Thursday, February 19, 2015

Still Not Enough

While I’ve been chattering away about various topics that strike my fancy, here on A Family Tapestry, behind the scenes I’ve been feverishly working away at my Taliaferro family tree. You know how it goes: in order to document just how I connect with all those DNA matches I’ve acquired, I have to have a complete record of the family’s genealogy.

Right now, I’m up to seven hundred fifty matches for the “Family Finder” test—Family Tree DNA’s user-friendly term for the autosomal DNA test that can identify relatives up to the range of sixth cousin (sometimes even more).

My thinking was that if I could add the collateral lines to this family’s records on my tree at, I could discover the surnames that married into the Taliaferro descendants’ history—which would then guide me to figure out how I match some of these seven hundred fifty other people.

Since I’ve had a go at this process for a few weeks—primarily using old genealogies published in the late 1800s and early 1900s—I thought it might be time to “harvest” some of the results. So, I pulled up my matches at Family Tree DNA and, using the company's search function, entered some of those newly-discovered surnames—like Lingo, Meriwether or Watkins. Some, admittedly, were too generic to be useful—names like Lewis, Jones and Greene. Some were so unusual as to yield no search results at all—so far.

Of course, even though it feels as if I’ve been feverishly entering data non-stop for the past few weeks, this particular database only contains fourteen hundred individuals. Small, admittedly, in the face of my desktop-resident database program, which topped fourteen thousand ages ago. However, that would be comparing apples to oranges, as my online tree is specific to my maternal line only, while the computer-based genealogical program encompasses the big splat of my whole family—my maternal and paternal lines, plus both my husband’s lines, and a few other diversions, as well. Still, fourteen hundred seems like a drop in the bucket.

Even so, trying to compare those fourteen hundred names to the multiple names on each of my matches’ trees has been a challenge. You simply cannot eyeball this, but neither can I jump to a spreadsheet program. Why? I’m just not confident with my abilities to scour the data correctly.

Of course, there is no time like the present to learn new tricks. FTDNA allows customers to download their results in a spreadsheet format. I should just give that option a twirl. Not that I’m terrified of a data dump or anything, but for some strange reason, I hesitate. Perhaps this would be the perfect time to search for a database management class—like Spreadsheets 101 for Genetic Genealogy. Why no one teaches a class like that at those fancy DNA conferences, I’ll never know. Seems like by the time everyone gets their head around the introductory science lectures, they are too brain-weary to attempt learning how to manipulate the data they’ve obtained from these tests.

In the meantime, it looks like lots of data entry is in my immediate future, before I can find the way to connect with any of my DNA matches. The score so far for confirmed matches hovers at a lowly five—not an impressive showing for those seven hundred fifty possibilities.

Guess I’ll have to type faster.

Above: Young woman typing, photograph circa 1906 by photography company, Underwood & Underwood; image courtesy United States Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; in the public domain.


  1. My parents had an Underwood typewriter which I used until I got that cute little portable one for graduation. That Underwood could be used as a weapon if you could lift it.

    And speaking of Taliaferro -- I was looking at some old research ("old" as in copies I made many years ago but haven't looked at since) and spied "Taliaferro" in a document dated 1833. B. Taliaferro was mentioned as "late sheriff" of Orange.

    1. I've read some more and while the handwriting and quality of the copies make the full story unclear, I am positive that his name was Baldwin Taliaferro. He had been appointed to administer the estate of Lewis Davis since no suitable administrator could be found among family members. Evidently someone in the family brought suit against Taliaferro who had since "removed to Tennessee."

    2. Ah. So it is Baldwin. When you first mentioned "B. Taliaferro," I thought maybe you were referring to Bartholomew.

      Why was Baldwin in your notes? Could it be this same Baldwin, who lived in Orange County? He did move to Tennessee.

      So...does that mean you and I are distant cousins, Wendy? Taliaferro? Or Davis?

    3. Well, maybe just distant neighbors. I must have copied the lawsuit in my early days of research because I don't think anyone mentioned is an ancestor although the names looked promising. My oldest Davis (Leonard, my DAR candidate) was supposedly son of Lewis, but Leonard's father moved to North Carolina, so obviously not the Lewis of the lawsuit. From what I can tell, Lewis Davis's descendants were looking for their inheritance. They were accusing Baldwin and his deputy Wesley Fry of holding out. Of course, I don't know the outcome -- I don't even remember obtaining this document.

  2. Five? Only five sure hope you find more:)

    1. Yeah, I thought I was set to find more, but I guess it's back to the books for another go round...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...