The beauty of having an overarching research plan for family history challenges is that it becomes the guiding map allowing us to pick up where we left off during those pesky but necessary interruptions to our progress. More on that tomorrow by way of a refresher, in case anyone's lost focus on last January's plans. For now, let's talk about what's in store for this genealogy guinea pig for the remainder of the month.
My plan for July was to shift from researching my mother-in-law's story to digging deeper around my father-in-law's roots. That means—eventually, at least—we'll be going to Ireland (well, virtually). But first, a necessary stop in Canada.
Why Canada? Because like so many Irish emigrants, my father-in-law's great-grandfather Denis Tully chose the more wallet-forgiving route of sailing from his beloved homeland to Great Britain's remaining outpost in North America, rather than any port on the eastern coast of the United States. Thus, by the time of the 1851 census, it is quite easy to find him in "Canada West" with his wife and five of their children.
How do I know this is the right Tully family? Despite the apparent difficulty of researching an Irish immigrant family possessing such a common surname, I've not only followed each line of descent to the current day members of the family, but have the rich resource of ancestors who saved photographs—and labeled them, too!—letters and other mementos of these ancestors. Though representing what was likely yet another poverty-stricken Irish household, that collection, indeed, is an unrivaled source of wealth, as far as family heritage goes.
There is, however, one problem. No matter how diligent or resourceful I might have been in combing the available paper trail, I may have missed one detail. And it is that one detail I'll try to grapple with for the remainder of this month's research. You see, my husband has one lone DNA match which, according to that account's administrator, leads to a Tully ancestor whose story is not quite the same as what we thought it would be. My father-in-law's tree doesn't align quite as neatly with this match's tree as I'd have hoped.
There are some possible twists and turns in that branch of the family tree which I didn't quite correctly trace. We'll take a look at those possibilities this week. But first, tomorrow, let's go back and review just what having that overarching research plan did to help us pick up, mid-year, and get back on our research feet again.