Sometimes, you just have to know it's there before you can see it. You could say that about a blind alley when searching for an unfamiliar address. Or spotting a stealthy feline out in its natural habitat. I'd say the same goes for some surprises in our family trees.
While I am absolutely not an advocate for copying other people's pedigree charts—you really have to prove the work for yourself—a well-supported tree pertinent to our own family is certainly worth the examination. All researchers can learn from each other. Some of our fellow researchers we can consider as trustworthy trailblazers.
In the case of what we can learn from our DNA matches, well, for what other reason have we tested, if not to fill in the blanks for our mystery ancestors? That's the situation I'm in, working on October's research goal. I'll looking for more details regarding my paternal grandmother's Polish roots. That means finding Laskowski family connections from Żerków, Poland.
My grandmother Sophie's father, Antoni Laskowski, apparently was connected to the ancestors of one DNA match I've found through the testing company at MyHeritage.com. I've written about this match's ancestor—possibly a sister of Antoni's mother, Elżbieta Gramlewicz. Thankfully, through MyHeritage's Theory of Family Relativity tool, I now have a line of descent stretching from Elżbieta's father Andrzej Gramlewicz to her sister—or, possibly, half-sister—and then on to the next generation with a daughter named Teresa Cichocka.
Using this outline provided by the MyHeritage Theory of Family Relativity, I could see the surname attached to the next two generations was Hilscher. And that was a good thing. Returning to the BaSIA website I mentioned yesterday, if I searched for the surname Cichocka—or even the masculine version, Cichocki—I could find no search results linked to the town of Żerków. However, if I searched for Gramlewicz or the surname of Teresa Cichocka's son—a Hilscher—I could find several results from the same town as my Laskowski ancestors.
It took testing that suggested surname possibility down the line—looking for Hilscher—which pointed out that "blind alley" of the Cichocki family. Now, I can begin sketching out a family tree—and locating related documents—for this newly-discovered sibling of my second great-grandmother Elżbieta Gramlewicz.