Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Moving from a Tentative Yes
to a Definitive Maybe


Slowly, slowly, the lethargy of indecision gives way to the realm of "maybe." How hard it is to trust the results of a paperless DNA test.

Now, after well over a year, that first DNA discovery on my paternal line—thanks to the AutoClusters tool at MyHeritage—has blossomed into nearly a dozen matches tying my paternal grandfather to an extended family of Polish immigrants bound for Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A good percentage of those DNA matches, it's true, descend from those same two Zegarska sisters whom I suspect were also the sibling of my paternal grandfather's mother—the woman I only know (on paper) as immigrant to New York City, Anna Krauss.

Unfortunately, on my side of the equation, there are very few others to ask to test, if I wanted to see any further DNA evidence. My cousins from my paternal aunt's side of the family would also be descendants of Anna through that same son, offering me no new information I couldn't already glean from a paper trail. Anna's daughter, the one the family called Aunt Rose, had no children that I can find. Anna had no other children, leaving no other way to double check from our family lines, other than her son—the man who frustratingly changed his name, with no documented explanation, to John T. McCann.

But those other Zegarska daughters I found in the marriage records, back in their Polish hometown of Czarnylas: I'm still working diligently to trace their descendants. Just yesterday, I added thirty four names to that private tree I'm building on all those DNA matches for this Zegarska connection. Since the beginning of November, that means the tree has grown by 114 names.

In the meantime, I've worked on the line of yet another Zegarska sister who married and moved from Czarnylas to Milwaukee, allowing me to confirm yet another DNA match. And that makes me realize why it is so important to make my decision and plug these families into my main tree at Ancestry: it will give me the utility of not only noting these people as DNA matches right in my tree, but also tagging them so the connection is verified.

Yet, I still feel the need to be indecisive. Perhaps wrapping up a few more of these DNA "shared matches" will help bolster that confidence. Before I tag anyone in my public tree, I want to confirm how they connect via the paper trail, as much as possible. It would be helpful to reassess the head count as confirmation. If nothing else, it will provide a solid platform from which I can finally take that DNA-based leap of faith.

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