Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Back to Those Mundane Tasks of Daily Life

The excitement—and sheer exhaustion—of cramming in two full days of learning at the Family Tree DNA conference are now over. It's back to reality for me. A four hour flight put Houston far behind me yesterday. Though I'm glad to be back in California-style sunshine, that means not only returning to routine tasks, but catching up on some missed duties, as well.

One of those duties is my twice-monthly recap on progress in building out my family trees and concurrently pursuing DNA matches. See? I told you: mundane.

So, humor me as I recap my progress since my last report at the close of October.

It will come as no surprise that, after our family's trip back to Chicago in late October, another trip east following so soon afterwards would disrupt the rhythm of regular genealogical research. When you're having fun, some work obviously has to be set aside.

As far as building out those family trees goes, the winner in the progress category was the tree for my mother-in-law's family, where there was a 104-name increase to total 8,915 in her tree. The next most eventful was my mother's tree, where I added fifty additional names, bringing hers to almost the same size: 8,925. As a spillover from our Stevens research trip to Chicago, my father-in-law's tree gained seven more entries to total 1,080 in the tree. And my own father's tree stayed at dead last with absolutely no additions and a pitiful total of 345. Someday, Poland, we'll figure a way to crack through those mystery records.

The encouraging thing, with holidays approaching (which always seems to mean holiday DNA test sales), is that there may be more robust matches in our future. For now, the increase in matches at AncestryDNA has slowed to a trickle. Eight more matches on my mother's side gives me a total of 403 matches. Only six more arrived for my husband's side, where he now has aggregated 177 matches.

Progress at FTDNA was slightly better. Fifteen matches came in for my husband, leaving him with a total of 929 matches through November 9, the last time his file was updated. On my side, nineteen new matches arrived, including one for my father's side, adding up to a cumulative 1,463 DNA matches in total.

Still on the horizon are results from a third testing company, 23andMe, where we are hoping to examine my husband's matches with his two cousins who have already tested there—and, of course, take a close look at any new matches which develop from this third field of inquiry.

Of course, with the new sales coupons coming out on Mondays at FTDNA through the holiday shopping season—likely to be followed by competing offers from the other testing companies—hopefully we'll see an uptick in matches as the increased volume moves its way through the production cycle.

While there's always hope for that perfect match that answers all our genealogical questions, in the meantime, the best approach is to get back to cranking out the research and diligently contacting those matches whose relationships seem most likely to yield confirmation via the tried-and-true paper trail.

In a nutshell: time to settle down at home and get back to work!


  1. Yes, someday (and hopefully soon!) you will smash the brick walls in your own family. It must be mega-frustrating.

    1. Well, the frustration is there, but it's the hope that keeps propelling me forward. Gotta keep on the positive side.

  2. Good to hear you are back home safe and sound:)

    1. Thanks, Far Side. It's always fun--and inspiring--to go to these conferences, but you know what they say: "There's no place like home."


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