My husband is getting into geneology stuff, but it’s complicated. Please help!?

Question by CrazyChick: My husband is getting into geneology stuff, but it’s complicated. Please help!?
Okay, my husband’s parents cut off all ties to their relatives before he was born, so he only knows his parents and his mom’s sister and her family.

His dad was born Potts, and was given up for adoption to an aunt, also named Potts. She married a Strickland, and he took that name. My husband has “Potts” as a third name, but his legal last name is Strickland. The adoptive “parents” (aunt/uncle) abused my father-in-law as a child, and he cut off all ties to them when he grew up.

My mother-in-law was a Harris, her mother was a Kletka. Her parents were drunks, she cut off ties to them for the most part, they’ve both passed away now.

My husband is kind of confused, wondering what he actually is.

If you were in the situation, who do you think you could feel more drawn to? Do other people have complicated roots that make them track down leads in all direction?
Maybe you’re not understanding the question.

Maybe I have it in the wrong section.

Would you feel more drawn to the biological birth name, or an adoptive name of someone you don’t like, or neither?

It’s kind of an opinion poll deal.

First dude, thank you, that was an actual answer. You’re well on your way to best answer just for not suggesting we travel to another state.
Clarification: My father-in-law is the one adopted by his aunt, who married a Strickland. He took the Strickland name at that time. His son (my husband) is a Strickland legally. He doesn’t feel connected to it, though, even though it’s his legal name.

Best answer:

Answer by georgiagrits1
complicated roots are what makes tracing your family tree somuch fun! Have ya’ll tried a website like or They were very helpful to me when I did a family tree for my mom’s side of the family …

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7 thoughts on “My husband is getting into geneology stuff, but it’s complicated. Please help!?”

  1. Your husband good check into his father’s adoption. He could also check the court house where they keep records of births and deaths. Check the county court house for this. That will help him get get started.

  2. One of the biggest geneological databases in the world is that of the Mormons. I’m not sure how much of their information is on the web, but if he’s really wanting to know his roots, it may even be worth a trip to their library at Salt Lake City to do some research. I have an aunt who used to go out there every summer and research. As a result, plus the fact that I have a very unusual maiden name (Battershell), we know about our family clear back to Roman Britain.

  3. If I understand this right your Husband was born a Potts. Is that correct? If so, that is the blood line he should follow not the adoptive. If he knows his biological parents names and place of birth, date of birth, he could get their birth certificates and it will show their parents. Death certificates will or should tell parents names also. Obits and cemeteries will give your even more info.
    I would not follow the adoptive line as it is not his true bloodline. You want to follow the biological line always. In your notes you can list the info for the adoptive line.
    Yes chasing ancestors can be very confusing. I’ve been doing it for 15 yrs and I get confused on a daily basis so don’t feel bad.
    Get a book called unpuzzling your past. It’s under $ 20 and a great resource for you.

  4. “Do other people have complicated roots that make them track down leads in all direction?”

    Oh geez, yes. Wait until he goes back a number of generations and finds cousins marrying cousins. I about started hyperventilating when I found this in my family. Until I realized it really wasn’t all that uncommon two centuries ago. It will get interesting for him, and you. It will also get addictive. The more you learn, the more you want to know.

    “If you were in the situation, who do you think you could feel more drawn to?”

    I have to agree with the people above. Follow the biological parents lineage. With his family it will all tie in together anyways. As for who will he feel drawn to, He will probably gain a kinship with ancestors he has never even heard of before. I’ve dug into our families history far enough that I would give just about anything to meet some of my ancestors. I try to imagine the lives that they led and I’d love to be able to go back in time to see and speak with them.

    I wish you the best of Luck…

    Here if you need us.

  5. I actually had to call my mom who is also in here as Zomba_RS because she is an expert!

    Genealogy is actually can be done at your home, but involve a lot of reading and some money. I have a story about my own step-farther whose father abandoned his family when my stepfather was 3 yo child, and he never heard about his father until he married my mom, who is a “book worm”.

    Mom started digging in with the first known dead relative in 1985 and ended up in 1100s AD.

    Mom said that Social Security Death Index helped her a lot because she found a lot of information in death certificates, such as names of parents and place where they were born.

    I invited mom in here because she will have some ideas, I am sure.

  6. Well, it is truly an excellent hobby that brought both my husband and myself closer together. And thank you, child, for calling me a “book worm”.

    I would strongly suggest to check a couple of websites. First of all it is It is going to cost you, so to avoid that, check This is a website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, who are excellent researchers. They believe that they can seal family together for all eternity and that is why they involve in finding as many relatives as possible.

    You can also download PAF (personal ancestor file) for free from, it is very easy to use and you can basically put all information about your relatives and their pictures in one place and store it.

    Also – great tool with a lot of information, pictures, links, message boards and so on.

    Good luck and let me know if I can help you further. I love genealogy!

  7. Hey Mandy,

    Sounds like my family. No matter, you can get birth records for the Pots, and Death records and marriage records. Those will give the parents parents – your clues to the next generation. After that you are fairly oblivious to the imperfections of the human race. Just focus on Vital Records is my suggestion. Get your husbands, his Father’s, since he knows his adoption details, it will be easy to get the Grandfathers records and the Grandmothers records.

    To find Vital Records, Start at the root – each record ties you to the next generations birth locations and dates. Simple, if you can get the records.

    Which brings us to the next point. Get the starting records, you know where they were born. Go to (yes take another trip), or virtually go to using the internet, the Vital Record for the municipal location where the Father was born. The internet will tell you instructions to obtain records. If you need help, that is what we are for. You did not give state or location or specific needs, so, lets assume you can do that.

    When the record comes in the mail, get excited, because it will list the parents, and their birth dates and locations. Here are some GENERAL sites that will COST more than the Municipal record locations (STATE records always cost more because the Buildings are bigger, workers more uncaring, and red tape is bigger, lol).

    Also try Family Search and Free BMD, and

    Best of luck, and take a trip anyway.

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