Expanding Your Family Tree: Through Descendancy Research

August 19, 2015  - by 

Your GPS helps you find where you are and navigate to where you are going. Similarly, the Genealogical Proof Standard helps you navigate with confidence through your family tree by making sure your information is accurate. Lisa McBride shared the standards that must be met to qualify the people on your tree with these five elements:

  • A reasonably exhaustive search – to ensure each person is unique.
  • Complete and accurate source citations – you look for, find and post sources.
  • Analysis and correlation of the collected information – you slow down and accurately interpret what the record is telling you.
  • Resolution of any conflicting evidence – you seek and resolve conflicts.
  • A soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion – you write complete and clear conclusions for why you are attaching a source to this person on your tree.

Many people think all their family history work has already been done. Lisa showed us how we can find new cousins.


Lisa talked about the perspective you look from when trying to find new cousins to add to your tree. You can look from your own perspective backward as far as you can go and only find well researched names, OR you can select an ancestor already on your tree who was born well over 110 years ago but after 1830 when civil records began to be kept more consistently, turn around and look forward from their perspective.

From that angle, you will see their expanding tree that will include many more people than your ascendancy view would hold.


  • Anyone who lived beyond 20 years may have been married – if you see no spouse – go hunt for one.
  • Approximate birth dates and no death dates are an indication that more research needs to be done
  • Gaps of 4 or more years between children’s birthdays may indicate a missing child
  • Parents of in-laws
  • Cemeteries and Obituaries
  • Use GPS to verify records are for YOUR cousin!


Once you’ve chosen an ancestor to start a descendancy search, some helpful tools Lisa mentioned include:

There IS hope for you to find new names to extend your family tree if you know how to look for it!


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  1. Most of the links at the bottom of the article are wrong or coded wrong.

    You are using MailTo: HTML tags on some which launches email instead of a web browser or browser tab.

    Kinpoint is no longer on the web. It looks like they are out of business.

  2. Very good! I personally love working with Puzilla as it works exceptionally well looking forward from ancestors back in the early 1800s.

  3. RE Debra Woods quoting Lisa McBride on “who to research – parents of in-laws”.
    Past advice (FamilyTree User’s Guide and Dennis Brimhall 2014) was not to go “up” non-related lines. Has this policy changed?

    1. No. The policy has not changed. Parents of in-laws are not a suggested research option for LDS temple work. However, I do put their information in Family Tree when I find them. In the class we talked about the Friends, Associates and Neighbors principle of research(per Elizabeth Shown Mills). Any information about collateral lines may help expand your own line when you come to a brick wall.

  4. Found this very interesting. Have done this with sisters of my ancestor made it easier to find their descendants?

  5. There is some excellent information here. I tank you for it. My concern is that I am unable to get sound with the “Webinars” at the bottom of the article, and I would like to share this information with others. I would appreciate your assistance.

    1. Joyce, does your sound normally work on your computer? You could maybe try using a different internet browser to see if it works.