Sunday, September 8, 2019

Still Doing the Same Detour

Some detours take longer than others. When I mentioned, two weeks ago, that some sudden discoveries required me to veer from my research plan, don't think I was staring down an easy fix. On the contrary, those very welcome "interruptions" have turned into my constant research focus for the entire two weeks between then and now.

The first one was in response to some well-laid cousin bait, in which a distant cousin on my mother-in-law's Gordon line reached out to connect, inadvertently gifting me with an entire missing branch of that part of her family. Ever since then, I've been plugging away, adding all the descendants—and their descendants—from that line to my mother-in-law's tree.

To give you an idea how many new names that includes, my mother-in-law's tree bumped up 107 names in the last two weeks, and now stands at 16,911 individuals. Oh, by the way, I'm not anywhere near done yet. This is just one branch of a typical Catholic family of the past centuries, and that missing branch led back to a woman who was born in 1851.

The other detour occupying my time these past weeks has included that recent DNA discovery on my father's side. Another work in progress, so far that lead has added thirty eight names to my dad's family tree, which now totals 612 people. While I realize that 612 is a far cry from the 19,123 in my mom's tree, I'm ecstatic to have made any further progress at all on this brick wall line. What I haven't been able to discover through traditional means and documentation, I've been led to, thanks to revealing results in DNA testing.

Of course, when detours budge me from my stated research plans, some other items stand still—such as my father-in-law's tree, which is still stuck at 1,551. But that's okay; it was only a month ago when an unexpected report from a subscription service had shown me an obituary that allowed me to add to that tree.

While there is no way to predict when a distant cousin is going to spring for a DNA test—or when an equally unknown distant relative's name will appear in an obituary—these are part of my research system for filling in all the blanks in those pedigree charts. In the meantime, when no other surprises pop up, you know I'll be back to business as usual, sticking to that long-term research plan, and adding to my mother's tree, the one with the count which hasn't budged at all these past two weeks. But it's fun to throw a little genealogical confetti around and celebrate those unexpected finds when they happen. I enjoy them when I can; that regularly-scheduled program will be back to normal in no time.


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