Monday, March 21, 2016
You may have realized that fifty-fifty spot in the calendar has already arrived: the point at which the amount of daylight is balanced in each twenty four hour rotation by its absence. (Well, that's what seems the convenient explanation; around here, the actual equivalents were attained last Wednesday, March 16, when the sun rose and set—obviously, twelve hours apart—at 7:14.)
Whenever that time arrived in your neighborhood, it likely was accompanied by gradually warmer temperatures, less storminess, and a bit more greenery on the local shrubs and trees.
For whatever reason, those occurrences also seem to prompt a feverish spring-cleaning response in many. I am generally immune to that, but this year, it oddly affected me in one respect: I've set to, cleaning up my family trees.
With the constant addition of new record collections at Ancestry.com, there are little green leaves springing up all over the place on my trees—family trees, that is. I've followed those prompts to connect a few more records to the right individuals, add a few descendants, remove a few duplicate entries (oh, those distant cousins who end up marrying each other!), and generally spruce up everything.
My main focus has been on those elusive DNA matches whom my intuition insists may have something to do with specific family lines. For instance, the Kelly line in my husband's paternal tree, where we have a match at Family Tree DNA—but no specific mutual ancestor on which to pin the connection. These are items on a long-lost to-do list that need to be revisited—but how can that be accomplished until further documentation provides the clear picture of how the match can fit?
Another focus this week—thanks to the celebratory prompting of Saint Patrick's day (week, in our book)—has been on tracing the arrivals of those Irish immigrants. In particular, despite documentation on the Declaration of Intent of my husband's second great grandfather John Stevens that he arrived in the United States on a ship from Liverpool via New Orleans, I have yet to locate the exact passenger list verifying this. Yes, in past years, it has been a bear, slogging through such material, but now with searchable lists easily accessed on Ancestry, I've run out of excuses. I'm hoping I've located the right listing, which of course, encourages me to also search for John Stevens' wife's family and their arrival in the U.S., too.
While this is nowhere near the amount of effort expended by those well-meaning adherents to the real Spring Cleaning routine, it is a type of "cleaning house," as well. Just as real trees need pruning from time to time if they are to bear any fruit, our family trees need some attention, as well.
Above: "At Binsey, Near Oxford," 1862 watercolor by British landscape painter George Price Boyce; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.