Sunday, July 7, 2024

More or Less, Still Moving Ahead


It is really hard to predict, over a biweekly period, just how much progress I've made on my family trees. Sometimes, it seems like I am flying through the records, easily finding source after source to build that line. Other times, it takes a massive struggle just to complete one relative's timeline.

I had thought this past biweekly period would have been one of the times when scores of ancestors would have been added to my in-laws' tree, but that was not the case. I did manage to support adding 220 more names to their tree, which now contains documentation on 35,810 individuals. Yes, that means I'm still moving ahead, more or less—but it was far less than I had expected. I've certainly seen busier weeks.

Part of the slow-down is due to this month's research proposal: to locate a Stevens immigrant from County Mayo, Ireland, who seemed to vanish into thin air, the minute he set foot on land in his newly adopted home in Indiana. This month will likely add up to a lot of searching with very little positive traction to move me forward.

There is, however, other activity to propel those numbers onward. Though not part of my Twelve Most Wanted goal for this month, other questions pop up. Some of those are inquiries from DNA matches—always gratefully received—which lead me to double check my work, realizing as I revisit the data that there are portions that I left undone, the last time I had wandered in that research direction.

Other occurrences tap me on the shoulder and redirect my research, even to trees I haven't selected for this month's research goal. Newly discovered obituaries, for instance, demand follow-through with addition of information to the appropriate tree, an incident in the past two weeks which led me to add another thirty six names to my own parents' tree. Though I won't be returning to work on that tree until the fall—at least, according to my research plans—that unexpected detour last week pushed that tree up to now number 38,405 relatives.

As I check ThruLines results at Ancestry for each of my monthly research goals, that process also leads to new discoveries. That became the impetus for most of my progress on my in-laws' tree in the past two weeks, as I moved from June's research goal on the Metzgers—with lots of ThruLines discoveries uncovered—to the scant few DNA matches I've found this past week as I shifted to the Stevens ancestry goal.

There are just some research goals which seem to produce an abundance of results, while others take patience and endurance while yielding precious little, other than general knowledge to enrich my understanding in future efforts. The patience, however, is certainly worth the effort, and I look forward to having a better understanding of the times when Hugh Stevens arrived in Lafayette, Indiana, in the early 1850s. What a different world that must have been than the assumptions I'd otherwise be tempted to overlay upon his immigrant story.

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