Genealogists have many reasons for doing the research. For me, the primary goal is to find family. And by that I mean the broadest definition of family, which includes not only ancestors and blood relatives, but also those associated people who were a part of their lives.
To find an answer to the question “where did we come from?” it is helpful to take a look at pedigree charts. These images trace our blood lines back through direct ancestors. They allow us to start with someone we know and work backwards.
Descendant charts help us to visualize the family unit and provide context for “who did they grow up with?” They give us a peek into the various collateral lines that tie us all together.
THE “FAN CLUB”
Here are the charts for those friends, associates and neighbors family groups (the FAN club – thanks to Elizabeth Shown Mills for coining the phrase). Perhaps not related by DNA, but oh so important to our life experiences.
The gedcom files bring everything together into “one big happy family.” All the messy collateral lines are here and it can get pretty complicated. But isn’t that a universal element of “family?”