Monday, June 22, 2015

Oh, Messy. Messy.

It's been a while since I attended to my genealogical duties. It's about time to head back to the grindstone. I've been wondering if I'll ever find that nexus between my direct line and that of my mystery cousin. Of course, if I don't plug away at it, nothing will materialize.

So, as I close out my exploration of the new branch of the Tully tree, my conscience reminds me of that idling Davis tree, still waiting to find that match. In the past two weeks, I made sure to beef up the numbers there, moving from 3,744 in the tree two weeks ago to 3,966 by the weekend, a nifty uptake of 222 freshly-added individuals, mostly on the Tilson branch of that tree.

Meanwhile, DNA matches have slowed to a dribble. In the past two weeks, I've only received five more matches, all at a disappointing distant relationship of fifth to sixth (or remote) cousin level. I'm hoping the excitement over the Global Family Reunion—at which I hear the DNA testing companies were well represented—yields many new possibilities for matches. I could use some genetic genealogy encouragement.

What was interesting to run into, while wandering around the data concerning my Tilson kin, were census records including youngsters whose age given didn't add up to the date of their named father's death. Hmmm. These things happened well before our swinging century. Unfortunately, such occurrences are so far removed from us as to make it impossible to ask any distant relatives for their recollections of paternity issues. How does one proceed in cases such as this? Not in the way we might, if it were someone alive from our recent past. No wonder this DNA matching scramble can get so messy.

Not that my paternal lines were any easier to navigate. There, complicated by name changes at whim—sans legal documentation, of course—I celebrated when I received the Kusharvska death certificate. And cringed when I considered what possible next steps might be taken. Even when converting Aunt Rose's mother's documented surname from the traditional Polish suffix -ska to -ski, there really isn't much available to guide me on creating connections. Actually, make that nothing: other than the entry on for her death record, there is absolutely nothing else there containing that surname, in either format.

That may reveal one small hint as to why my DNA test results on that family line have come to a standstill: a total of twenty two matches—a count held immobilized since I first started counting, back in early April. And I'm stymied as to how to enter these squishy name changes on my family history database, too—one reason why my paternal database count has been frozen at 148 for the past two months.

On the other side of my family history foray—checking into my husband's lines, both paternal and maternal—things have been much brighter. Of course, you've been along with me on my journey through the newspapers of one hundred years ago, as I explored all that could be found on our immigrating Ryan family—the family related by marriage to my husand's paternal-side Tully line, who moved from Ontario to North Dakota and then back to Canada. There, progress has been more encouraging. I've added a modest thirty names to the Stevens tree, and DNA matches have likewise increased by nine. Not much, but at least forward movement. I'll likely continue working those lines of descendants forward on my own, though probably not turning those discoveries into posts, as I edge my way back into the land of the living—and the privacy issues that accompany that realm.

The one shining glimmer in all these sticky and messy details was that of my husband's maternal line. The Flowers tree, focused mainly—and for centuries—in Perry County, Ohio, has had a breakthrough with this week's arrival of the closest DNA match we've received since my husband did his original testing in the summer of 2014. The drone of results centering around the monotony of "third to fifth cousin" and "fourth to remote cousin" has finally been broken with the arrival of just one result. This result, containing a centiMorgan measurement significantly larger than any we've received in the past year, turns out to belong to a woman whose roots align with my husband's Snider line in Perry County. We're in the process of comparing notes right now to confirm the exact relationship—which, of course, has spurred me onward in transferring over some old Perry County family notes to my newer tree online at Thus, our Flowers tree now also sports a small increase in numbers, from its previous 967 to a new count of 991.

Since Perry County may be one of those hidden pockets of endogamous relationships—everyone there is related to everyone else, sometimes in more ways than one—the DNA results may end up being amplified more than a genealogical paper trail may justify. Even in the good news, there is a certain element of messiness. Nothing is ever easy.


  1. I suppose any "illegitimate" children make for an interesting plot complication - I suppose there might be some on my family - but I've seen nothing to that effect (yet). The "burned down courthouses" and the 1890 missing in action documents are the pain in my keister!

    I think Kucharski/Kucharska might actually be the "proper" spelling - hey - Nie mówię po polsku!

    1. Eh, there's nothing that a little Google Translate can't fix! Your suggestion to try Kucharski is duly noted! After all, I suspect a lot of census enumerators didn't speak Polish, either :)


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