What are your research goals? If you want to record your family health history, determine your ethnic makeup or join a lineage society, you’ll need to research your biological line. Some researchers go with the adoptive family because that’s the closer emotional relationship, or because information is more readily available. You also could choose to research both families. Either way, Croom advises clearly recording in your research notes and on your pedigree charts whether a relative belongs to a biological, adoptive or even stepfamily line. (Most genealogy software lets you designate adoptive relationships.) Whatever line you research, be prepared for upsetting discoveries you might dig up, and be sensitive to other family members. Avoid publicizing controversial information that involves a living person.