how to

Following all the branches – why I am tracing the families of my ancestor’s siblings.

I’m identifying the children and grandchildren of my Luxembourger ancestor’s siblings. I’ve heard all the reasons not to: waste of time, waste of space. So, why am I going forward?

Because Luxembourg-American families tended to maintain strong connections. Figure it this way. You come over with your brothers and sisters in the late 1800s. You’ll probably keep in touch at least as long as your siblings are alive, which means to about the 1950s.

That means that those siblings and their families might be able to tell me more about my ancestor’s life. Oral tradition tells me that the families shared letters and photos. I’d love to see what they looked like!

It can also be a great way to get around brick walls. On more than one occasion, it turns out those other branches have held the document necessary to identify where an ancestor came from, where they were born or died and what they did.

This kind of work is time consuming and requires attention to detail, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Just think how much fun it can be to discover new cousins. Right now, I’m untangling the Washington state branches… Next stop, Canada.  And I can’t wait for the next client project with a similar focus!


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