Does a Distant Relative's Child Matter to You?
Genealogy Inspiration

Does a Distant Relative’s Child Matter to You?

Does the little granddaughter of your step-aunt matter?

Little Gay Gean Curlis is the daughter of Betty Bullock1  and Billy Walter Curlis2 of Ohio. Betty Bullock is the daughter of Gaynelle Henson3 and Ferman Bullock4.

Gaynelle was the second wife of my great uncle Eugene Curtis Brown5. What’s more interesting is that Gaynelle is the older sister of Eugene’s first wife Emily Henson6. After Emily’s death and Ferman’s death, Gay and Gene married. Gay’s daughter Betty was 18 at the time.

So, does uncle Gene’s step-family and essentially step-granddaughter matter? Well, Betty Curlis was about the same age of Gene’s younger brother Harry Brown. Harry and Betty Bullock Curliss both had children about the same time. Harry’s daughter Betty remembers the death of little Gay Gean, even though she was not her blood-relative. She was basically Uncle Gene’s granddaughter and that mattered enough for Gene’s niece Betty Brown.

So, does little Gay Gean matter to me?

Gay Gean Curlis Gravestone

Yes, she does. I wonder if she was named after her grandparents Gaynelle and Gene?

Would this non-blood relative matter to you, even though it was the death of such a little girl?

It depends upon your goals.

I have many goals given that I love genealogy and family history. One of those goals is to learn about the names and stories of the people my family remembers. So, since my mother’s cousin Betty Brown remembers little Gay and told me about her, I wanted to learn more about the little girl.

If you answered that Little Gay Gean doesn’t matter to your goals, rest assured that it is perfectly okay to say you don’t care. It’s time genealogists are honest with folks who have very narrow goals when it comes to creating family trees and working in capturing and preserving memories. Not everyone would bother finding out about the step-granddaughter of a grand uncle.

Someone somewhere will want to remember Gay Gean. Don’t feel guilty if you would not go after this person’s information. Figure out your own interests and goals. You’ll be glad you did

If you think your family tree goes back to Adam and Eve, did you forget a distant relative's child? #genealogy #ancestors #inspiration
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Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.


  • Bobbi

    Thank you for your this. I track a lot of folks who really have no reason being in my tree, except they are intertwined in my tree through one branch or another. And maybe, just maybe I’ve found a snippit, a news clip, a photo that someone else is looking for to complete their own picture.

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