Saturday, June 1, 2013

Siblings, Worth the Effort?

Someone on The Organized Genealogist Facebook Group Page asked a very interesting question.  She wanted to know how much effort you should put into researching siblings of your direct line.  I gave a short answer but want to expand it a bit on the blog.

I try and get complete information on the  siblings of my direct line ancestors.  At the very least, full name, date and place of birth, full name of spouse, date and place of marriage, date and  place of death and place of burial. Many times when you are researching a sibling you will find out more information about your direct line.  The siblings share the same parents as your direct line ancestors do.  For example, I was doing research for a client.  The person of interest had five siblings. I requested death certificates for all six people.  The names of both parents were listed on every death certificate EXCEPT on my client’s person of interest.  If I hadn’t checked the siblings I wouldn’t have had that information.  In this case it was very important because the parents died right after they came to this country and were not listed on any American census record.  This is how I was able to figure out who the parents were and I was then able to track down more information on them.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Siblings research is also very beneficial for DNA testing - When you take the autosomal DNA test (ftDNA's Family Finder, 23andme's Relative Finder, and's AncestryDNA), then all of the children of the siblings will be "cousins" to you and their descendants can show up as DNA matches to you. If the siblings were females, then the children will have their husbands' surnames, so it is important to capture their names as well.

  2. I think that more of an emphasis will be put on DNA testing as time goes by. It is still cost prohibitive for a lot of people especially when you consider that the more DNA tests you collect, the more comprehensive picture you will paint. I have done three (all three bought when they were on sale!) I have done an autosomal on myself, a 37 marker yDNA on my uncle to capture my paternal line and a 37 marker yDNA on my husband. I have had limited success but as more people take the tests I will get more hits.