Sunday, March 8, 2020

Things Aren't Looking So Bad, After All

Those who spend their genealogical research time banging their head against a wall don't get much else accomplished. Perhaps that's why I'm wearying of that quest to find my mother-in-law's third great-grandfather Simon Rinehart's parents: I'm not making progress anywhere else in my research while I'm stalled out on my ol' buddy Simon.

With that in mind, I wasn't looking forward to my biweekly count for today. Getting stuck on Simon meant not making much progress on the rest of my Twelve Most Wanted, let alone anyone else. Not so, as it turned out. That's why keeping a count can be valuable: it can lift you up when you are dejected about stalled research progress.

Here's how the past two weeks looked, despite Simon.

For one thing, my mother-in-law's tree did not stand still in the research lull; I managed to add sixty four additional names to her tree. I'm not sure how it all added up to that new count of 17,839 individuals, but perhaps it was on account of the few obituaries I needed to add to the records, over and above Rinehart wrestling.

Nor did the Rinehart riddle keep me from progressing on the other trees under my care. On my own mother's tree, one hundred and one names managed to materialize over the past two weeks, mainly thanks to some emails which prompted me to tie together a few connections with other researchers, one of whom actually found me via some older posts on this very blog. My mom's tree now has 20,579 individuals.

Although my dad's tree is again standing still—a big fat zero for progress there in the past two weeks—a DNA match which showed up just this weekend caught my eye because it belongs to that mystery family of my paternal grandfather. I'm hoping this connection, though another distant cousin, will help me confirm the origin of that grandfather's parents. Maybe then, I can increase his tree's count from the same 658 names which have been there for weeks, now.

It was DNA again which put a spurt into research for my father-in-law's tree, as well. I'm still working my way through the family lines of a couple DNA matches who are third cousins, once removed. While such matches seem like distant relationships, they are still close enough to enable finding the most recent common ancestor, simply by comparing trees. The paperwork going backwards in time from the present cousin connection leads to the right ancestor—it's just unfortunate that, back in that time period, no documentation survived to confirm on paper what DNA can confirm by test matches.

These past two weeks confirm once again that genealogy can be a case of "line upon line" as each barely-noticeable detail is added to the family tree. Each bit of a hint seems so insignificant, when viewed alone, but when taken in the aggregate, can add up to an encouraging amount of progress, after all.

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