Ancestry – May 2017

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I’m a few more weeks in with my ancestry research and things are moving at a pace.

I have entered approaching 2,000 names. These are distant and broad connections. As the names grow, the little green leaves (hints) also grow as the technology trundles off and looks through any census, criminal, church, emigration, war and other ancestor users’ records to match them to. There are about 1700 ‘hints’ awaiting my attention. I will get around to them.

The 30+ fourth cousins have now grown to 53+ cousins. The more direct matches where we share a common ancestor has doubled from 3 to 6. And I’m excited to report I’m going on my first ‘meet’ in early June to chat with a cousin I’ve found about our joint heritage. And here’s the thing – we don’t actually know where we are related but we know we are. That, and we have things in common – in short, I’ve made a friend. Now we have to turn detective and find out where our DNA crosses but quite honestly I don’t mind too much. I like her anyway.

Of all the cousins and more moderate confidence matches, many keep their ancestry trees private. This is probably because they use Ancestry as a repository rather than an opportunity to find relatives. Generally when I’ve asked for access it has been forthcoming and is followed by a few getting-to-know-you messages. Little has come from this yet (apart from my new cousin-friend). Very often members of the site haven’t even started their family tree or have put limited numbers on it. Very frustrating! The most frustrating was what I assume is an elderly gent refused my request to see his tree, despite us being a good match via DNA. His right but I was disappointed. He’d explained there were criminal minds out there and he didn’t want to fall foul of anything. But he checked my tree (which is public) and couldn’t find a match.

I’ve yet to comprehend the DNA circles which draw in connections and present them in a graphical way. However I’m part of two of these and slowly I’m getting to grips with how it all works.

My journey continues to be hypnotic and compelling. I’m excited to be meeting my first cousin. Of course I’ll take the usual precautions – meet somewhere public and let someone know where I’ll be. In fact I have rules for anyone I meet online. Do remember to stay safe with all the excitement and activity! More next month…