In our attempts to locate living relatives, we sometimes ignore those ancestral siblings and cousins who left no children of their own. After all they have no descendants with whom we can make contact.

That is true, but records on the childless relative may provide more details on earlier family members and how the estate of the childless relative was disbursed may mention previously unknown relatives.

And completely researching the relative without children is always advised in order to obtain a complete picture of the family.



6 Responses

  1. I’ve been researching a great aunt who never married or had children, but it turns out she was an artist, painter, teacher and very active in patriotic groups. I found lots of articles in newspapers about her – Ida Jane Munn d. 1958 – and articles about her estate after her death and how the will was contested by her 2nd cousins.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree. I almost always feel a small pang of disappointment when I come across a childless branch of the tree, but some of my favorite ancestors were childless. A 2x great aunt who committed her long life to the church and good deeds. A distant cousin who served her country helping wounded soldiers in WWI before spending 30 years nursing babies at the children’s home in Milwaukee. Some of our ancestors live on through us, their descendants. Others live on through the lives they touched. All of them deserve to be remembered.

  3. I am drawn to the childless branches of my family tree mostly because everyone should be remembered. Many did have children but they died young. So many silent tragic stories. I have documented many in my family and I am blessed because of this. In some instances I know more about these relatives than the ones who left a trail of children

  4. I too am fascinated by childless family members. Some of them were far enough back (mid-1800s) that there is not much information out there to find. It’s tantalizing and frustrating to know I may never know much about them. In addition, they were from small New England towns, and they left home early to work in mills and factories. To top it all off, I have some very common surnames in my background. Do you know how many Joseph Browns there were in the area in the mid-1800s?!

    • I am of a Brown descendant also so realise the frustration of this Surname tracing. My father was an only child, my mother was an only child, I’m an only child and only have an adopted child so my line ends with me but I hope that previous generations of descendants will one day remember our small part in the Brown line.

      • Hmmm…you didn’t happen to have ancestors in the southwestern area of New Hampshire, did you? ( Stoddard, Walpole, etc). I know–very slight chance. Brown was the maiden name of my g-g-grandmother, so that name is well in the past in my family tree.


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