I was watching the latest episode of Ghost Hunters this morning. They investigated the Stephen Crane House in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It really got me thinking about those extra branches of the family tree. For the record, this isn’t a random subject. There is thought and a little documentation that Stephen Crane was related to the Thorwards through the Plume family. I even think the Cranes married into the Plumes. So it’s never going to be a blood relation for me. Does that really matter though? How interesting is it to see how we all connect together in these ways. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’d be cool to be related to someone who has their own Wikipedia page. Wikipedia pages are the scale in which I judge things if you didn’t notice. (^.^) I refuse to be caught into the trap of searching only for those things though. All of my ancestors are special and memorable in their own rights, I don’t value any over the others. Does that mean I should just stick to my main line and forget about all those beautiful branches?
Who do you leave out? Where do you draw your line? How can you make that decision and not regret it when the tree winds back around? How sad does a tree look when it’s not full and brimming with many leaves and branches? I just can’t imagine it. I’ve always been torn on this issue and I’ve even had to clean out my family file a few times because I did get a bit carried away. One day I got real ornery and told myself no one gets excluded! Everyone plays on this team! Since that day, I’ve made a point to note the families of people who marry into my related families. To compromise with the saner part of myself, I don’t go in depth on these families. I find the parents of the person who married in. Most times, I try to find their birth or death records and any census information I can find. I make sure to note all the siblings of the person who married in. That’s a practical thing though. If you’d ever seen my family file, you’d know how many brothers and sisters married the brothers and sisters of their in-law. (Mays, Slusher, Click, Whitt families; I’m looking at you).
I just don’t know if I’ll ever resolve myself to excluding people. Whether it be a first cousin, fifth cousin two times removed or someone who is the brother of the spouse of my 8th cousin; everyone is welcome in my tree. Someday I may even learn your story. Everyone deserves their story told, and I’m determined to find them. I’m realistic though, I know I can’t do this for everyone. That’s why many people stick to just their main line. I understand their thought process completely, I just don’t know if I could limit myself in that way. I’ve always been a collector. It just seems now I’m collecting people instead of toys and books! My only question is, How on earth will I manage when I get married? Even more people, I’ll need to have an office just for my genealogy for sure!