What is the criterium for a "separate tree" in a database?

I have several separate trees in my database. The first one encompasses 99,9 % of my people. The second one (69 people) is linked to a lady, 9th in a family of 10. Why is she the one mentioned and not her father (who is also part of my database).

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There may be some difference of opinion on this topic. Also from jargon POV people sometimes use Trees/database etc interchangeably. I have about 10 years in my RM10 database. Half due to Associations, Main “tree” with 99.8% . The others have most less than 10 and 2 larger ones. My thought is that like to leave them in unless I have proven they do no belong. you often find connections later. Your tree is impressive in that all your people have FamSearch connections.


While different people may view the term “tree” in various ways, RM’s Count Trees tool has a precise definition of being in the same tree. Namely, two individuals are in the same tree if they are connected. Connected means that you can get from one individual to the other by following any combination of these links: spouse to spouse, child to parent, and parent to child.

For example, suppose you have a first cousin Sarah. You are connected to Sarah by linking up to your parents, by linking up to your grandparents, by linking down to Sarah’s parents, and by linking down to Sarah. So you are in the same tree as Sarah.

Sarah is married to Joe so they are linked as spouses… You can link from Sarah to Joe by using their links as spouses. You are related to Sarah and you are not related to Joe. Nevertheless, you link to Joe by following all the links I’ve already described, first from you to Sarah and then from Sarah to Joe.

Joe was married previously to Jane so you can get to Joe from Jane by following their spouse link. You can get from you to Jane by following the links Sarah, then to Joe, then to Jane.

So in general, if you can get from one person to another by following links, then the two people are in the same tree. It doesn’t matter how convoluated the links are. If you can follow some combination of links and get there, the two people are in the same tree. If there is no possible combination of links between two people, then they are not in the same tree. At least that’s the way it works for Count Trees.

By contrast, a “tree” in Ancestry can actually contain people who are unconnected in any way. So by the RM’s Count Trees definition, one Ancestry tree could possibly contain more than one tree.

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I think I can understand this, but I don’t see why the tree refers to “an arbitrary”(?) person in the tree and not the eldest person in that tree.

It sows the person with the lowest RIN

Thank you Jerry (thejerrybryan), confirming - in terms even my brain can understand - the ‘connected’ criteria for a separate tree. I’ll be sure to keep your explanation close at hand for future reference.

RM’s Count Trees has identified two main trees in one of my databases, each tree has a few hundred people. Not many perhaps, but I prefer to dig deep and find out as much as I can about individual lives rather than just accumulate basic facts about lots of people.

I’m always looking for ways of connecting these two trees together, partly because the most interesting individuals seem to be in the “other” tree (not the one I’m in !!). But does it really matter? Even the unconnected people somehow feel close enough for me to include them in my database. For example they, their spouses or their close relatives share a common surname with earlier generations of my wider family, or perhaps they lived in the same place, appeared in the same photograph, etc.

Is what I’m doing consistent with established good practice, or would a purist consider it a mistake to research and document people who have a tenuous link at best - or maybe no link at all?

I haven’t, as yet, used RM’s Associations feature to create a create any relationship(s) between my two trees. Perhaps I should do that?

I’d be interested to hear other opinions on this.

Some purist ( at least some that I have dealt with) MIGHT record all the info they can find on another line with the same name IF they suspect a relationship but would never connect them till they had a rock solid piece of evidence such as a will etc-- for example a woman and I traded info on our Green lines – they started out in the same county in VA with our Sam Green listed on a 1764 tithe/ tax list as living with the brother of their ancestors-- there were no marriages between the 2 lines BUT there was a 150 year ( at least) association between the 2 lines–moving from place to place etc-- never could find a document to prove the relationship BUT DNA proved it…
Other purist ( that I’ve talked to) will only enter the info for their DIRECT LINEAGE— won’t even add the siblings of the ancestors much less the half-siblings or step siblings…

On the other hand, I usually record all the kids, half sibling, step kids and a little on the spouses lines as time and time again, I have found where the step-kid’s grandchild married one of the kid’s grandchild ( or the spouse great niece) — I researched 2 men–one with the same name as my g-grandma’s 2nd hubby as I had nothing on him before the marriage ( turned out to be 2 different guys) and then a guy who had the same unique 1st / last name as my g-grandfather— he could be g-gramp’s son by a 1st wife-- just can’t prove it

So basically there are no fast and hard rules–just whatever you want and have the time to do…

The “FAN club” (Family & Friends, Associates, Neighbors) is the key to success, if by success you mean insight into the lives of our ancestors. That is my definition too!

Numerous trees in a database causes no problems. I have hundreds of trees within my database, initially showing up when I transcribed basic genealogy volumes such as “Families of Ancient New Haven” into my database. I initially did this 20 years back to provide information online (in a shared database) to others researching early Connecticut history. Now that companies such as Ancestry have indexed basic genealogy texts, I probably will not transcribe more books. Additionally I have a number of single name studies, trying to find connections to particular surnames. That has resulted in more unlinked trees. I also keep research I do for people not related to me in the database. The bottom line, everyone can put what they want in their database.