Sunday, June 25, 2023

Almost End of Another Research Month


Every month brings a new research challenge, based on my "Twelve Most Wanted" plan drawn up around the New Year. The beginning of the month brings the excitement of possibly finding new information on brick wall ancestors; the last week of the month makes me wonder where all the time went.

Despite the difficulty of this month's challenge to write about the roots and family information on my mother-in-law's colonial-era third great-grandfather, Mathias Ambrose, I have been working behind the scenes on the more routine aspects of research grunt work. Primarily, that has been through the Ambrose-related DNA matches to my husband's own test at

Last week, I mentioned zeroing in on those DNA matches which are one generation closer in connection. These are the cousins who connect through Mathias' daughter Elizabeth as their most recent common ancestor. There were fifty nine Ancestry subscribers descending from Elizabeth who match with my husband, including five who connect with a daughter for whom I have no record.

Pushing back another generation to the ThruLines matches for Mathias, himself, I find it interesting that there are thirty four matches listed specifically for the Ambrose line which goes through Mathias' daughter Elizabeth, versus the fifty nine which match directly with her father Mathias. That lesser number, of course, demonstrates how genetic sequences from some distant ancestors may not be passed down to all their descendants of the same generation.

That count, of course, represents the matches which have already been presented to me through the ThruLines estimates. There may well be others within the universe of DNA matches which will turn out to be related through Elizabeth Ambrose's line that no one has yet been able to attribute to that exact ancestor.

That's where my persistent—but behind the scenes—work on building out the collateral lines comes in. For each ancestor whose genetic material could still possibly show up in the current generation, I am building a tree charting all the lines of descent from each of that ancestor's collateral lines. Yes, that's a lot of work. But just ask me how easily I can spot a connection to a new DNA match, and you'll see the value in the persistence.

In the past two weeks, for instance, I've added another 142 profiles to my mother-in-law's tree. That tree now includes 32,800 documented relatives. Most of the increase this time is owing to working through all the Ambrose DNA ThruLines matches to make sure the lines of descent proposed by Ancestry agree with the documentation I've been able to add to each individual's profile page. (Sometimes, the ThruLines readout does not match up with verification.)

Though I haven't written about this during the past month, I've also been checking on my own mother's tree, particularly to help spot those DNA matches on lines from earlier month's posts. Lately, I've been working on the Tilson lines of descent, the family I wrote about in March. It's no surprise, then, to see that another fifty seven individuals have been added to that tree, which now totals 33,620.

This is an incremental process which I have been keeping up for years now—ever since that first moment when, eager to see those new DNA test results, the anticipation turned quickly to dismay when the thought struck me, "Who are all these people?!" It may seem a tedious approach at first, but the ease, now, in placing matches in their proper place in the family tree has made it well worth the time investment. 

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