Sunday, June 28, 2020

Counting on Connecting

The one good thing about maintaining a genealogy blog is that it can attract interested cousins. "Cousin bait," we call it among our fellow genea-bloggers: one of the main reasons we make our research conquests—and foibles—so public. We hope to attract like-minded distant cousins to the joint pursuit of our ancestors.

Thus, with the shifting goals of my current research pursuits, the more I connect to one branch of the extended family, the less I end up working on another branch. But I'm okay with that. Connecting with family is important. We need to share what we've found, and collaborating with cousins can accelerate the search.

Though I had intended to spend the last two weeks zeroing in on consolidating two trees on my husband's side into one—the better to link to DNA matches, now that we can tag these in our Ancestry account—I also ended up making the acquaintance of some DNA matches on my own maternal side, so my progress count will reflect those small victories as well as the duplication of records moved from my father-in-law's tree to that of my mother-in-law.

It is hers which will become my husband's all-in-one tree for DNA purposes, so while the numbers seem inflated, it really doesn't represent any new progress on her lines. The 224-name increase is really just that many people copied from my father-in-law's tree to hers. With that almost done—I have another two weeks of double-checking work on that project ahead of me still—her tree now stands at 19,076 names.

While I've been working on the same exercise on my own side of the family over the past month, this time the increase wasn't quite so pronounced. I added forty six names to my mother's tree, which now stands at 22,429 people, but it was mostly because of emailed inquiries I've received from cousins who found me via this blog. As I go back to review those lines, I discover updated information which allows me to add more names and documentation.

If we look at the trees I've maintained for both my father and my father-in-law—the ones now being folded into their respective wives' trees—you can tell by the numbers whose tree actually gained new individuals. On my dad's tree, which has only 715 people, I added not one new person in the last two weeks. On my father-in-law's tree, the one for which I'm currently grappling with the mystery of the far-flung descendants of his Falvey ancestry in County Kerry, I've added seventy eight new names in the past two weeks. Looking at his tree by itself, it now contains 1,812 individuals. And I still don't know how to connect them with Ireland; I've just found more descendants claiming that same mystery line.

The best part about this scenario, though, is the fact that there are other cousins out there, yearning to connect as they research their roots. Some of them have been found by genetic genealogy connections, since we have tested at all five of the current DNA companies. Some of them have wandered by, thanks to the airing of popular television series such as CeCe Moore's The Genetic Detective, which pique people's interest in finding their own roots. But some of the ones who have connected have been distant cousins I never even knew, who also are keen to find more about their family's story. Connecting with them has helped multiply our efforts to gather those details.

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