Adventures in Family Tree Research Online — Tips for Doing Genealogy

 various online family trees truly implausible stuff, like,  mothers who died years before their supposed children were born; and  Fathers having children at age 124.  And people born earlier than their grandparents.  So, before you add someone to your family tree, pause and check for basic plausibility.   If you are saying a certain woman is someone’s mother, was she of child-bearing age and still alive when the person was born?   Are the life dates (birth and death) of everyone in your tree  within plausible limits?  Is everyone born after their parents are born and before their mother’s death?  It’s just good basic family-tree housekeeping to make sure this is true.    Names tend to repeat across generations within families and if you are sloppy, it’s easy to plug a great grandfather into a blank rectangle where a great great grandfather or 3-greats grandfather belongs.

New Connections With Living People

On there are ways to send messages to makers of family trees that you encounter.  These are likely to be distant cousins you didn’t know you had.  For example:  In some of the cardboard  boxes in my uncle’s garage were things from my great grandmother, including a photo album.   In that album, was a tiny photo of a man and it was labelled “Mark Pogue.”   The name meant nothing to me.  I was not aware of any “Pogue” branch to my family.    But on I found some Pogues and on I found some of my ancestors were buried in the “Pogue Cemetery” in Bosque County, Texas.  Mark Pogue was there too.   So I became intrigued.  

 I sent a message to the Pogues on and they were excited to receive copies of the photo of their ancestor.    I learned that Mark Pogue had married a sister of my great great grandmother.    I also learned that there was a biography of her son by a prior marriage, and that this biography described a lot of family history, including the story of his mother and grandparents fleeing from Missouri during the Civil War.    I obtained a copy of this obscure, out-of-print biography through inter-library loan from my local public library and enjoyed reading it quite a bit.

And here’s another example of a new  connection with a living person, sparked by genealogical research:   I found the 1895  passport application of my German-American Jewish great grandfather on   There, I learned the name of the little town in Germany where he was born in 1860:  Kobyla Gora.       It was Germany then, but it’s Poland now.   Recently I got an email from a guy in Poland seeking information about building a sailboat (I sell sailboats on the internet).   I helped him with his sailboat question, then looked at his physical address and saw he was near the area my ancestors were from.   So, I turned the conversation to the history and geography of that area, telling him about my roots there, and he was glad to help me.   It was a nice connection and I learned a bit more about the history of the area and the various place names relevant to my family (many names changed when the area went back to Poland).

Good Luck With Your Family Tree Adventure

I hope these examples of what I found spark your curiosity about what you may find  about your ancestors.    And I hope the information I have given you about,, and all the other resources you can find through Google is useful to you in your own family tree adventure.

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