Sunday, March 24, 2019
A Little Boost from a DNA Match
I managed to move the unmovable this past week. With a DNA match. On my dad's tree. Yeah, that tree where I had made no progress since halfway back through last year. All it takes for a match is for the right person to show up. Apparently, my journey through the land of no-shows has ended, at least for the moment.
My tree and my match's tree couldn't have been much more different. But there was one single similarity, and that is all that counts. Apparently, she has a Laskoski in her tree. And my paternal grandmother's maiden name was Laskowski. What's a silly little "w" among friends? I'd say it's a keeper.
Just to make sure, of course, I did a little fancy research footwork. My match's Lawrence in New York had the same year of birth and the same year of marriage as my Lorenz. The only problem was that I last saw my Lorenz in a church marriage record in Zerkow, and my match only had a tree going back to the American Lawrence, born in "Germany."
Fortunately, the wives both claimed the same name—but how coincidental could it be that they were both named Anna? That pushed the margin a little too much for comfort, at least for me.
There were other redeeming factors to this match, though. Historically, American enumerators were instructed to give the politically correct designation to any geographic area based on which nation was sovereign in that location at the time the record was written. Thus, in the mid-1880s, when both this "Laskoska" family and my paternal grandmother's family arrived—both in New York, incidentally—the correct designation for their homeland would have been Germany, even though they were ethnically Polish.
Just in case this does turn out to be the way this match and I are related, I'm building out her tree so I can find subsequent death records or any other report of such things as mother's maiden name. So far, the indications have been encouraging. And the stunted growth of that family tree has now given way to the blossoming of eight more names in my father's family tree. It now stands at 524 people. Still small, but I'll take any progress.
Granted, no other trees other than my own mother's line are showing any other growth. I've been concentrating on a cluster of southern research projects on that line, so it's no surprise to learn that her tree has grown by 230 names in the past two weeks. That tree now stands at 17,281 individuals. And I still have a long way to go to trace all the descendants of my fourth great grandparents, just on the McClellan line, let alone all the other branches of my maternal tree.
It's been a joy to find this new match on my father's line—not just because matches on this side of the family are rare, but because it allows me to add more names to this languishing family tree. Hopefully, learning the family stories of this new branch in the tree will serve to mirror the experiences I don't yet know about my own paternal direct line, at least if they mirror the types of experiences my own grandmother might have had as she sailed for America as a child with her two brothers and her mother. Above all, I hope this family was not quite as secretive about their past as my own direct line had been. Now having names and dates, it's a matter of chasing down supporting documentation, but all that will come in good time.