Fan Out Your Search for Better Results
Do you trace your direct-line ancestors only? Or do you explore other branches and in-laws when working on your family tree?
I believe strongly in gathering as much information as possible and presenting a more complete timeline for each family in your tree.
Most of my ancestors simplified my genealogy research by coming to America in a relatively short time span, and living within a few city blocks of one another.
Recently I was tracing one ancestor's sister through the years in census forms. In one census I found her brother Giovanni living with her. Giovanni had been missing to me, and he wasn't showing up in a search for his name.
If I hadn't been tracking his sister, I might never have found Giovanni.
This is also a good way to find a widowed ancestor.
When following the records for one of your great aunts or great uncles, you may find your widowed great great grandmother living with them. That helps narrow down the stretch of years when your great great grandfather died.
I guess you could say I prefer my family tree wide like a maple, not tall and thin like a spruce. Spread out and see how your family tree flourishes.