Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Genealogy Timeline, or How I Spent My Tuesday

This is a tale to which, I'm sure, many of you can relate.


Last year, I had my own DNA tested through 23andMe. The results sat there for several months until November, when suddenly two second cousin connections showed up. We emailed and learned how we were related - as daughters of our dads who were first cousins and grew up together. Yay!

I shared this information with my dad, who is getting up there in years, and is pretty quick to give me the 'half-interested eyeroll' when it comes to sharing family history. This time was a little different. I now had names and places and pictures of his cousin from long ago.

Carefully, I explained how we daughters 'met' and how the DNA testing worked. Then I respectfully asked if he would consent to a test. I explained as best I could how it worked, and that I could only get good male results regarding our Irish line if I had a male to test. He said yes! A couple of weeks ago I received the initial results.


1:00pm: Receive email to my phone that 'Sue' wanted to share genomes

1:01pm: What the heck? I checked the site last night and no connections were live yet, so who was Sue?

5:00pm: Whew, done with work, brain thinking how to get home quickly to check the sharing

6:00pm: Dinner and dishes. Come on! I have connections to make, family!

7:00pm: Finally at the computer to see my email and that sure enough, connections were live!

7:20pm: Reviewing all the information I could. Trying to understand the geographic haplogroups

7:30pm: Everything makes perfect sense! Mostly Irish, with a little continental European from the French-Canadian side. Win!

7:40pm: Reply to Sue. Learn she is working on behalf of her mother, and that we are predicted to be pretty distant cousins. Lose a little hope

7:45pm: Share more surnames and emails with Sue and learn the French-Canadian past is our likely link

7:50pm: Open my database and review my distant Quebec ancestors

7:55pm: Open Ancestry for the go-to Drouin database to review some old records

8:30pm: Still reviewing and making new connections and entering data

8:35pm: A record comes up for my Alexis BLANCHETTE in the Tanguay collection. What is that?

8:36pm: Google tells me about Cyprien Tanguay and his efforts to document the first Quebec settlers

8:36.30pm: There's a whole new database I never knew about! Awesome!

8:45pm: See that my ancestral lines from my years of reading the Drouin books (thanks, high school French classes!) got me to documented lines to the late 1700's

9:00pm: See that if I review Tanguay, I can make MORE connections

10:00pm: And more connections

10:01pm: Oops. Good night, son! Sleep well!

10:02pm: And more connections

11:00pm: Hey, there's my connection to Sue! Find we share a fourth-great-grandfather. Revel in the glory of making that DNA connection in only a couple of hours!

11:15pm: Turn off the laptop and lights because the family is sleeping

11:20pm: Sit on the couch in the dark, reviewing more possible sources from the browser on my phone

11:45pm: Silently tell myself I'm an idiot

12:00am: Reluctantly decide to go to bed

12:01am: No sugarplums dancing in my head but plenty of anticipation for more connections!

That's how a day with my research goes. How about you?

(c) 2014 Sally Knudsen