Sometimes, after an unexpected hiatus, the best way to get one's feet back on the ground is to do a re-assessment of where we stand. In the hopes that one rocky week is past us, let's take a look at what research I might have managed to complete in the past two weeks. After all, at least one week was relatively productive. Besides, what's one to do when advised to rest? I can plug names and dates into my online family trees while flat on my back, if needed. It's all that heavy-duty research work that takes more effort.
So, at a glance—and remembering that, for this year, I've combined my four family trees into two—here is how my progress fared in the past two weeks. (I promise I won't wince when I look at the numbers.)
For my side of the family—combining my maternal line with my puny paternal tree—I now have 24,969 individuals in that updated tree format. Yeah, only eight more than two weeks ago...but at least that is eight new finds to celebrate.
For my in-laws' combined trees, I fared somewhat better. The reason for that is I felt I owed my mother-in-law some catch-up effort for having neglected her tree for the past year. In addition, in combining the Stevens tree with her tree, I found some more descendants of associated family lines to include, which made the numbers on this tree a little more robust—and the progress more encouraging. There are now 19,845 in that tree, having increased a total of 138 individuals.
Growing those family trees—at least this portion of the process—can be rather routine work: check the census records, vital records, and other supporting documentation, and add the information to the tree. Learn how to read between the lines and see if any additional residents in the household, one decade after another, can reveal answers to family puzzles.
Mostly, I use this process to add descendants to each ancestors' line, strictly for the purpose of connecting the dots between my DNA tests (or my husband's and in-laws' DNA tests) and that of our matches. While we don't have many close matches—most of ours are third to fourth cousin range or farther removed—I find it is those more distant relationships which help fill in the details on branches of our tree. I always enjoy making the connection with those third or fourth cousins. They are a gold mine when they address my most bare branches.
The work gets more challenging when I encounter the more messy sides of research: the two cousins with the same name and similar birth data, or the missing other marriage which yields that DNA match I couldn't figure out. Of course, the further back we go in time, the less likely to be able to score digitized images of needed documents. For now, those research challenges will have to be put on hold.
With tomorrow comes a new challenge—one I've looked forward to, ever since last July and the opening day of registration for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Monday morning, thanks to the magic of time zones, that 8:00 a.m. class I signed up for will require me to be in my seat with laptop linked to virtual educational excellence at the bright* and early time of 7:00. We'll see if, after a day packed with learning, I'll be able to return to King Stockton's saga each evening. Perhaps a short and sweet report of the day's activities may need to suffice the flagging stamina level.
*said with tongue firmly in cheek, albeit faced sans my traditional cup of coffee; if you haven't guessed, I am not a morning person.