Sunday, December 3, 2017

Closing in on Another Year's End

It's December. Already. It may have seemed like a long year while it was unwinding, but now that we're in the last month, I'm seeing a to-do list longer than the calendar page.

Keeping up with my progress in family history research for the entire year will yield some interesting observations, come the end of this year. After today's count, I only have two more biweekly tallies, then the year is gone forever. It will be interesting to measure how much has been done—a little here, a little there, for a whole year. Baby steps can add up.

For now, I'm still switching back and forth between my mother's tree and the tree for my mother-in-law. Each of them are relatively easy to work on, and sometimes yield interesting stories. (After moaning over the lack of such stories yesterday, I went on to discover one fascinating tidbit about an in-law for a distant cousin on my mother's side; if the facts check out and there is no mistaken identity, I may have a story to share, after all.)

My mother-in-law's tree is still the one out in front, mostly by virtue of those traditional Catholic values multiplied out by countless generations since arriving on American shores. Right now, her tree includes 13,586 individuals, an increase of 191 over the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, my mother's tree lags behind at 11,820, though I did manage to add 138 additional, documented family members. Perhaps it is a bit more challenging to research her lines, after all.

One thing I absolutely must change for next year is to attend to the trees of both my father and my father-in-law. Granted, I'd be delighted if I could return to Ireland to pursue my father-in-law's ancestry, but that is not in the plans for quite a while. can hope. It would help, though, if my father's tree hadn't remained at 452 for the entire month of November, nor my father-in-law's at 1,392. That's no way to make progress.

With the onslaught of the holiday shopping season, there is one thing I can look forward to: seeing the results from all those DNA test kits which will be gifted to family members this Christmas or Hanukkah. I don't suppose we'll see the bulge in our match lists until well into January, but least Hanukkah comes early this year (beginning the evening of December 12), giving a jump start on getting those kits back in to the lab. Besides, I'm curious to see whether my ordering yet another kit from MyHeritage DNA will be the key opening the door to more European matches for my father's elusive line.

Right now, our DNA situation stands rather still. I have 2,562 matches at Family Tree DNA, up thirty one from last time, a nice jump. My husband has 1,625 there, up twelve. At AncestryDNA, my count of matches (fourth cousin and closer) increased by only two—hurry up, holiday sales!—but I have 771 matches, which is enough to keep me busy. My husband has 388, up five, so it looks like things are slowing down for him, as well. At 23andMe, the only place where my husband has more matches than I do, he's got 1,181 and I have 1,134. Of course, that's the company where our numbers shrink for almost every tally, but this time, my husband didn't lose any from the previous count, though I lost four matches. Checking this at the end of the year will be interesting.

We've yet to see how the holiday season will impact research progress. Though life in general gets more hectic in this last month of the year, at least many regular obligations take a hiatus during the month of December. Hopefully, in the rest of the month, I'll be able to squeeze in a few more hours of research before closing the year out with my last report on New Year's Eve.

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