Looking for missing links in the family tree may mean testing hypotheses. And testing involves the very strong possibility of incorporating mistakes into a pedigree. A process like this might mean two steps forward, then one step—or ten—back. Such a discovery can manifest itself immediately, or only long afterwards.
In the quest to find my second great-grandmother's parents, I'm far from finding a solid answer, but I'm firmly in the midst of a tree-building process. This week, I've had to backtrack and eliminate plenty of guesses, not so much because I added the wrong name into this branch of the family tree—the potential family of Catherine Laws of northeastern Tennessee—but because so many people in that area's Laws families named their children the exact same name. Measure twice, cut once. Or, hopefully, not at all.
While building that potential tree of Laws kin in northeastern Tennessee, I'm managed to add quite a few to my family tree—despite the many I've had to carve out afterwards, due to false leads. This being time for my biweekly progress check, I'm fairly certain that my current Laws project was what made possible the 315 additional entries in my tree over the past two weeks. That tree, incidentally, now claims 27,600 individuals—though don't think they will all make the cut by the time I return for my next biweekly report.
In contrast, while there is always something to attend to on my in-laws' tree, progress was far slower. In the past two weeks, I've only added thirty nine new individuals, leaving that tree standing—mostly unmolested—at 26,142 confirmed relatives. That number will most likely remain static until I finish the next six weeks of research devoted to my mother's ancestry and move on to those Twelve Most Wanted ancestors from my mother-in-law's family.
Tomorrow, I'll outline my thinking behind selection of my main candidate for Catherine Laws' childhood family, both thanks to the guidance of DNA testing and knowledge of the area of northeastern Tennessee where the Laws family—and related lines—settled so long ago.