21 December 2008

Fruits from the Tree

What happens if you throw a party and no one came? That's how I feel with regards to the extended family tree I've been building. I don't know how some people decided to do it, but there are family trees out there on the web with personal info like birth dates and names for the world to see.

After about a month seriously collecting info and photos, I now have over 400 people in the tree. It is time to pick the fruits off the family tree, which in this case means printing out some charts. Not everyone is completely accounted for, as I have people I only know exists/existed and a factoid or two about them but nothing else, not even a name. So I have cousins simply referred to as Twin #1 and Twin #2, who are children of a certain aunt on the father's side, plus one of the twin, don't know which one, died of drowning. Still, the tree is very usable and I would love to post it up some web site so people I know can easily access the info, but that is not possible. Too much information for all the cyber bad guys out there.

The most I could do was to print out certain branches of the tree and either showed them in person or send the chart via conventional mail. So far I printed one for my in-laws - just the Wife's paternal grandfather plus his descendants. It was not so bad assembling nine pages of paper. Actually, I made it a game for some nieces to put together and she even taped the pages for me. The bigger challenge was when I printed for my far, far away sister all her relatives. On my mother's side, one uncle had 13 children and another has 10. On my father's side, the grandfather had two wives, one wife produced seven children while the other gave birth to three. I know, that uncle on the mother side beat my paternal grandpa even with just one wife. Imagine how many he could have sired if he had two wives!

If the relatives were limited to just the immediate uncles, aunts, etc. the chart would not be so bad. However, the chart also included people who were related to me going back a few generations. On my mother's side, in Bà Lan, we are close, in terms of relationship, to a family who is related to us via my grandpa. Not even blood brothers, more like cousins. The chart came out to 54 pages long, 6 pages wide by 9 pages high, and was really unwieldy to put together. Fortunately, Reunion 9 wisely supports printing of page numbers. The relationship lines also helped a lot.

Next I plan to send a simpler chart to an uncle living in Queens, New York. He helped me get started with father's side so it's time to show him some appreciation. I didn't even get to the cousin level on my father side, as I was not close to them, but hopefully this uncle in Queens can add provide more info.

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