Sunday, June 17, 2018
A Genealogist's Tree is Never Done
You would think that with the 13,635 individuals listed in my mother's tree, I would soon be pulling in to the station after this genealogical expedition. Likewise, when you take a look at my mother-in-law's tree (the count is up to 15,441 there). So what if I only have 512 in my father's tree. Or 1,490 in my father-in-law's tree. In the aggregate, to the uninitiated, numbers like those seem like overkill.
I am far from done, in case you are wondering. I have specific goals I'm chasing. Mainly, I want to trace all the descendants of my ancestors down to current times and to about fifth to sixth cousin level. I'm doing this specifically to help sort out all those mystery matches on my DNA tests from AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage, and—soon to join the biweekly count—Living DNA.
However, in the past week or so, a few changes have taken place. For one thing, 23andMe announced that, as of June 15, they were removing any records marked as anonymous from the matches provided to their customers. In a matter of days, my matches slipped by thirty four to give me a final count of 984 matches. My husband's drop was even steeper: sixty two lost, resulting in a new tally of 966 matches.
Meanwhile, over at MyHeritage, a recently-discovered security breach, involving access to customers' passwords, caused that company to require password updates and to offer two-step authentication to those choosing the extra layer of security. As for our DNA matches, though, the numbers keep zooming ahead. I now have 4,781 matches at MyHeritage, and my husband has 3,330.
It's business as usual at the other testing sites. At Ancestry, my husband's numbers edged up ten to reach 591, and though Ancestry caps their count at 1,000 (which I've exceeded for weeks now) keeping me from knowing my true amount of matches, I'm sure my count has gone up as well.
Family Tree DNA also is advancing—albeit at a modest rate now, making me look forward to a match spike following their Father's Day sale. I now show 3,128 matches (up thirty one) and my husband has 1,986 (up sixteen).
Considering I added 108 names to my mother-in-law's tree and 293 to my own mom's tree—not to mention managing to find another thirteen to add to my father-in-law's slow-growing tree—you'd think this was a race to the finish. But no—it's barely the start. With all the branches of these family lines, there are still plenty of ancestors from the 1700s awaiting the completion of their lines of descent to connect them with our present day. I may feel good about keeping up a pace of adding two or three hundred for each report, but that is only chipping away at an enormous boulder of a task.
Still, there's no other way to go about it than to keep up a manageable, moderate pace. It's the steady pace in moderation that will enable me to get this job done—eventually.