Sunday, October 29, 2023

B O L O : Cousins


As we close in on the end of a month—a transition time here at A Family Tapestry as I move toward the eleventh of my Twelve Most Wanted ancestors for 2023—it becomes time to wrap up one research project and move toward another. With the final quarter of the year focusing on my father's Polish heritage, that means next week will see a move from Aunt Rose's story to that of another branch of his family. No matter what is yet ahead of us, though, one thing is sure as I discover new resources in Polish websites: I'll be on the lookout for more cousins. Those third and fourth cousins may well be my key to finding the rest of the story for my paternal grandparents.

I devoted a good chunk of time this weekend to doing just that: reviewing what I had, as far as paternal cousins go, in my family tree. I checked all the ThruLines results for Aunt Rose's side of the family, and finally completed that list of distant relatives among my DNA matches at There are more at other DNA companies, which I'll take a look at in the coming last days of October, but now I'm on the search for cousins descending from the side of Aunt Rose's in-laws—her brother's wife's family—too.

Though I thought the last two weeks would show slow progress, due to the difficulty in finding Polish records, I did indeed have a remarkable time span for adding family members to my father's tree. This past biweekly count included additions of 304 verified individuals—most all of them descendants of Aunt Rose's Polish ancestry. With that increase, the tree now includes information on 35,150 relatives.

I couldn't help myself, though. After completing the review of all my ThruLines results for Rose's ancestors, I went looking for more of those elusive Polish cousins. It's been a while since I last passed through this research way, so there were more hints to address—linking the 1950 census results for each American family, for instance—so the work did take time. In addition, as time moved on, families lost loved ones and their obituaries revealed names of the next generation, marriages of grandchildren, and other key details genealogists watch for. Beyond that, my final step was to move to my grandfather's wife's side of the family and look for cousins in that branch of the family.

As far as my own in-laws' tree goes, traveling to a wedding on that side of the family this month prompted me to add several other names, update some missing information like birthdays of cousins' children, and add other details discovered by visiting with relatives. While I was only able to add ten more names to that tree, it now contains 34,031 relatives of both of my in-laws. Next spring, I will return to working on that side of the family's story, just in time for another cousin's wedding.

Bit by bit, those trees expand, and my ability to pinpoint where DNA matches belong on those trees' various branches will increase. For now, the key is to focus on cousins, no matter how distant. And in the case of my Polish ancestry, those cousinly DNA matches seem to be rather close, indeed.

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