"If you can't get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance"
-George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cluster Research

So I've been reflecting on my recent genealogy break through on my Fitzgearld line and I'm sure some of you are wondering how I was able to track down all this information on one family.  The answer: Cluster Research. 

So what is Cluster Research....good question, I didn't know what it was either, but apparently I was doing it already AND I had been doing it for years.  Basically cluster research is reseaching collateral lines of your ancestors and researching other people your ancestors may have associated with to discover more information on your brickwall ancestors.

So here's what I'm talking about with real life examples...
My 2nd GrGpa is Thomas Fitzgerald. From his records, I have found that his parents were John and Emily (Tennyson/Tenison) Fitzgerald.  Through additional reserach I have found the John and Emily had the follow children: William, Mary, Emma, Thomas, Agnes, John, Margaret Elisabeth, James Francis, and Edward.  After some time I could not link John and Emily to their parents, I started researching on their sons to see if I could find additional information on John and Emily.  It has been almost impossible to find anything on their daughter....but not for lack of trying.  Through researching the sons additional information on John and/or Emily.  Through my research I found on Edward's death certificate that John was born in the City of Cork, Ireland....I have yet to confirm this,  but its a starting point.  So far tracking down Edward, the youngest son, has given me the most information on John and Emily.    It has definately proven to be beneficial to track information on my GGGGrandparents children. 

This is just a brief overview on Cluster research.  I highly recommend Gus Marsh's chat on Genealogywise.  There is a transcript online of Gus' chat on cluster reserach.  If you have brickwalls....even if you don't have brickwalls, you should be cluster researching.  Additional information and source supports the research that you already have.

Happy Hunting!