Sunday, February 9, 2020
Back to the Count
You know how it is when one takes a vacation: after you get back, you need a vacation to catch up on all the work you couldn't do while you were gone. But now—finally—after all the stacks of mail have been opened and attended to, the laundry pile has been reduced to a more moderate level (laundry is never done), and the work duties caught up on, it's time to get back to keeping track of that research progress.
Of course, I have a good excuse for my poor showing in January: I was out having fun at research libraries and conducting oral interviews with family members. Now that I'm back to a regular schedule, it is reassuring to see progress resume on those four family trees I've been compiling.
Since my focus in the past two weeks has been on tracking down some missing Gordons, naturally, my mother-in-law's tree would see the benefit, since Gordon is a surname on both sides of her family. And the numbers bore that out. In the past two weeks, I was able to add 323 names to her tree, mostly of Gordon collateral lines from the Perry County, Ohio, area. Her tree is now up to 17,704 individuals.
Now that I've shifted focus away from my own mother's tree, it likewise showed that impact in the biweekly numbers. I was only able to add nine new names to her tree, which now stands at 20,311 individuals.
Until I get to those Twelve Most Wanted ancestors who figure in either my father's or my father-in-law's trees, don't be surprised to see activity on those two lines to remain at one great big fat zero. Right now—as it has been for months—my father's tree stands at 658 individuals, and my father-in-law's tree is at 1,584.
Every fortnight, I also track additions to the DNA matches for both my line and my husband's line. As one might suspect, given the recent news of downturns at major genetic genealogy companies, our incoming DNA matches have slowed to a dribble. Where I used to see number roaring along at a brisk pace, they now come in at the lowest level of double digits. The only exception is for MyHeritage, where in the past two weeks, I gained ninety one matches, and my husband received 112. Perhaps it is that company's international reach which permits them to continue such an increase, week over week—but don't be fooled by the raw numbers. In past years, our matches from MyHeritage far exceeded even those counts.
Perhaps it may seem as if I am harping on this issue, but I am very concerned about this situation. My concern, however, is far different than that of an analyst, seeking to bolster sales numbers, or the stockholders, wary of decreasing value of their investments. My focus is on the waning condition of what used to be genealogy's culture of open sharing. Even in a nearly worldwide collective of avocational researchers where once we operated in an ethos of cooperation, we've been permeated with an aura of distrust so foreign to this community.
While I mourn the decrease of the interpersonal aspect of genealogy, we all can still work to counter that trend. And, of course, I need to continue focusing on the research goals I've set out for myself for the upcoming year. As long as the research gets done, that progress will be seen. Counting makes it more visible, which fuels the encouragement to keep on keeping on.