Sunday, April 28, 2024

A New Branch


This has been one of those weeks when I have to ask myself, "Now, how did you miss that?!" Despite the number of years I've been working on my mother-in-law's third great-grandmother Sarah Ijams, I never realized she had another daughter—not, that is, until I discovered a DNA match whose connection to Sarah was through a branch of the family I hadn't previously found in my own research.

To be fair to my bewildered self, I was working with a woman's story line which had her born at the very end of the 1700s and abruptly cut short in her early thirties—long before women's names made any regular appearance in census records. To add to the complications, hers was apparently a family with the preference of deeding property to their children, rather than drawing up one of those documents which bequeathed everything to their beloved relatives. I could have found such a deed to a son-in-law and blithely flipped right past it, having no knowledge of how that person connected to the family line.

So, in a spate of document discoveries, I've tentatively added yet another daughter to Sarah and John Jay Jackson's family, and have begun that long slide back to the present, following each of that daughter's descendants. After all, any daughter of Sarah becomes granddaughter of Elizabeth Howard, and thus part of my mother-in-law's matriline. Hopefully, this will produce useful information for continuing that search for mtDNA matches.

In the meantime, though, that discovery of a new branch also bolsters my count, just in time for another biweekly report. Sure enough, when I checked, the past two weeks has brought 165 new names to my in-laws' family tree, despite the struggle to locate documentation on the women in the family during those early years of female invisibility. My in-laws' tree now includes 34,483 documented individuals—and this new discovery will keep me busy for another couple weeks to come.

In just a few days, we'll move on from my April research goal as the month comes to a close. I'm not sure I've found everything I had hoped to find for my mother-in-law's matriline—there are so many women in her ancestry for whom I still have not been able to find documentation, even with the research boost of the FamilySearch Labs' Full Text search. We'll take the next couple days to recap what we've accomplished this month, and lay out plans for next steps when I return to tackle this same family line in a future year. 

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