Sunday, January 12, 2020

Back to Counting

I thought about giving up on counting ancestors in my trees. My biweekly task of checking for research progress has been a multi-year habit, but I'm not afraid to give it up. But then, I think about the benefit of keeping track: it helps me realize that, even when I feel stuck, I may be making more headway than it seems. We all can use a little encouragement from time to time.

Still, it's been a month since I last checked my research progress. During the busy holiday season, one hardly expects to make any progress on anything other than cooking, cleaning, and wrapping packages. Despite that, I had a few pleasant surprises.

For one thing, though I had forsworn work on my mother-in-law's tree, I actually added thirty two names to her tree in the past month, owing mostly to the sad fact of finding obituaries for more of her distant cousins back in Perry County, Ohio. Her tree now stands at 17,299 individuals.

As for my own mother's tree—the one I've been working on feverishly in preparation for that colonial Virginia research class at SLIG this coming week—I didn't make much progress. This past month added thirty five more relatives to her tree, which now has 20,279 individuals.

The happiest news came with the small additions to both my father's tree and my father-in-law's tree, where I added four, and twenty one, respectively. My dad's tree—the smallest of the four, with my mystery paternal grandfather still taunting me with his secret origin—now has 658 names. My father-in-law's tree, thanks to some clues from recent DNA matches, is up to 1,584 names.

What was most interesting to see, over this past month, was the lull, at first, in DNA matches, and then the spurt in growth. The most remarkable jump was with MyHeritage, where my match count went up by 830 in the past month, and my husband's match count increased by 707.

While the other test companies advanced by much more modest proportions, they also demonstrated that post-holiday spurt we've come to expect. Whether it turns out to be as large a leap as in past years is yet to be seen, but I hope the trend doesn't die out quite yet; I'm finding some of my most helpful matches have been showing up in these most recent months. Discoveries like these DNA results sure make a difference in constructing a few more twigs on some very sparse branches in that family tree.


  1. hope you have a safe trip, avoid the flu and get many leads in your research!

    1. Thanks, Far Side. Made it to Salt Lake City just fine. We even had sunshine when we landed--along with snow! This is library-research weather!


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