folder, you obviously have done a lot of work on it.   The tree will be pruned, but with the extra twigs and leaves planted in another folder.

Best of luck.

KHP :)
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk


Offline Paul Caswell

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Re: Pruning
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 30 May 09 10:57 BST (UK) »
I agree with ditching #5 and #7.

What do people think of #6? These are all 'Cousins' in some form or other after all.

I currently have 3346 people in my database (my wife's tree is also in there).

Removing everyone not satisfying #1-#6 will remove just 588. If I choose to keep all of my Stockleys that goes down to just 471. That still leaves me with several lifetimes worth of research.

I need to be careful about half-relatives. What about offspring of earlier or later marriages? My grandfather lived with his stepfather James Thraxton almost all of his life as his real father left for South Africa soon after he was born so I am certainly keeping the Thraxtons.

I'm not sure I really need help here. Perhaps what I am really looking for is courage.  ::) Here I am needing to be brutal and beginning to weaken already.

Thanks for your input so far.

Paul
Caswell - Durham(Jarrow), Northumberland(Berwick), Dorset(Netherbury)
Drury - Middlesex(Kensington), Shropshire(Oswestry/Selattyn)
Turner - Dorset(Parkstone)
Speight - Essex(Braintree), Kent(Gravesend), Westmorland(Kendal)
Stockley - Dorset(Corfe Castle)
Amey - Suffolk(Haverhill)
Cousins - Norfolk(Ketteringham)
Sears - Bedfordshire(Potton), Cambridgeshire(Gamlingay)
Census information is Crown Copyright

Offline kiwihalfpint

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Re: Pruning
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 30 May 09 11:08 BST (UK) »
I've got all my cousins in, their offspring, their offspring and so on.

I've included the children from 2nd/3rd & 4th (yes 4th) marriages only because they have been descendants of my descendants.   Any adopted children are included as well.

You will find something that will suit you ....  When I first started I played around to see what suited me.

Cheers
KHP
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Just Kia

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Re: Pruning
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 30 May 09 12:04 BST (UK) »
The ones I, personally, see as being top of the list for keeping is anyone on the direct line and their siblings.
Second from top is spouses of siblings and their children.
After that I feel the connections are somewhat less, although obviously it's down to any individual to decide what matters to them.
Then again, I have a couple of instances where the same couple of families kept crossing paths and so have included parents of spouses as instinct suggests there's going to be a closer connection a bit further back.

I'd second (third?) the suggestions that anyone you "dump" you keep in a separate file - you never know if one day you might find a closer connection or if someone might seek the information you have.

Personally, my tree is getting a little large but I'm covering my family, hubby's and hubby's brother-in-law (by request) and I find it easier to keep them all together.
I'm also seeking all direct ancestors of me and all descendants of a few selected lines.
WIMBUSH - Everywhere :: MARLOW/JECOCK/JUSTICE - Northamptonshire/Warwickshire/Oxfordshire :: SCALES/BRIDGES/ENGLISH/SPINK/PETCH/GOOCH/COCKSEDGE - Suffolk :: GARRETT/GIBBS/FEARN - Warwickshire :: DEVOS - Scotland (Aberdeen)/France(Dunkerque) :: MURRAY - Ireland(Down)/Scotland(Lochs) :: TIGHE/TREACY - Cork

Stanley Charles SCALES b.1899 - Where are you?    ***   

Offline Paul Caswell

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Re: Pruning
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 30 May 09 13:22 BST (UK) »
Going through this process is quite interesting really. It has helped me think more clearly why I am tracing my ancestry. It seems to come down to just two reasons.

a. To find out about my family history, to discover who my ancestors were.

What did they do with their lives? Where and when did they do it? What social environments contributed to their decisions? What horrors and joys did they experience in their lives? What have I inherited from their genes?

b. To meet or make contact with people who can help me with 'a'.

One day perhaps I will be contacted by someone with a photo of James Thraxton and some information about his life and therefore my grandfather's life, attitudes and philosophy.


To this end:

I will keep #1-#3 for all generations (siblings and their partners).

I will discard #5 (siblings' partners' parents).

I will keep #6 (siblings' descendants) for anyone through whom I might one day get useful or interesting contacts. I haven't yet decided how many generations but three and possibly four feels right.

I will keep second partners and their descendants through whom I might one day get useful contacts.

I will think more about how far back I keep #4 (siblings' children). I am wavering between all and just some generations.

I will keep my Stockleys because I care about them.

I will clearly mark my most recent backup (last night) for reference.

Thank you all for your guidance. You have helped a great deal to clarify my thoughts.

Paul
Caswell - Durham(Jarrow), Northumberland(Berwick), Dorset(Netherbury)
Drury - Middlesex(Kensington), Shropshire(Oswestry/Selattyn)
Turner - Dorset(Parkstone)
Speight - Essex(Braintree), Kent(Gravesend), Westmorland(Kendal)
Stockley - Dorset(Corfe Castle)
Amey - Suffolk(Haverhill)
Cousins - Norfolk(Ketteringham)
Sears - Bedfordshire(Potton), Cambridgeshire(Gamlingay)
Census information is Crown Copyright

Offline leighton

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Re: Pruning
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 30 May 09 16:50 BST (UK) »
I think you should also keep #5:     siblings partner's parents

This can sometimes be useful when it comes to the naming of children.

leighton