Sunday, February 28, 2016

Slow and Steady

Sometimes, the pursuit of family history seems like a horse race: anxiously rushing to get to the finish line. We know, however, that one can never say, "I've finished my tree." There is always one more to add to the lineage.

Other times, genealogical research can move so slowly, it stalls out. Worse, suffers a head-on, straight into a brick wall. Thankfully, I'm not there in every line, so at least I enjoy the forward movement of progress.

Lately, I've benefited from that pace which seems most suited to current circumstances: the slow and steady progress of working a bit each day, making enough progress to satisfy, not overwhelm. Carrying my iPad around to catch those spare times when waiting is the order of the moment, I've apparently been able to boost those statistics I regularly check for research progress.

One plus to this half-month worth of work came in those paternal lines which had remained dormant for several months. Admittedly, I've struggled with my own paternal line, simply because of the aliases adopted by newly-arrived immigrants in my ancestry. That's the brick wall part of the scenario. And I haven't made any headway there, even now. I'm still stuck at 180 names in that tree, same as it's been since the first of the year.

On my husband's paternal tree, however, I did budge the numbers upward—though only microscopically. I went back to collateral lines linked to his direct ancestry, in hopes of finding clues about the bigger family story, and added some names and documentation. With the addition of that mere four names, his paternal tree now stands at 937 people.

Because I've been focusing on that supplemental application for DAR for my daughter—coincidentally providing membership status for my sisters-in-law—I made the most progress on my husband's maternal line, adding 134 in the past two weeks, bringing the total count on that tree to 3,183. Keep in mind, those numbers are owing to my strategy to include collateral lines, mainly because I'm partnering that genealogical research with DNA testing; the fuller trees help align those distant cousin matches with far more ease than the traditional direct-line-only research.

On my own maternal line, the numbers bumped up another 61 names to bring the total there to 7,285.

The DNA side of the equation has been moving along quite well, with the addition of a second test for each of us at Ancestry DNA. I now have 1,045 matches at Family Tree DNA with the addition of 18 new names in the past two weeks, and received ten more matches at Ancestry DNA in the same time period, bringing the total there to 242. My husband received eight more matches at FTDNA, bringing his total there to 616. His count at Ancestry DNA rose ten to total 97.

With the past two weeks presenting an atypical schedule, I haven't had much time to focus on making contacts with those new matches. However, I did connect with two matches on my maternal line, and one on my husband's maternal line. Bit by bit, we head closer toward our goals—which is why slow and steady sometimes is the best policy, when it comes to genealogical research.

Above: "The 1821 Derby at Epsom," oil on canvas by French pioneer of the Romantic movement, Jean-Louis André Théodore Géricault; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. The numbers in your tree stagger me.


    1. When you think of the cumulative effect of having worked on one's family tree for years--or even decades--these numbers are not really staggering. My original desktop-resident database had well over fourteen thousand; I have yet to reconcile it with my trees online at Ancestry.

      And really, when you think of how such online services as Ancestry supercharge the search process, it really isn't all that surprising. We can do so much more with our research now--especially in validation through documentation--than we ever could have done before, and it shows in the numbers.


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