Legacy Software had the “World’s Largest Family Tree Chart” at Rootstech in Salt Lake City recently. I wish they’d find a different type of family group to display instead of printing a chart that extends “as far back as possible.” It tends to make some think that the goal of research is simply to get back as far back as you can and that if your tree doesn’t go back that far then you simply must be doing it wrong or haven’t tried hard enough.
There has to be a way they can make a “big tree” without extending a pedigree back several thousand years. I get the impact a “big chart” makes in a convention center. But there has to be another way to put that many names on a chart without going back to the beginning of time to do it.
I’ve never been impressed with “large” charts, especially charts that claim to go back to Adam and Eve or even to the early Christian Era. There are a variety of issues with the accuracy of genealogical connections extending that far back.
A few random thoughts:
- Bigger is not always better.
- Further back is not always better.
- Being related to famous people is a questionable research goal.
- Accuracy (or at least being as accurate as possible) should be the focus.
The chart I want is one that easily shows multiple relationships:
- Like my grandfather and his first cousin–who was also his second cousin–and was also his third cousin.
- My third grade Sunday School teacher who was my Grandpa Neill’s first cousin and was married to my Granddad Ufkes’ first cousin, who was also my great-grandma Habben’s first cousin.
- My great-great-grandparents were step-siblings; his niece married her brother; his sister (mother of the niece) married her cousin as her second husband; and his other sister had a child with another of her cousins.
- One that easily shows my 6 descents from several different 16th century couples in the villages of Wiesens and Holtrop in northern Germany.
Multiple relationships (beyond double cousins) and pedigree collapse make for more interesting charts than simply a long line back to the beginning of time.