Sunday, August 20, 2023

Counting Cousins


Cousins, at least in my opinion, can be valuable guides to piecing together a family's story—especially when it comes to those cousins who lived three or four generations prior to our own lifetime. Right now, I'm just not sure whether the newly-found Dennis Tully is actually brother of my father-in-law's maternal grandfather, but I'm testing out some hypotheses by plugging him into my tree—along with the several children of that Dennis who would be cousins of my father-in-law's own mother.

Since today marks my biweekly progress report, this will provide a count of just how many individuals have been tentatively added to that family tree. The hope is that I will eventually reach down to the third cousin level where DNA matches start popping up in the tree—matches which, at some point, I'll need to tag in the tree for their genetic as well as genealogical connection.

Since making that decision to tentatively add Dennis Tully and his wife Margaret Hurley to my tree, I've added 218 additional names. Call each one of them cousins, for that is exactly what I've been working on. And those 218 are just the beginning of the task. Once Dennis removed from his native Ireland and settled in Ontario, Canada, his marriage—whenever and wherever it may have occurred—led to a far more abundant life than he could have hoped for, back in County Tipperary. There will be several more descendants of Dennis Tully and Margaret Hurley added to this tree, as we will see in the next two week period. As of today, that tree stands at 33,340 names.

Though the line of the other Denis Tully—he whose wife was Margaret Flannery, and whom I'm presuming was the father of the younger Dennis—has been my research focus this month, I did also manage to add one more name to my own mother's tree. These stray additions usually happen due to discovery of an important life event—a marriage, for instance, or birth of another child—and I try to update my tree as soon as I discover the addition. Though the addition may be small, saving it for later—those "more opportune times"—seldom works out well in the long run. Better to keep up with family changes when they are announced. Considering my own tree is now up to 33,900 names, that timeliness is an imperative.

The DNA match count may be inching up ever so slowly—on Ancestry, for instance, my husband's match count went up by only two in the past two weeks, and my own by three—but I anticipate with this month's research project to eventually discover several more DNA matches which connect my husband to that newly-discovered Tully line. Already, by adding new lines of cousins from the Dennis Tully descendants, I'm seeing surnames from marriages which I've also spotted in those DNA match lists. I'm looking forward to connecting the genealogical documentation to the DNA information now available to place these matches in the right part of the family tree.

And I marvel to think it was only a few years ago that we would never have had any way to know about these missing cousins at all.

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