02 February 2019

Who to Include? Everyone, of Course!

2012 Mini Family Reunion
Some family historians wrestle with the question of how to document non-blood relations.  Should step-children go on a family tree?  How about adopted children?  As keepers of the family record, we are not just involved in the past, defining the relationships of our ancestors, we also deal in the present day.  We document today’s births, marriages, divorces, and all the other myriad life events of the present-day greater family.  In fact, one of our most important roles is to tell the detailed story about the lives of today’s family so that we will leave future family historians with a better understanding than they would be able to glean from public records alone.

There are those who question how much detail to include for either the present or past family narrative.  If there was a second marriage and step-children were brought into the fold, should the tree include those children?  How about their children when they have them?  My answer is that when documenting our family histories, we are not here to just detail the DNA line.  It is our duty to include everyone and everything.  I take this position for several reasons.