The trail leads from you to your two parents, okay maybe more with step-parents and foster-parents, but still it is a pretty straightforward route. But you have 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 gggrandparents, 32 ggggrandparents and on.
Early on I decided to stop at the pond.
I research back to my immigrant ancestor on any given line then stop. The single exception at this point has been my English cousins.
My grandmother Granwilla's parents are relatively recent immigrants. William Truman Sale and Elizabeth Anne "Annie" Walton came to California in the 1870's. They met in San Rafael, Marin county where they married and raised 4 daughters. They were the only ones in their respective families to come to the US. Granwilla and her sisters were required to be pen pals with their English cousins on their mother's side. The next generation, my father and his sister, were expected to keep the tradition going. I have done the same. When I visited Europe in 1966 I met one of my grandmother's 1st cousin pen pals, Tom Edward Hackett, 86. Granwilla was then 79. They never did meet in person.
Over the years I've gotten to know a few cousins well. We correspond and visit when we can. Tom's grandson and I spent a day in 2006 visiting all the houses our ancestors listed on their English census records going back to 1851. They lived in Warwick, Rugby and Hillmorton, Warwickshire.