Sunday, May 17, 2020

It Seems Like a Lot of Work . . .

...but it really wasn't.

It's time for my biweekly progress review, when I track how many additional relatives I've added to each of four trees: one for each of my daughter's grandparents. Only now, due to some new DNA match evaluation tools, I'm finding it would have been more advantageous for me if I had begun this research journey by combining each of these trees into one big, happy family.

I'm not going to quite that extent, but since Ancestry DNA added their tool to link matches to their position in my tree—note the use of "tree" in the singular—I've begun the process of adding my smaller paternal line to my mother's tree.

I'm proceeding at a need-to-know rate, adding branches of my father's tree to my mom's now-universal tree as needed, so I don't leave new matches hanging in mid-air for lack of the proper branch in the diagram. Still, it certainly made today's progress report swell with numbers of individuals whose discovery wasn't exactly a hard-earned victory. I've already discovered these people and done the due diligence of linking the appropriate documentation over on my dad's tree, already. This was just a copy-and-paste exercise. No heavy lifting involved.

Still, it did take me back a step when I realized that process resulted in adding a full 550 people to my mother's tree in the last two weeks. It does sound overwhelming! And now, the total for my mom's tree is an inflated 21,829 names. This date will definitely require a footnote in explanation. I don't think I've ever added that many names in two weeks before—at least not when I've done the bona fide research for it.

Of course, I'll still keep tabs on my dad's separate tree, to see if I make any new discoveries. As it turned out, there were two new additions to his tree in this biweekly review. His tree now includes 715 people—several, but not all of whom are also duplicated on my mother's tree, for the DNA-linking purposes.

As for my mother-in-law's tree, absolutely no progress occurred there, since I've been riveted on the task of linking DNA matches to their position on my trees. Once I start to connect matches to my father-in-law's side of the equation, I will need to replicate the same process for my mother-in-law's tree as I've done for my own mom's tree.

For whatever reason, each of the men in our family have much smaller trees than their wives do. In my father-in-law's case, that means only 1,713 people—the same number it's been stuck at since the beginning of April. But my mother-in-law's tree will soon take off from its stalled position at 18,557 individuals—where it has been stuck since the beginning of May.

Between this new utility at Ancestry DNA to connect matches to their place in our trees, plus their Thru-Lines suggestions, I've been project-focused in my work on those trees, with good results. It's a different sort of approach—much like genealogical spring cleaning, reviewing the family lines of those matches to insure they are included at the right point in my trees.

Not that there aren't surprise discoveries, or that I haven't also been continuing my usual step-by-step research approach. In fact, I've stumbled upon another story, which I'll share in a post later this week. There is always another story hidden within all this data, a conviction I've always held, which seems continually to confirm itself. We may think people are made up of dates and locations, but the crux of the matter is that lives are made up of stories. We just need those dates to point us in the right direction.

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