March/April 2013 Now What?
Family Tree Magazine contributing editor David A. Fryxell answers questions about time management and vital records.

How much time should I spend researching collateral relatives—aunts, uncles, cousins—and what are the benefits of tracing them?

A. Learning more about collateral relatives can be fascinating—and might help get you through brick walls in your genealogy. As you push back in time, one generation after the next, make note of these “sideways” relatives. Even if you don’t take the time initially to enter cousins and siblings of your ancestors into a genealogy software program, file away the data and sources for future reference.