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So, now you know that you and Cousin Rita are 3rd cousins, twice removed.  And you probably wonder if you should even bother to include Cousin Rita in your family tree since she’s so “removed.”  The answer is YES!  It is important, very important!  If I had only included my direct ancestral line when I started my search, I would never have found the cousins who have brought essential family information my way.  We may not “know” each other, but we share a common bond, swap vital information, and spur one other on in this quest to find our ancestors.

Why, just yesterday, I received a copy of my great-great grandmother’s obituary from my cousin, Ralph, whom I recently “met” on the internet.  If I didn’t include my great-grandfather’s siblings in my family tree, I would never have been introduced to Ralph and been able to swap family information with him.

In keeping track of siblings, cousins, etc., I even found a common ancestor between my husband and our son-in-law, which makes them 11th cousins, once removed!   My husband also has some ancestors in his direct line that were siblings.  This can get a bit confusing, but it’s so rewarding to find another piece of the puzzle!

Most of our ancestors had large families, so it’s essential you put everyone in a family group to keep them straight.  You should have a genealogy program on your computer by now, so it should be a fairly simple process.  This is how your tree grows wide!  Find out everything you can about the children, their spouses and their children and so forth.  Use the federal census records to find where they lived, their approximate age and where they were born.  Check free places on the internet like Find a Grave to see where they may be buried.  Do a Google search with their names in quotations and without.  Search the surname in places like GenForum and find others who may be searching that same name.  You could spend the day searching just one family! Enjoy!