Sunday, May 3, 2020

Quarantine Numbers

As we slide into another murky quarantine week, things begin to look all the same. That nervous habit of returning, during a day's dull moments, to poke around on my pedigree charts has helped me wrack up the count on each family tree, but it strangely looks like all one gray blob. Life around here needs some color.

Still, those trees are growing. In the past two weeks, my mother's tree gained 278 new individuals, as quirky as those distant relatives may have been. Those names add to a patchwork of family history lore—at least, when I let myself take the time to chase strange news reports and other rabbit-hole-worthy endeavors—but they also increase the database size to 21,279 individuals.

Likewise, I've made some progress on my mother-in-law's tree: 189 additions to round up her tree to 18,557. On the flip side, not a single addition occurred to either my father-in-law's tree or my dad's tree; the count on those trees remains at 1713 and 713, respectively.

What is looming on my research horizon is a massive project which will not add anything to the bottom line of knowledge about more family members. It will serve a purpose, though.

Ever since added their latest feature to the DNA tests, enabling us to link a DNA match to a specific location on our tree, I've been faced with a dilemma: each of my trees represents only one side of a two-sided family. I have a tree for my maternal side, and a separate tree for my mystery paternal side. Because I had to choose which tree to link with my own DNA test results, I had chosen my maternal tree, simply because it contained more extensive work. Now, though, it means I cannot link any matches from my father's side to this selected tree—unless I go through the grunt work of combining the two trees. Likewise for my husband's DNA match and his parents' two trees.

I predict that combining chore will cost me the ability to keep up my usual research pace in the next two weeks, but it is what it is. Sometimes, we just have to get some work done on the nitty gritty of the process. Look on the bright side: when the job is past me, perhaps then I'll find some great DNA matches to break through the barrier of silence that has kept our family from discovering my grandfather's past. Even in lockdown, it never hurts to keep a sunny outlook.

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