Sunday, November 1, 2020

Cleaning (Tree) House


It's a new month. Forget that—it's almost a new year. And that reminds me of my resolutions, nearly a year ago, to clean house on my family tree.

Let's just say I stalled on that project, once those DNA matches dragged me halfway around the world. It's high time I keep a closer eye on the ticking clock. I have one more branch of my family to straighten up before the end of the year.

Sadly, that last research detour took a toll on my general progress. I like to check that progress every two weeks, but lately the numbers have tanked. Take a look at this: for my mother's line, I only added sixty eight new individuals to her tree in the past two weeks. Thanks to a DNA discovery on my mother-in-law's line, her numbers are a bit better—up seventy seven—but not any sweeping victory. And the men in our extended family? Zero for each of their trees—for my dad and even for my father-in-law, no matter how much I tried to tie together all those Falvey DNA matches.

Yes, yes, I know: my mom's tree is still a healthy 23,616 individuals strong. And my mother-in-law's tree is again catching up: 19,334 this weekend.

There is, however, a shift taking place, and it's in preparation for the next batch of my "Twelve Most Wanted" ancestors. This month—and likely through the rest of this waning year—I'm going to tackle my father's mystery paternal roots, and especially those DNA matches I found over a year ago who merited their own hidden, private tree, simply because I couldn't determine how to attach them in my dad's tree. I even toyed with hypotheses by setting up a private, unsearchable tree only for those DNA folks, so I could build their tree and see how each of them are related to each other

Now, I'm getting ready to take that scary step and attach that growing, theoretical tree to my dad's tree. And when I do: presto! Instant growth! That tree will suddenly encounter a growth spurt.

For now, though, I don't quite have the guts to do something so drastic. So I'm promising myself this month to explore that hypothesis just one more time. And then to tidy up what I've found on the new family, and make space to insert them into the old.

In the meantime, we'll take some time this coming week to reacquaint ourselves with Anna Zegar, or Zegarska, who became the lonely old woman in New York City we met as Anna Krauss—until a tragic turn of events uncovered an unexpected different name for the same woman.

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