Sunday, January 28, 2018

Working on
Today's Family History Happenings

Leave it to the birth of a baby to help me add to the more current side of our family's story. Every time I get a birth announcement, I have to be quick to add that information to our family tree, or it's doomed to be forgotten.

Sometimes, we are so preoccupied with telling the stories of family long gone that we neglect to keep current on the family events happening right under our noses. We forget that someday, these brand new babies will become the great grandparents listed in some distant descendant's family history records. What if we cause them as much research grief as our great-greats cause us?

So when I spotted my cousin announcing, on social media, the arrival of her brand new granddaughter, I opened up my genealogy database and made sure to insert the particulars.

Since this happens to be on my paternal treeone of two trees in which I've not made any progress in months, despite good intentionsI decided to spruce things up while I was there. As it turns out, that inspired me to add a total of six namesbaby plus five others. That tree isn't standing still anymore; we now have 458 family members listed. That's a start. And each week, I need to make an effort to do something on that tree, to keep that tiny start rolling.

The effort rubbed off on another tree where I'm stuck: my father-in-law's family. No new babies to coo over here, at the moment, but I still managed to add ten more names. That tree is now up to 1,402 peopleand counting, I keep telling myself.

Being away at the Salt Lake Genealogical Institute cut into my research time in the past two weeks, of course. It isn't every day that working on genealogy results in an expanded family tree. In this case, I'm certainly willing to cut myself some slack. My mother's tree didn't move one single name in the past two weeks, so I'm stuck at 12,002 in that tree. However, I had a wonderful opportunity to network with a fellow SLIG classmate who happens to live close to the place in Tennessee where my mother's paternal line once lived, and she was kind enough to offer to check some things for me when she returned home. Who knows? It would be encouraging to break through some difficult stretches in that family's line.

Despite lacking progress in my research for the past two weeks, I did, surprisingly, manage to add seventy one names to my mother-in-law's tree. That line now has a count of 14,101. I often wonder why some family lines are more easily found than others, but as long as I can make research progress, I guess I shouldn't fuss over such trivial concerns too much.

It appears the holiday sales results are hitting the DNA match counts. At least for our family, the relative number of matches has increased almost double the usual amount for this two week time period. I managed to gain forty five matches at Family Tree DNA and thirty six at AncestryDNA. My husband gained thirty at FTDNA and fifteen at AncestryDNA. (You know we lost a handful each at the puzzling 23andMe.) And this coming week will begin the addition of stats for a fourth DNA testing company: MyHeritage.

There are some key areas I'll want to focus on in my research this year, which may divert my attention from the DNA-based goal of broadening each family's universal database of descendants, so my progress may slow over the next few months.

On the other hand, I want to put more effort into my father's tree and my father-in-law's tree. These are trees of our families' most recent immigrants, so the progress will be much slower than I've seen in my colonial family lines. But that work cannot be ignored. Every challenging branch of the tree, once conquered, opens up possibilities for those who are coincidentally researching lines which are contiguous to mine. We are all working as one invisibly-bound-together team, sorting through pieces in a gigantic human puzzle. Each piece one of us puts in its rightful place may enable someone else to subsequently break out of a stuck position and take a step forward, as well. That step, taken, may open up a path for yet another researcher in a chain reaction that benefits us all, as we crowdsource our discoveries.

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