If you’ve found your way here you may have noticed your family tree is getting a little crowded. You may have thought “Should I have multiple family trees?” then realised how much work it’ll take to separate them. I noticed far too late how many links I had accumulated and it was a lot of work to correct…
I explore below the various ways of splitting your family tree up to make it more manageable.
So should you have multiple trees in your family history?
Personally I would say yes. It makes it a lot easier in the long run. Now the way I have done it was to separate the families from Grandparents level and then have a 5th Tree for direct relations. This way works for me, it might not work for you. There are only a couple of ways of doing this but I have outlined the ways I’ve seen them below.
Split by Generation
While this is a lot of work managing 2 or 4 trees it allows for a better visibility in the long run. If you go back 10 generations you will have 2047 direct branches. Go from your Grandparents and go back 8 generations you will only have 512. You still have 2047 branches on your tree but you can maintain and monitor them a lot more efficiently.
Bare in mind though it can get a bit confusing if one part of the family marries into another part a few times. As all the records will need replicating across both trees and links will need to be shared between the trees. For example Maternal 6xGreat uncle marries Paternal 6xGreat Aunt.
This makes it a lot easier to make a gift for a loved one as well. As you can focus on the side of the family they really care about.
Split by Surname
Now this method is a lot trickier to complete as you need to still link where the surname fits into your tree. But overall it can work really well.
Take yours or your fathers surname and trace it back as far as you can. Once you have done this then take your mothers maiden name and trace it back the same. Then focus on your Grandmothers maiden name & paternal grandmothers maiden name and trace it back. It allows you to focus on one specific name at a time but you can also lose track of where the surnames link up in the long run. You could end up splitting out all the trees based on surname. You have to keep a strict record where this links into your tree though or it can become very messy very fast.
Splitting out your family tree is a good idea to do if you’re willing to put in the work. It can take more time to do but you can see the benefits in the long run. Though if you fancy splitting it into a forest or having one humongous tree, I wish you all the best with this wonderful hobby. It’s can become really enjoyable to find out your family history.