Sunday, August 26, 2018

Can't Visit Family
Without Talking Family Tree

I had decided, once I signed up for that SLIG class in southern research last July, to focus exclusively on my mother's southern roots from that point until I took off for class next January in Salt Lake City. That didn't last long, though, once we arrived in Chicago last weekend on our way to the FGS conference in Fort Wayne.

Chicago time is cousin-visiting time, at least for the Stevens family. I realized our official family tree on didn't include kids and grandkids of our Stevens cousins, so this was my moment to rectify that oversight.

Not that I didn't also work on my mother's tree, but after spending a few weeks reading through probate files on my McClellan and related lines ahead of time for traveling to the conference, I didn't expect to have made much headway in this biweekly period. That's the main reason for counting names to track progress. It helps me not get discouraged when I think I haven't made any progress. did it go, this busy past two weeks? Not much different than expected. I managed to add 119 to my mother's family tree, despite traveling and slogging through long-winded probate files. Now, the count on her tree is at 14,505.

While there was absolutely no improvement on either my father's or my mother-in-law's tree, there was that little addition to my father-in-law's tree while we visited family in Chicago. Opening up my laptop and adding the names as each cousin gave them to me, I managed to add twenty three names of cousins' children and grandchildren, so now the Stevens tree includes 1,513 people.

On the other side of the equation, where I count the increase in DNA matches, I'm hoping to break out of the lackluster results with the new matches soon to be generated from this latest of sales. Now that the bulge in DNA matches has subsided from the Father's Day sale, I'm hoping activity will rev up again with results from summer sales. Family Tree DNA closes out its sales on August 31 and MyHeritageDNA launches its Labor Day sale through September 3. Nothing on the horizon for either AncestryDNA nor 23andMewhich was notably absent from the exhibit hall at the FGS conference, now that the genealogy industry is merely chump change in the face of the $300 million deal just signed with pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline.

It would be nice to find some additional close DNA matches, true, and sales do generate that possibility, but my main focus will always be on the paper chase, so my goal will be to continue the research work to verify each new name's place in each branch of our family trees. That means keeping on with bite-sized goals and biweekly checks on progress. There's nothing magic about this approach. Slow and steady work is what is most likely to produce results in the long run.

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