What is 'Family Reconstruction'?


Fundamentally, 'Family Reconstruction' is a process or a technique where close and sometimes more distant family members, associates, and neighbours [neighbors, for our American readers] of the subject individual are investigated, and the subject's family is built up or 'reconstructed' in order to parse out more facts about the subject person.

Else Churchill, Genealogist with the Society of Genealogists, wrote an article  "Some Ideas for Looking at Genealogy Brick Walls Before 1837" [Genealogists' Magazine, Volume 34, Number 4, December 2022, Page 200-202]. While from a decidedly British viewpoint, parts of Ms Churchill's article sum up the process. Ms Churchilll suggested that the process of investigating extended family members, discovering who your ancestor [aka: the subject individual] associated with, and who their neighbours were, is sometimes called the FAN technique.

Family members, Ms Churchill wrote, "may be a witness at a marriage, bondsmen on a marriage bond, godparents, etc. Cousins and siblings should be identified as of course they will have ancestry, If you can't find an ancestor's [or, the subject individual's] birth certificate, can you find his brother's? If you have three James Churchills living about the same time and place, can you establish whether they are perhaps cousins and have the common ancestry via their grandfather" [see also "What is Forensic Genealogy"].

Associates would be the people the subject individual worked for or with, those who attended the same church, and so on.

Neighbours of course are those who lived next-door, on the same street, or perhaps in a small village with the subject individual.

A key component of this approach is going beyond the basic genealogical points of birth/baptism, marriage and death/burial dates and places for a subject individual. The goal is to expand the sphere of the subject individual's life more broadly, which will hopefully garner more facts about the subject individual himself [or, indeed, herself].

Contact Bruce D. Murduck   concerning any matter at all.