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A person's file may indicate two sets of parents. There are two possibilities for that occurring.

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1. "Both-And": A person may have been brought up in a family other than that of their biological parent/s because of adoption, divorce, death or re-marriage of a parent. In order to "see" in what family context the person grew up, he/she is linked both to the "family of nurture" and to the biological parents. Note the two sets of parents in the illustrations at right. In this case the mother has married twice and the second husband became step-father to the child. There is no either-or conflict here, as in the next example, but a both-and record, one biological and one nurturing.

This raises a common controversy among genealogists: what is a family tree? Is it a biological record tracing blood lines? Some genealogists are establishing DNA records for their family tree. Is it a "story" of a family so that adopted/step/fostered children are just as much part of the story? Or both.

2. "Either-Or": There may be some uncertainty or confusion as to which family a person was born into. This usually would apply to older records. If you check the file for William Hougham (1450-1509) you will see two sets of parents. If you go to the family file for each set of parents you will find William listed in both. There is conflict here between two sources - see diagram at right of one such instance.