Often when researching ancestors in early time periods or in counties with record loss, we cannot find the records needed to document our ancestor or extend a line. We often refer to this as a brick wall.

By researching the FAN Club, also called cluster research, we can often find the clues necessary to piece together evidence which can lead us around the brick wall.

Elizabeth Shown Mills created the acronym, FAN Club. See her QuickSheet: The Historical Biographer’s Guide to Cluster Research (the FAN Principle), (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2012.)

Who is in the FAN Club?

  1. Immediate family: direct-line spouse, other spouses, children, parents, siblings

  2. E...

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