Saturday, 30 April 2016

A-Z Challenge 2016: Z is for Zigzag

Most people think that genealogy goes backwards in a straight line.  And so it does...for the most part.  Pedigree charts march in a straight line (whether left-to-right or up-to-down).  Lineage-based genealogy software shows children, parents, grandparents.  In fact, your research only pauses long enough for you to add in those fifteen children that great great grandma had.
And then you reach a brick wall - a 'dead end', a cul-de-sac.  But this is where zigzagging comes in.  Don't just go in a straight line and stop.  Look at the children.  Their spouses.  Their children and their spouses.  Look at their FANs (friends and neighbours), the place where they lived.  Did they own land?  Were they likely to be witnesses to somebody else's Will?  Were they a 'black sheep' and were reported in the newspaper for a crime?  Did they emigrate? (and that's why you can't find them?)  Zigzagging can often be more fun than researching in a straight line.

© 2016 Ros Haywood. All Rights Reserved


  1. Hi Ros - well done on these - an excellent resource for any of us who wish to know more about how to find things genealogical in this country ... and yes our family trees zig zag around don't they ... cheers Hilary

  2. Waht an imaginative post for the letter Z! I liked it, as a very good reminder to us all. I have tried to Zig Zag through my major brick wall looking a friends and neighbours, witnesses etc. but I have to admit I am still no nearer tracing the background of my grandmother -not even a birth certificate.

    1. Thanks, ScotSue - it was so good to 'see' you.

  3. Wise words.
    So pleased to have found your blogs which are now firmly planted in my RSS reader.

    1. My Surname Study has zigzagged into Australia - and the records are brilliant! Mother's maiden name - wonderful!

  4. What good advice to end your Challenge on, Ros and once more it's been great learning even more about geneology :) Woo-hoo we made it!! Pats on the back all round, I think!
    Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace



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