Monday, February 20, 2017

To Do or Not to Do: That is the Question

Some people live or die by their to-do lists. Me? Not so much. I do, however, keep a general idea in the back of my mind regarding where I intend to go with a project—a more free-form approach to getting things done.

That approach may have been a bit too free-form for you to determine just what I was up to, last week, so I feel a recap is in order. If you were wondering about my Saturday morning musings over which other genealogical services I should use to upload my family tree, this will hopefully provide somewhat of an explanation. And it will also help tie in to my Friday comment about striking out into the "real" world to see if we can locate any clues as to that mystery photo album I found and just whom the intended recipient might have been, back in December of 1936.

I may be slow at arriving at my goals, but I do eventually get there—even without a strict to-do list.

Over the weekend, I attended to that task of uploading my family tree to my new subscription at FindMyPast, so I can check that off my list call that goal done. There wasn't too much angst over whether I should do that or not; fishing in one more pond is definitely to my benefit, if my goal is to dangle more cousin bait out there, in hopes of connecting with fellow family researchers.

Where I did face that angst, though, was when I finally came to the question of whether to tinker with a family tree at There are, in my mind, several drawbacks to that research tactic. For one thing, it always seemed to me to be one of those universal trees, where others can "correct" entries that I have spent considerable time confirming. I don't like the arbitrary feeling in that sort of milieu.

The second main concern I have is that there is no possibility to simply upload a GEDCOM and be finished with the task in a matter of moments. I understand the reasons why, of course, but it can be a rather daunting task to add the nearly ten thousand names, for instance, that I have on just one of my trees.

As the weekend was drawing to a close, however, I figured I may as well take the leap. I didn't transfer the entire monstrosity of my maternal tree, of course, but strategized to come up with a choice that would get me uploaded without too much work: I selected my paternal tree. That one, if you remember from my biweekly stats, happens to be the smallest of the trees that I manage. It also happens to be the one with the most international connections. Keeping in mind the symbiotic relationship between and MyHeritage—a company with a widely international customer base—I thought my Polish roots might bring up some interesting connections. What did I have to lose there?

I did have, however, an ulterior purpose for uploading a tree to It has nothing to do with being able to make connections with distant Polish cousins. But it does have to do with the family tree we've been speculating about, ever since I began writing about the mystery photo album I found in that northern California antique shop.

You see, bit by bit, as I was writing, some kind readers have been feeding me hints gleaned from astute searching on the Internet. Some of those hints were posted directly below my entries, in the comments section. Some were emailed to me privately—and for good reason: they have to do with living persons, whose privacy we must respect.

As you may have guessed, that connection with a possible living descendant of Harry and Alice Hawkes Reid has much to do with my decision to painstakingly enter portions of my family tree at Posting a tree and becoming a subscriber entitles one to permission to connect with other Geni users. And one of those users—as I found out, thanks to Iggy—just happened to post an entry on one of the Hawkes family members. Now, that's a researcher I want to talk to!

Now that I've settled that question of whether to post my tree on, I have a new question gnawing away at me. Will this new research contact answer my email? Or not?

I can hardly stand the wait.

Ruby - playing robbers - June 1936.


  1. Iggy is amazing! I hope you hear from a Hawkes researcher...I am betting it will be Iris or Ruby's children:)

    1. Yes, I am convinced Iggy can find anything online! And yes, Far Side, I'm hoping for a grandchild who will be interested in receiving the album. I'm sure you can relate to this part of the waiting process.


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