Sunday, October 4, 2015

When It Rains, It Pours

It rained this week in drought-stricken California. While I can't exactly call that pouring, we welcomed the arrival of what we hope will be a very productive rainy season.

Funny how some parts of life parallel others. While I've taken a detour from my usual blogging mode of sharing family stories I've run across during my research, I've also been tap dancing behind the scenes. Good things are happening. Don't want to label that too many good things, but I've certainly been running to keep up.

After months of struggling with my DNA results for both my husband's and my own accounts, suddenly things are jelling. This, of course, gives me the impetus to keep plugging away at building out those family trees to help fuel the need to match others' surnames with generations they've yet to sketch in on their own tree.

The two trees, in particular, benefiting from this frenzy of activity in the last half month are the same ones as before: the maternal lines for both my family and that of my husband. Those, incidentally, are the two lines which include American colonial ancestors or pretty close to that era. You can get a lot of descendants from settlers arriving in a stable, records-driven country in that long a span of time.

For instance, right now, my maternal tree stands at 5,399 individuals—an increase of 132 from the middle of last month. My husband's maternal tree got an even bigger boost of 236 individuals, to bring his tree's total to 2,237 people—all, for the most part, still resident in Ohio, while mine are scattered all over the south.

While I've only contacted two potential DNA matches on behalf of my husband, and only one for my maternal line, it's been the people contacting me—or responding to my previous emails—that have kept me busy this time. That is a refreshing change, but it has certainly kept me on my toes.

What has become most obvious in these contacts is that some come from lines which I had absolutely no material on, at all. That provides the explanation for why I was stuck in trying to figure out the nexus between our lines. Some of those DNA puzzle pieces are indeed hidden, and it takes teamwork to figure it out. That's the value in actually following through and communicating with those matches we receive when we spring for that pricey DNA testing. There actually are other people out there as keenly interested in this new genealogical pursuit as we are. It's just that it takes sifting through a few other accounts which tested—maybe for reasons other than genealogy—and just don't intend to respond to inquiries about matching family trees.

I have yet to perform that calculation suggested by Blaine Bettinger in his blog, The Genetic Genealogist, back in August. All in good time. The good thing about rain showers is that there is a lull between storms.

Above: "Rainy Evening on Hennepin Avenue," 1902 oil on canvas by German-born Robert Koehler, who spent much of his career in the United States, eventually settling in Minneapolis and being instrumental in the founding of what is now the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. Ab out time California got rain! You are gaining relatives by the minute, hopefully the connections will be found! :)

    1. I'm hoping so, Far Side. It's mind boggling to think of all the distant relatives each of us potentially has, once we go back just a few more generations and explore all their family trees!

      As they say, "Inch by inch..."

  2. It's raining lots of new family tree members for you too!!

    Goodness.. you must be closing in on 10,000 or more all told by now!

    1. Well, on my old desktop system that runs that unspeakably ancient version of Family Tree Maker, I actually have well over 14,000 individuals listed--many of them with thorough notes, including obituaries and other newspaper articles transcribed. Starting from scratch on, I haven't yet caught up to that point, but I'm sure I'm closing in on it!


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