Have you ever been given genealogy info on the spouse of someone in your family tree and it contains something like, “Daughter of Ken Casey and Vivian Riker”? Is this info something you should save in your tree? Where should you save it?
Yes, I have seen this MANY times. I often see this on FindaGrave memorials as well and I wonder why more people don’t search for and add the links to the parents instead of just adding it to the bio text. I have made it a practice to do so and I hope it is helpful for others.
I think that yes, you should save info on parents of spouses. It substantiates the spouse of a relative and may provide valuable clues to help figure out relationships and whereabouts for people that you are actually related to. Where do I draw the line you ask? Well, I do record multiple spouses, but I may not record children of those marriages. Sometimes I do, if I feel that the info could be useful down the line. You never know when a cousin-by-marriage will have info on the family, or even those golden nuggets – pictures! While I do save the parents of spouses, I draw the line there. I’m not going to chase back lines that aren’t related to our family at all. When I first started I added everything to my tree and when I posted online I got more cousin inquiries from non-related lines than related! That took up a lot of time so I made the decision then that I had to limit it somewhere.
Where should you save it? I created a Custom Field in FTM called “Spousal Parentage”. First I add the names and sub any missing info with five underscores:
Joe SMITH & Jane _____
Next I attempt to find them in FindaGrave and add the FaG numbers after each like this:
_____ SMITH (12345) & Jane DOE (67890)
I have found several useful ways to search FaG to find the parents:
- Search the same cemetery for the surname. For men you can search using the handy links that FaG provides below the memorial info. You can also try searching the county and possibly even the state but that may return more hits than you would like. For women you will need to click on the name of the cemetery and then search it using the surname desired.
- If that doesn’t show anyone then I do a new FaG search and enter the father’s first name, surname and then:
- Year Born=the person’s birth date – 10 years (i.e., if they were born in 1811 I would enter 1801. This is a save number because the parents didn’t have children before they were 10 years old.
- Next change Exact to Before (very important).
- If that doesn’t have any results try entering the state the person was born in as the parents may still live there, then try the state they died in.
- When you get hits look to see if there is a link to the spouse, if so then, more than likely, you have the correct parents. If not, then search the cemetery because they might just not be linked up.
This is a progressive and logical way to search for the parents. I have had much success with it and I hope it helps you too.