Sunday, December 13, 2020

Counting on It


There is one thing I can say for setting research goals and steadily plugging away at those goals: eventually, we make progress.

Although I may be tangled up with this month's research goal—the last of my Twelve Most Wanted for 2020, my Gramlewicz connections from Zerkow, Poland—I am nonetheless making progress. That alone is gratifying, although it would be nice to find the answer to my specific question about family connections. After all, how did that collateral Gramlewicz-Laskowski marriage connect to my family? I still don't know, but I have only two more weeks to arrive at the answer.

Thankfully, there is a bit more left to this month (minus the holidays), so here's where I stand after the last two weeks plus the ongoing tree-merge results from last month's research conquest. News flash: combining two trees can make it look like one researcher has been incredibly busy. In the last two weeks, my mother's tree—now my unified tree with roots of both parents blended in, thanks to discoveries about my paternal grandfather—grew by 653 names. The tree now has 24,594 names.

That may seem like a lot accomplished, but it actually wasn't work completed solely in two weeks. Remember, this is a project I've been plugging away at for more than a year, once I started seeing DNA matches who could link to none other than my mystery grandfather. It's just that I finally got brave and connected the nearly 800 names in a private, unsearchable tree I had been constructing with the public tree I had used for my mother's family. The past two weeks has shown the result of finishing that great migration of data.

I made the change in tree configuration to accommodate the change Ancestry made months ago—the one in which subscribers can actually tag and link a DNA match to the specific position in the family tree. Since only one tree could be used for this feature, I had to ditch the idea of keeping a separate tree for each side of the family.

I'm making the same change on my husband's tree by rolling over my father-in-law's smaller tree into my mother-in-law's robust database. Thus, numbers will also seem to grow by leaps and bounds, once I begin migrating her husband's information to her tree, as well. For now, since my Twelve Most Wanted goal focuses on my father's family, there was not one bit of work done on my mother-in-law's tree. It still sits at 19,334, as it has since the beginning of November. With the new year, numbers will begin to pick up there, as well.

With the close of this year and the upcoming holidays, the addition of new DNA matches has dried up to nearly a dribble, making me look forward to the (hopeful) surge of new tests arriving at all five DNA testing companies after the gift-giving season. Those who were curious enough to spring for a DNA test last year have not only gifted themselves with the grounding of knowing more about their own roots, but they have contributed toward others' discoveries, as well. I know I wouldn't have been able to discover where my own grandfather came from, if it hadn't been for nearly a dozen people who decided to try a DNA test for themselves. Sometimes, when we do something for ourselves, we end up benefiting others, too.

While this year begins to wind down, I look forward to planning research adventures for the upcoming year. While discovering new DNA cousins may be fun, there are so many other ways to find answers to our ancestry questions—but to find them requires some focus. By the time I do my year-end wrap up two weeks from now, I'll be launching the planning process for next year's Twelve Most Wanted.

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