Sunday, August 28, 2016
The Never-Ending DNA To-Do List
Stumbling upon one sure-to-be-confirmed DNA match this past week reminded me of all the work yet to be done. To be sure, I've been chipping away at details in many directions, and my stats have helped buoy my enthusiasm, thankfully. In other ways, though, it sometimes seems I am making no headway.
In reveling in my recent Falvey connection, I've been reminded of tasks yet to do which will help make more connections, now that Family Tree DNA has updated its online capabilities. There are tools to help discern which matches belong on the maternal side and which belong on the paternal. But those tools do me no good, so long as I haven't uploaded an updated GEDCOM to my accounts there.
So, in these past two weeks, rather than race through the family trees, adding more collateral lines and sprucing up hint-laden pages, I've been working on the two trees that have been most neglected in the past few months: the paternal lines for both myself and my husband. Rather than the hundreds of individuals you may have seen me add in prior bi-monthly episodes, I seem to be crawling along, inching up to the end of August.
For instance, on my maternal line, I only added forty four to reach the total of 8,518 in that tree. On my husband's maternal side, I added another forty four to total 8,374. But in sprucing up records on my father-in-law's line in anticipation of determining that Falvey match, for the first time in months, I added thirteen to bring the total in his tree to 1,035. And, rocketing through my recent online finds for my own father's Polish roots this month, I was able to add forty seven individuals to his tree of, now, 275 names. Baby steps, but significant discoveries.
Sales at DNA testing companies always make me glad, for with only a lag time of about six weeks, I start seeing the results trickle in, in the form of additional matches. Matches on my maternal side jumped by thirty in the past two weeks, bringing the total at FTDNA to 1,302 matches. I gained an additional twelve matches at Ancestry DNA, as well, bringing my total there to 355.
DNA matches picked up for my husband, as well. Though I hadn't seen any new matches since July 28, by the second half of August, things picked up, bringing twenty four new matches at FTDNA (grand total there now 810), and another four at Ancestry DNA (to total 150). I was able to make two contacts with matches there, confirming one.
Another task I am going to need to tackle soon is to find specific relatives who would be willing to volunteer for DNA testing. It is so vital to have targeted matches to help draw similar matches in one direction or the other—maternal or paternal. Otherwise, those hundreds of matches become one mass of hopelessly inseparable results. Only when we can figure out which category to place all those third and fourth cousins can we make any headway in connecting missing ancestors to the right branches on our tree. I'll be ecstatic if my husband's distant Falvey cousin from New Zealand leads me to a sibling of our Johanna Falvey—or even to the next generation up—for then I can understand how to handle those other results which come up as "in common with."
I'm well supplied with test packets—have DNA test, will travel, I suppose. Upcoming trips to visit relatives back home will likely include the question: "Can you spit for me?" If not, at least I'm hoping to find some relatives willing to take a minuscule toothpick-sized brush to the side of their cheek. Oh, the strange things a genetic genealogist might do on a family vacation...
Above: "Landscape Near Rosia," 1903 work by Polish modernist painter Jan Stanisławski; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.