It’s time for one of those bi-weekly (or so) Cheering-Up Parties. Why is it, after so much work, I still feel as if I am making no headway on my goals?
I want to find a way to link to my mystery cousin’s matrilineal line, of which we are exact matches, according to our mitochondrial DNA test results. And that means breaking through a mystery connection of my own—my second great grandmother, the orphaned Mary Rainey Broyles. Along with all that, these two pursuits will hopefully yield enough added surnames to my database to help untangle the now seven hundred ninety five matches I have on my autosomal DNA test at Family Tree DNA.
So, how did it go since the last time I checked on my progress? I’ve managed to up my totals on my maternal line database from twenty four hundred to just over twenty eight hundred—an increase of just over four hundred. I’m lagging. Just a little.
In the meantime, I had been behind in those niceties of DNA testing—the “please come compare family trees with me” plea—so I made up for it by dispatching a flurry of emails to potential matches. I find I can more effectively touch bases with all these “to do” items if I work them into a system, so at the close of each week, I sort my FTDNA matches by date, look over the latest additions and—if any matches’ entries include a posted family tree—see if there are any connecting surnames. Those that look like possibilities get an email from me—and I note it in my records. I’ve got to have a system to keep track of all this.
In the last couple weeks, I found myself slipping into the tendency to focus solely on those women dovetailing with my matrilineal line—that line of ascent from me to my mother, to her mother and on, back through the generations. Each generation’s node on this progression then became the point of scrutiny: did that woman have any other daughters? Did those daughters then have daughters of their own? What became of their female line? And back down the line I’d go, hurtling back into the future with someone else’s family tree.
Despite finding that this tactic has added several new surnames to my extended family tree—which will come in handy as I tackle my autosomal DNA results—it hasn’t yet uncovered the link between my matrilineal line and that of my mystery cousin. Of course, because of my brick wall second great grandmother, pushing back before her generation is an exercise in presumed relationship. I could very possibly be wrong in my presumptions. It’s all a matter of hypothesis testing, at this point, even though I’ve pushed back four additional generations this way, without any results. Whatever that matrilineal line turns out to be, it’s gone a long way without a single mutation, evidently. I’m back in the 1700s, currently, with no matches in sight from this presumed ancestor.
Of course, maybe my presumptions are all wrong. That, of course, means I’ll have to start all over again—an exercise made to try the patience of saints. And I’m not quite ready for that. So I keep plugging along, racking up those numbers, hoping, “Just one more generation, just one more…”