1) Pick one of your four great-grandparents – if possible, the one with the most descendants.
2) Create a descendants list for those great-grandparents either by hand or in your software program.
3) Tell us how many descendants, living or dead, are in each generation from those great-grandparents.
4) How many are still living? Of those, how many have you met and exchanged family information with? Are there any that you should make contact with ASAP? Please don’t use last names of living people for this – respect their privacy.
I seem to always use my Bergmeister Family as an example for SNGF, but that is the family in which I have not only had success in tracing ancestors backward, but also success in tracing cousins forward. So for my example of my family’s increase, I will use my great-grandparents Joseph Bergmeister (1873-1927) and Marie Echerer Bergmeister (1875-1919). Their descendants are:
- 5 Children (all deceased) – I only remember meeting 2.
- 14 Grandchildren (8 living / 6 deceased) – I only met 3 of the living and 1 deceased.
- 30 Great-grandchildren (28 living / 2 deceased) – I met 7 and “e-met” 6 more.
- 48 Second great-grandchildren (all living, not counting some adopted and step-children) – I’ve met 9.
- At least 2 Third great-grandchildren so far…
As best I can determine, Joseph and Marie Bergmeister have 99 descendants so far – not bad for a couple that didn’t live long enough to see their youngest child reach adulthood. Marie was just shy of 44 years old when she died. Joseph died at age 54, but he was able to see his first 3 grandchildren before he died.
Research on this branch has been satisfying because of all the second cousins I have come to know, mostly via email. At least one descendant of each of the four other Bergmeister children are in contact with me, and we are beginning to discuss the possibility of a family reunion! Stay tuned here for more details. I still have work to do in getting to know some more of my cousins, but this is by far the branch of the family that is the most interested in our history.