Thursday, June 22, 2017

Double, Double

Toil and trouble: removing the list of duplicates from a ten-thousand-plus family tree. And a tree like mine is bound to have duplicates, if it's a tree with intermarried branches.

Every now and then, I remember the need to go back and review my family trees for duplicates. After all, if I'm dealing with a family where cousins married cousins—albeit in the distant past—I will eventually run into branches which were, in reality, branches I've run into before.

That's the case with my mother-in-law's Perry County, Ohio, family. Not that we're Ashkenazi Jews. Or have Cajun ancestry. But Perry County has its own kind of intermarriage. I call it endogamy-lite.

So, from time to time, when I get on a genealogical organizing kick, I remember to check the full listing of all people in my mother-in-law's tree on What I'm looking for are duplicate entries on that master list—those double entries where the names I entered when working on one side of the family show up in the work I then do for the other side of the family.

This can be tedious work. First I pull up the "list of all people"  tab on my Ancestry tree, then start scrolling through the universe of names, letter by letter, stopping when I find two in a row of the same first and last name. I wish there was a quicker way—some magic button which scans for consecutive entries containing the same name.

Granted, some of those duplicate names belong to father and son duos, for neither of which I've managed to glean any other telltale clues—like dates or places of birth or death. Still, each of those pairs need to be individually inspected for other similarities. Some—a significant enough number to make this pursuit worth my time—turn out to be exactly that: duplicates.

And so my tree shrinks by a small percentage each time I trim these two-headed twigs. It's yet another way I try to check for accuracy and prune those superfluous entries—something I've dedicated this week of outdoor extreme heat to doing, safe inside where I can enjoy the air conditioning. I can safely say this is one tree trimming exercise not many genealogical researchers ever need to do—except for those whose tree contains a good number of intermarriages among the same families. See what small, closed communities can do for your genealogical pursuits?


  1. Hope you are making progress. It will be downright cool here this weekend....60 for a high on Saturday. I shall be thinking of you! Don't worry we will get a heat wave sometime this summer. :)

    1. Yes, bit by bit, I'm whipping this tree into shape. Or, I suppose, pruning it...

  2. It's been a while. I wonder what I'll find.

    1. Unless you have cousins marrying cousins, Gayle, you shouldn't find too many duplicates. But it's still a good idea to scroll through the listing and see what you can spot.


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