Patterns and Relationships of our Ancestors
Analyzing your ancestor’s network can be challenging. There are usually many people and often times, they are interconnected. Additionally, there are many different variables at play so you may be on the lookout for something specific for one question you are trying to answer. As you explore your ancestor’s FAN Club (Friends, Associates, and Neighbors), be sure to keep track of your discoveries by making notes to yourself.
- Are there people in your ancestor’s network, not identified as family, that have the same surname as that person?
- Does the same person keep appearing as an associate over a long period of time or as a neighbor across two or more locations?
- Do you see clusters of associates and neighbors that share a surname?
The people identified from the questions above are usually the ones that deem further research at a higher priority. This does not mean you want to discard the others that do not fit these criteria. Of course, if after researching the “high priority” people you still have no answers, you will want to move on to the other people in the FAN Club.
In addition to exploring patterns to figure out who requires further research, the FAN Club may reveal the possibility of two or more people merged into one. Learning to analyze your ancestor’s patterns and relationships is part of our Skill-Building: Breaking Down Brick Walls course.