Sunday, May 14, 2023

Collecting Our (Collateral) Wits


Call me a genealogy mercenary, but the one thought I can't help but think when Mother's Day approaches is: who will spring for the Mother's Day sale on mitochondrial DNA tests and turn out to be my exact match?

Especially with last month's Twelve Most Wanted research goal, working on my mother-in-law's matriline, I've been stumped with the three exact mtDNA matches whose matrilines lead to Elizabeth Howard's maternal line—and likely even farther back. Let's just say I've been spending a lot of time collecting details on all those female collateral lines—the family lines of the siblings of direct ancestors.

In fact, the last two weeks have garnered me so many new additions to my mother-in-law's tree that I can hardly believe the count, myself. But I double checked it and, yep, I've managed to add 472 new individuals to my mother-in-law's lines. Of course, not all of them are strictly on the matriline; I prefer to complete these collateral lines in an orderly fashion so I don't inadvertently omit anyone. 

So now, I have a tree which contains a total of 32,020 individuals, and yet, I still don't have the answer to just how this family line connects my husband—my mother-in-law's descendant who has completed the mtDNA test on her behalf—and these distant relatives who are exact matches on the matriline.

Considering I haven't done a stitch of work on my own tree—it stands stock still at 33,500, same as two weeks ago—I was hoping for more encouraging results. But you know how it goes. Sometimes, you work like crazy toward a research goal, and don't have much to show for progress.


While I certainly didn't find my answer in time for Mother's Day, I will still enjoy to day—likely with some non-genealogical festivities. I hope you will be able to do the same. Sometimes, we just need to spend time with the people who relate to us the most closely and set aside that never-ending quest to find those distant ancestors.  

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