Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Challenge of Finding Just One

If that was money, the hundred year old photograph I found of the Samuel Tucker family would have long since burned a hole in my pocket. For some reason, despite having had at least eight children, Samuel and Annie Tucker have descendants who are either hard to find, or just don't answer email. I'm still wishing to find just one who will say "yes" to my offer of mailing these family photograph treasures back home.

If you've been following along with me at A Family Tapestry as I attend to my photo-rescuing project, you've seen how it works. I find an abandoned picture—including enough clues to help with identification—and do the research to find the right person and build his or her family tree. I then look at online genealogy sites to locate a researcher who is a direct descendant of the subject in the photo—although, in some cases, a diligent descendant may find me first through online searches of surnames.

In the Tucker case, despite having posted about several members of that family, I haven't heard from anyone related to that line. So, it's on to searching for direct descendants.

There are always others who include my target person in their tree. Some of those are trees much like my own—numbering in the tens of thousands of individuals—and the person who built the tree is not necessarily a direct descendant of that target person. Once I discover that is the case with a tree I'm reviewing, I set it aside and look for other possibilities among those researchers more closely related to the target person. Sometimes, almost all of the trees fall into this distant-relationship category.

Then there is that one tree which lines up well enough to demonstrate that we are looking at the right person, and that the target person is indeed a direct-line ancestor of the tree's owner. That qualifies as Happy Genealogy Dance Number One. But it sometimes is a dance which doesn't last for long.

In the case of the Samuel Tucker family, I did find one direct ancestor fairly early in the process. Unfortunately, I could tell almost right away that the chances of hearing back from this individual were slim. For Ancestry's "last signed in" category on their messaging page, this researcher was last seen "3-11 months ago." That didn't sound too promising.

Nevertheless, I sent my message. And waited. And heard nothing.

Once my research progress moved on from the parents to eldest son Jim Tucker and then to next oldest daughter Eva, it was encouraging to see that Eva had some grandchildren whose families might have been active in family history research. The only problem now is, if I message a second candidate to receive the photos, Murphy's Law dictates that the first person I had contacted will immediately show up in my inbox, delightedly claiming the photographs. Having two candidates is much more messy than having none.

As of now, that's a moot point, as I await an answer from candidate number two. Hopefully, that person will reply in the affirmative, and I'll send off the Tucker photographs, thus qualifying me to do Happy Genealogy Dance Number Two. In which case, I hope you will join me in the celebration.


  1. I finally got an answer on Ancestry from my closest match. I have a small family and had narrowed it down to a few older cousins. Surprise, I finally got a response. Surprise, She is an adoptee, Bigger surprise, she has no interest in finding her biological family.

    I am so confused as to why she did the DNA testing if she did not want to know any information about her biological family. But I was grateful for the response.

    1. Yes, considering all that, she was quite considerate to give you a reply, Miss Merry. I think many people take a DNA test, inspired by those commercials and the curiosity about their ethnic origins, and not much more.

      While I am a bit surprised, as you are, to discover that, though she is adopted, she didn't have a quest for her birth parents in mind when she tested. However, give her some time. She may be in a situation where it would not be appropriate to follow up right now, but there may come a time when she changes her mind. Likely, she will be glad to have made contact with you then. Who knows what will come of this in the future?!


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