Sunday, April 24, 2016
The Call of Unfinished Projects
Those of us who are not paragons of efficiency may, from time to time, recall the many unfinished projects scattered in our wake. As this month closes to an end, I've been reminded of a few that need further attention and I've been endeavoring to make up for that weakness.
While neither project ever faced up to a hard deadline, each of the two I'll be talking about today had a threatening sword hanging over its domain, so it's really something that I need to remove from the "to do" pile.
One is to transfer—and double check—the entries from a very old family tree database housed in my wood-burning computer (you know, the one that still is running on Windows XP). The other task is to attend to my DNA tests, as a key change at one company will soon make a difference in just who still is—and is not—among my genetic matches there.
With that in mind, it is no surprise that the only significant progress made on my bi-monthly statistics will be reflected in the family line best represented on my antiquated database—that of my mother-in-law. And while the second change—the one upcoming, if not already occurring overnight after I've put this post to bed for the night—hasn't yet impacted my DNA progress report, I guarantee it will make a difference, the next time I check my numbers.
The first matter of business during this month was to transfer names and details from my old Family Tree Maker program, which had about fourteen thousand individuals listed at the time I stopped working on it. Part of that work was thanks to collaboration with a wonderful researcher whom I'd like to mention in more detail later in the week. Most of that work was done pre-Internet era, or at the very latest, during the nascent moments of Ancestry.com. Later, I had always meant to go back and verify the work shared by this other researcher, in hopes of adding more details to the sparse listing on names and dates gleaned from resources accessible at the time. Now is apparently the time to do so.
It's not exactly a genealogy do-over that's engaged me in this project. It's just that, with all the resources now at our researching fingertips, I want to stand on the shoulders of the previous generation's researchers and flesh out the bare bones details I've inherited from them. We can accomplish so much more than we could in the old self-addressed-stamped-envelope and snail mail way of verifying entries. If seeing the term "SASE" brings back memories, you know what I'm talking about.
So it's no surprise, as I begin this process, to see that I've increased the count on that one family tree by 459 entries in the past two weeks. My husband's maternal tree now stands at 4,610 individuals.
With that one effort sucking all the time out of my schedule, it's no surprise to see that his paternal tree stayed at the same count as last time—955—as did my own paternal tree. Somehow, I advanced my own maternal tree by a measly twenty three names—probably owing to the search for Peachy T. Wilson's children among his extended family—so I now have 7,636 in my mother's tree.
As for DNA results, it was a mixed bag. My husband's lines advanced by fifteen genetic matches at Family Tree DNA, where he stands at 671 matches. But moved not a whit at Ancestry DNA, where he still sits at 107 matches. I received twenty additional matches at Family Tree DNA, upping my count there to 1,115 matches—but only one more match arrived at Ancestry DNA, for a total of 283.
That, however, is just as well. Changes are a-brewing at Ancestry DNA. There's hardly a serious genetic genealogy participant who hasn't already heard about the anticipated impact of those changes, as they were first announced in February at RootsTech, and have since made the rounds in the posts of key genetic genealogy bloggers this past week. (If you haven't yet read about them, blogger Randy Seaver provided a helpful recap, including links to three of them, plus Ancestry's own explanation of what's yet to come.)
Once the change has been accomplished, I figure it's time to do some serious work on connecting with these matches—especially if the revamped list turns out to be of the improved accuracy that Ancestry DNA believes it will be. Unlike some people who have had great results utilizing this tool, neither I nor my husband have had matches at the levels of first or second cousin. Given our propensity to take a keen interest in our family trees, we already know who our first and second cousins are. Most of our DNA matches have been at the levels of third and fourth cousin—or beyond. Those are the only results that have informed our genealogical progress at all, so for that focus to be sharpened up effectively should target the very realm in which we stand to gain the most.