Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Cobbler's Children Syndrome
Comes to Genealogy

I've realized something, now that I've taken to pursuing other people's family trees: I don't get so much done on my own.

I've heard others mention the same thing, particularly those members of my local genealogical society's board. It's those on the board who've volunteered to help others get their family tree started that seldom find enough time to work on their own. I dream of finding an office for our society, in part, so our board and committee volunteers can have a place to gather for coffee and work on our own family histories, collectively. If we're going to leave the comfort of our homes to help others with their genealogy, we may as well do the same to spend time on our own research.

In my case, I get the strange feeling that the time I spend searching for the ancestors of the orphaned photographs I find in antique stores results in taking less time to pursue my own history, as well. Thankfully, I've instilled the habit of checking, every two weeks, on my research progress. Though I feel like I haven't done as much on my own family, that apparently is not the case.

Over the last two weeks, in addition to figuring out the family line of Baby Fay and her motheras well as taking a sneak peek at the upcoming story of Thirza and her collection of photographsI did manage to make progress on my own lines. For instance, on my mother's line, I added 154 names to her tree of 12,304 individuals. On my mother-in-law's line, 115 names brought the total for her tree to 14,469. While I didn't gain any on my father's tree this time, I added three more names to my father-in-law's tree to bring it to 1410 relatives.

One thing I did neglect, over the past two weeks, was to check out any of the DNA matches our family has gotten in this time period. We are still getting a significant number of matches at most of the testing companies, which I presume are the tail end of the holiday sales still coming in, or perhaps a second bump in results from the leading edge of the Valentine's Day sales.

I saw an increase of thirty four matches for my results at AncestryDNA, seventy at Family Tree DNA, and a whopping 197 at my newest test site, MyHeritage DNA. The only decrease, as usual, was at 23andMe. That leaves me with 945 matches at Ancestry, 2,881 at FTDNA, 3,715 at MyHeritage, and 1,060 at 23andMe.

The increases were similar for my husband. He had a jump of twenty one at AncestryDNA to total 496 matches (at fourth cousin or closer), an increase of forty five at FTDNA for 1,836, and 154 more at MyHeritage for 2,555 total matches. This time, he also lost twenty two matches at 23andMe, where he now totals 1,113 matches.

The oft-worn phrase, "The cobbler's children have no shoes," is usually meant to point a warning finger at those who, being so taken with their professional duties, forget their other, more vital, responsibilities to family. Even with an avocation such as genealogywhich can absorb so much of our attentionI can see this as being possible. Ask any researcher engrossed in the pursuit of the elusive ancestor about suddenly realizing, still seated at the computer, that it is three in the morning.

Perhaps the cobbler's syndrome can apply to us. I'm glad to realize, after this biweekly recap, that though I felt that might have been the case, it wasn't. I think progress in the last two weeks has still kept pace with what I was able to do, prior to taking on this latest research interest on behalf of other families.


  1. My research has taken a back seat...I have way to many irons in the fire and am still recouping after all the hospital time in February. The past few days have been for company and getting them to and from the airport two hours away...that takes half a day away. I am still tired. BUt I am all caught up now reading about what you are up to...enjoy spring for me we have had dreary days:(

    1. Oh, Far Side, I wish for some spring temps to head your way and give you a break from all that snow! It's totally understandable that we sometimes have to take a break from all our research. You certainly have had a quite unexpected winter! Hope things settle down for you soon and you can catch your breath for a while!

  2. I hear ya! As registrar for my DAR chapter, I have been working on half a dozen applications, searching for documents, connecting the generations while my own ancestors wait in the wings.

    1. I've been hearing stuff like that all the time, lately, Wendy--just like you said. It's a wonderful feeling to help others with their genealogy, but somehow, we need to sandwich in some time for our own research, too!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...