Sunday, January 27, 2019

Pausing to Keep Track

As focused as I am on preparing for my upcoming research trip to Florida, I still need to keep tabs on progress on the four family trees I'm compiling. While this has been a multi-year effort—mostly as an accountability device for consistent research progress—ever since I knew I'd be taking a specific class on southern research, and traveling to do on-site research on my mother's southern lines, I stopped working on the other trees.

Well, actually, that isn't quite true. I still do find myself wandering over to check the other three trees, mostly when I stumble upon an obituary for a distant cousin and need to glean information when it is at hand. That has happened a couple times in the past two months, adding forty eight documented names to my mother-in-law's tree, for instance, in the past two week period. Her tree is now standing at 15,989, but I don't expect to return to regular work there until I've achieved my research goals on my own mother's line. Likewise, my father's tree is frozen at its pathetic 516 names, and my father-in-law's tree at 1,514.

My mother's tree, however, is a different case. In the past two week period, I actually spent time in Salt Lake City, as planned, attending the SLIG course on southern research—the very reason I had been poring all my efforts into my mother's tree. Even though sitting in class for six hours a day all week, I managed to add 213 additional, properly documented names to my mother's tree. Now, that tree totals 16,759 individuals.

Right now, the focus is on my mother's McClellan family, the early Florida settlers who arrived in the northern part of the former territory before 1830. There are a lot of those McClellan descendants to pursue, mostly in Florida, though some returned to Georgia or the Carolinas while others migrated westward to Texas. It's been an interesting journey following their tracks.

Then, too, partnering that research with the use of DNA testing—where many of my DNA cousins are likely related to these same southern lines—I'm looking forward to gaining new matches, once the holiday sales translate into new test results. 

I suspect, with my current project to determine the identity of the one former slave who wrote the book my mother told me about when I was a child, I won't make much progress on adding McClellan descendants to my tree in the upcoming two weeks. After all, eventually, I will be making the trip back east, which in itself takes more hours than I care to think (though such a complaint pales in the face of the hardships those original immigrants endured on their trek across wilderness routes). Reading, searching for records, and interviewing local residents are activities which simply must be afforded the time to unfold on their own. My timetable in the next few weeks will undoubtedly be different than my usual romp through the generations with the ease of clicking on virtual records.

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