Your family tree has hundreds of lines. As you go back in time beyond three or four centuries, it turns into thousands. This is because the number of your ancestors doubles with each generation going backward. You have four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, 32 great-great-great grandparents, and so on. You obviously can’t just jump into your family tree and swim around in the leaves, hoping to find something useful. You have to focus on one line at a time, and in doing so, be selective with your research.
Decide which branch you want to work on first. Then, decide if you are only going to take it back to the first immigrant to North America, or if you are going to follow it back as far in time as you can. Don’t forget the female lines as you do your research. They are just as important to your lineage as the male lines. Once you’ve done enough work to satisfy yourself on one branch, move on to another, with the same amount of focus.
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