Monday, November 23, 2020

Pulling the Trigger on the Family Tree


News flash: three more days and, at least in the United States, Thanksgiving will be upon us. Following that event—assuming we all survive the weekend which brings consumer-oriented Americans an extended "Black Friday"—there is only one more weekday left to the beleaguered month of November. That means—for those who have been counting this year—I have precious few days left to get back on track with my research plan for my "Twelve Most Wanted" ancestors for 2020.

In other words, for my great-grandmother Anna—whoever she was—I need to decide whether to pull the trigger and add a pile of DNA matches to my family tree, or defer the decision yet another year.

The preponderance of DNA fingers pointing to a blood relationship with the Zegarska sisters of Czarnylas in historic Pomerania—now part of present-day Poland—seems convincing. And yet, I hesitate. Why, for instance, did all the Zegarski relatives of "Anna" head to Milwaukee while my great-grandmother ended up in New York? There are just too many loose ends in Anna's own story leaving me in doubt. Untraceable subsequent marriages for Anna and a death certificate riddled with "unknown" responses don't inspire any confidence in a paper trail. Then, too, what if there was a missing other explanation for why all those Zegarska descendants connect to my DNA test?

Perhaps I am waiting for "evidence" which is non-existent. If there is no paper trail, what else can be said for the family in a proof argument?

And yet, I promised myself I'd spend a month each on twelve of my brick wall relatives. Sometimes, we gather all the information we can find, and then...wait. There are always new databases coming online, new record sets digitized and uploaded to genealogical websites, and other ways to reach out and connect with relatives who might have private collections, as well. While I wish for the smoking gun to clinch the genealogical argument, I have to remember that, first, I need to pull the trigger on the loaded apparatus I'm already holding.

With that, I will hold my breath, cover my eyes, and click whichever button it takes to upload my private, unsearchable DNA match tree to my main DNA-linked tree on Ancestry. That means that combined family tree will increase by 840 individuals, all somehow related to my Milwaukee DNA matches in that private stash I've been growing on the dark side of Ancestry.

In the meantime, in the remaining few days left in this month of November, I've got a small bit of unfinished business to attend to on the other half of this Zegarska partnership: the husband of Anna, er, Anastasia, who came into the family's picture with his 1868 marriage to Anastasia, and somehow disappeared after the last recorded birth for the couple in 1876. 


Above: Entry for the 1868 marriage of Thomas Puchała and Anastasia Zegarska in Czarnylas, Poland; transcription of original records provided by the Pomeranian Genealogical Association.

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