Sunday, December 27, 2015

Last Tally for 2015

Since the end of February, back at the beginning of this year, I've made sure to keep a count of my progress on the four family lines I've been researching. Twice a month, I've posted that tally—checking how many additional relatives have been added to my paternal and maternal trees, as well as those of my husband's parents.

Granted, twice a month is not the same as every two weeks. Sometimes, there's been a greater grace period between tallies. Like this month, when the holiday rush made it much more feasible to check that last count of the year after Christmas, rather than before the big day.

Of course, that helps me end the year with an extra large helping of time—which will either result in an encouragingly large leap forward...or disguise a woeful lack of progress. I'll let you be the judge.

Unlike last month, when total focus on my maternal line—in hopes of uncovering that nexus with my mystery cousin at long last—eclipsed any progress on the other three lines I'm seeking, this month saw a bit of a backlash. I spent more time on my mother-in-law's line, mainly in hopes of resolving a number of DNA matches. And yet, after all that work, I still don't know anything more about how my husband matches these other people.

For better or for worse, here are my numbers for the second half of December.

On my maternal line, I pushed ahead with the addition of 163 ancestors and their relatives to my genealogy database, bringing the total to 6,868. Admittedly not as stellar as the nearly 600 I had added for the previous report, but progress is progress—even if only adding one solitary name. I contacted one additional DNA match—though we are still puzzling over what connection we might share—out of the eight more matches I've received, bringing my total number of DNA matches to 975. My most recent match occurred on the twentieth; considering the holidays, I suspect there won't be many more until things return to normal, non-holiday mode in January.

As has been the case for months, there are no additions to my paternal tree—nor to my DNA matches on the paternal side. I haven't had any matches to my father's line since July 13. Considering the small size of the family and their name-changing, puzzling history, I doubt I'll make much headway for several more months.

That's been the case on my husband's paternal line, as well, though I'd like to see it progress more. I keep hoping for someone in Ireland or Canada to test and turn out to be a match. Looks like I'll have to keep hoping.

The pace has quickened on my mother-in-law's line, though. This is thanks to a number of reasons. For one thing, joining the D.A.R. has spurred me on to seek out documentation on those patriot lines I know would make my sisters-in-law eligible for membership. In addition, I've stumbled upon another branch in their Ijams line—a large family which, moving from Ohio to Iowa, seemed to successfully pass along that large-family tendency down through the generations.

Thanks to all that, I've been able to add 229 names to the database, bringing the total on my mother-in-law's line to 2,632. With the addition of nine DNA matches through December 21, there are now a total of 568. I've been corresponding with one additional potential second cousin about just how she matches that line—while we've yet to make the connection, I'm sure we'll arrive at a conclusion soon.

While it seems so incremental to track this progress twice each month, when I look back to the beginning of this record-keeping segment, the long view makes for an encouraging thought. When I started in February, I had less than 1400 names in my maternal tree, 143 in my paternal tree, less than 700 in my husband's paternal tree, and barely 900 in his maternal tree. Now, the numbers stand at 6,868 for my maternal, 150 for my paternal, 923 for my husband's paternal and 2,632 for his maternal tree. Taking the long view shows me that slow and steady is the best way to get to that goal—no matter what it is. But the best part is, just seeing those numbers go up, week after week, provides the encouragement that fuels the progress even more.

Yeah, I know that constantly rising numbers are an unreasonable hope. At some point, the rising arc will stagger under the impossibility of an infinite winning streak. And even if they did keep going up, it wouldn't guarantee that I'd meet my real goal: to find the nexus with my mystery cousin.

But in the wake of all this progress, I'll leave a data stream rich with details that will help numerous other DNA-matching cousins find out just how we connect. Even if I lose one, I'll win so many others.

Above: "In Deep Winter," oil on canvas by Austrian industrialist and landscape painter, Richard von Drasche-Wartinberg; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. The new years resolutions will probably have something in them about linking up those "mystery cousins"!


    1. I don't usually venture into the "New Year's Resolutions" territory. I invariably don't end up being as resolute as one might hope. But yeah...the mystery cousin wrap up would be a superb end to the New Year!


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