With a 2018 U.S. Census population estimate of 28,287 residents and 10,435 households, how is it possible to produce one big family tree? The society is starting the process with the creation of a WikiTree - a free, accessible tree for county families. Next, family members are asked to contribute at least two names (self, spouse, parents, etc.) to the tree. The WikiTree then merges duplicates, creates branches, and displays names of people who are related.
"This sounds like so much fun," states society member Shawna Alexander, "but we have to generate interest and participation to build the tree. You don't have to be a professional genealogist or even a closet genealogist to participate; however, if you have compiled any family records, we invite you to attend the February meeting at the library. The public has access to the Sanders and Eady Genealogy Room and the Library Edition of Ancestry on the library computers. Once people start sharing their family surnames and the surnames of their parents or even grandparents, we will begin to fill in the Scott County families from A to Z. Then, the big tree branches will begin to grow and intertwine."
The society offers hints and tips for research to share family finds and get past brick walls. All the research is shared among the group. A single record might provide the one missing puzzle piece that breaks through the brick wall for someone else. Society member Patricia Hall is also excited about the one big family tree. "Anyone who is just beginning family tree research can get discouraged because until you go back a few generations, it's difficult to find information. No hits and no answers put up a brick wall, and people lose interest and excitement to dig deeper. Two heads are always better than one. One person can overlook something, and another person will have an open mind and spot it."
Even pictures can be part of the process. "One of our members brought a picture to one of the meetings. I looked at the picture and instantly knew that the lady was the sister to my second great grandmother because they looked so much alike. The brick wall came down because she shared a picture," Alexander stated. "I know that the more people who participate, the more the society can find those records that will motivate them to keep digging."
So...who is hiding among the branches in your tree? Is your family a branch of the one big Scott County tree? How is your branch connected to other family branches in the county? And could this be just the beginning of one big tree that connects us all.
If you know that your family surname is a branch of the Scott County family tree, please make plans to attend the meeting on Saturday, February 15. Unlike the natural branches of a tree, these branches grow stronger with more people.