Family Search Watch
Family Search is one of my favorite genealogical websites. They have many great features, but one of my favorites is their “Watch” function. It is simple but really powerful.
Family Search uses a universal tree. That is to say, everyone with a FamilySearch account sees the same tree (except for living individuals you created). Some people don’t like that feature because it means you do not have complete control over your tree. But once you have a person in the tree, you can watch that individual and be informed of any changes that occur with that person. Those changes can provide import clues for your own research and can suggest contacts clearly interested in the same individuals as you are.
One of my problem research areas has been my wife’s great-grandmother Bertha Barbara (Trümpi) Huber and her parents [Bernhard and Bertha (Koch) Trümpi]. Little more than their names were in the tree when I began watching each of them. Over the past few months, another researcher has added several children to the couple that I didn’t know about, a second wife, who I knew about but didn’t have a name for, and Bernhard’s parents’ names. Wow!
Now, I don’t accept that new information at face value; but I consider it as clues to other facts, which I can investigate. In this case, the researcher suggested four new siblings for Bertha:
- New Brother: Heinrich (1886-1914) Potential –
- New Sister: Barbara (1888-____) Probably a mistake (same name as Bertha Barbara)
- New Brother: Bernhard (1891-1961) Potential.
- New Sister: Emma (1901-1901) Potential.
The entries also confirmed information I have about Bertha, Frieda, August, and Ernst.
It also suggested a first wife for Bertha’s father, Bernhard was Regula Stüssi and seven children for Bernhard and Regula. Following the Family Search additions, it seems that
Bernhard Trümpi married Regula Staüsi in 1867. They had seven children, four of whom died as infants. Regula died in 1882 and Bernhard married Bertha Koch in 1883. Although Regula was only two years younger than Bernhard, Bertha was 19 years younger. Now the family oral history which said that Bertha Barbara came from a large family makes sense. I had her with six siblings, with the addition of new family members she may have had 15 siblings, 11 of which live to adulthood. That would be a large family.
Finally, the researcher suggested that Bernhard’s father was Bernard and his mother was Anna Maria Oertli. That knowledge opens an entirely new avenue of research.
That which I thought was a brick wall now has many new holes for me to pick at and find a way through. Thanks to the “Watch” feature of Family Search I circle around and have a new direction for my research. If you aren’t using the Family Search “Watch” feature, I highly recommend you do so.