Sunday, November 13, 2022

Reassessing Goals


When targeted research hits a tailspin, it's tempting to call it time to reassess goals. I'm at that place right now with my Gramlewicz question.

Looking at the numbers—after all, it's time for my biweekly report—it seems like I'm making headway. In the past two weeks, I've managed to add 263 names to my family tree. But keep in mind that tree didn't grow to 30,699 names by only pushing straight back through the generations; I've filled in the branches with details on all the collateral lines. In the case of my Gramlewicz research goal, that meant adding all the cousins I could find in each generation. However, I still can't point all those cousins back in Żerków to one unifying ancestral couple.

The same operative process is also at work in my in-laws' family tree. Even though I have absolutely no research goal this month regarding either my mother-in-law's lines or those of her husband, I actually added fifty nine more names to that tree. But once again, the reason that tree grew to 30,270 names is owing to the same process: adding collateral lines. A few email contacts from DNA matches in the past two weeks was all it took to update that tree with those added names. After all, when we're searching for how our DNA matches connect, we are searching for ways to add cousins to our tree.

Looking back at my own tree, I don't foresee as much growth in the next two week period. Why? Research progress has slowed to a crawl on my Gramlewicz line. I'll still look through the digitized documents, now that I've found them on FamilySearch. It helps to look at the actual documents myself, rather than having to rely on someone else's transcription of what surely must be messy handwriting—and in Latin, too.

Beyond that, slowed progress makes for boring reports. It may be time to put the Gramlewicz quest on a back burner and bring forward some additional research projects that have popped up just this month. Timeliness does not necessarily equal urgency, but it does have a way of enlivening the search process. Not to mention, availability does trump inaccessibility when it comes to the records we need to move a project forward. We'll take one last look at the Gramlewicz puzzle tomorrow, then determine what the next step should be.

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