I know I am the only one who does this.

I know I am the only one who does this.

I am the only genealogist who has a sense of family, who feels an ancestor’s pain when I type a date into my Genealogy program of choice (WikiTree). I am the only one who, when reading about some horrific event in an ancestors life, feel it in the pit of my stomach. I am the only one who feels pride when I read that someone was mentioned in the hallowed halls of Congress upon her death.

I know I am the only one.

Today I was working on an adoptee client’s mirror family tree (a tree created to “mirror” the tree of a DNA match, using the match as the “home” person). The husband of the probable mother of the adoptee shares as his death date, a birthday with my Grandfather. As I hit each key to type the death date, I realized that I didn’t just notice when someone shares my birthday, but I notice when I type any of my other important birthdays too.

I have a lot of those dates floating around in my brain. I even use the birth dates to switch around the combinations for my bicycle lock. Having the best bicycle in the house, I have had to change my combo’s a lot because certain children (child) in my life liked to borrow my bike lock or even attempt to borrow my bike. BAD CHILDREN! Right now my bike lock is so far back in my history and brain that it took me weeks and weeks to figure it out – Thank you Ross and several others in my life who share your birthday. I count stairs when I climb them too. Ask me about all telephone numbers I have had in my life…I know, too much information.

Noticing significant dates and feeling each keystroke. I am the only one who feels it. The date I typed just a few minutes ago might be even more significant to the Client. It might be the date of her mother or father’s or grandparents death – probably Grandparent. Just to think I am looking at the people that this adoptee has wondered about/looked for, for over 80 years. 80 years of dates come and gone, of weddings and births, graduations and vacations, thanksgivings and deaths. All of them in my finger tips, transferred to the keyboard and out into the ether.

I am on pins and needles waiting for the final DNA test. There have been many tests done for her birth family. Why? Because, this client’s birth family has a rabid family-historian/genealogist in its limbs, thank you universe. This family historian has been on the trail of another adoptee from the family for a while. There are generational differences, but this adoptee is my clients’ closest living relative. No she isn’t the other adoptee’s mother. And there is a skew in the match numbers for the two. They are first cousins once removed kinda sorta. Not exactly a first cousin, certainly not an Aunt and niece. But…it’s so hard to put your finger on because there was endogamy (the custom of marrying only within the limits of a local community, clan, or tribe – WikiPedia) in the family, for generations and generations.

One of my favorite Genetic Genealogists, Roberta Estes, covers the DNA numbers skew in endogamy very well in her blog, DNAeXplianed, Why Are My Predicted Cousin Relationships Wrong? I don’t need to repeat her great blog to explain this, because she explains it quite eloquently. She says “while the rules of thumb about how much DNA you inherit from specific ancestors are useful, they are not absolute. In other words, it’s certainly possible to inherit a very large chunk of DNA from a very specific distant ancestor when the rules of probability and the rule of thumb of 50% would indicate that you should not…

  • Endogamous populations throw a monkey wrench into estimates and calculations, because population members are likely related many times over in unknown ways.  This makes the estimate of relatedness of two people appear closer than it [really] is genealogically…”

My fingertips are stinging from all this typing. I, personally, feel the sting too. So, surely, there are no other genealogist out there in the world who do this, who feel every keystroke, or feel in the input of every recognizable date.

I know I am the only one who does this.


Author: grandmasgenesblog

Mags Gaulden “They have been at a great feast of languages and stolen the scraps.” - William Shakespeare. My favorite quote, ever. If I were a color I would be cobalt blue. In tense situations I try to diffuse the tenseness with humor (sometimes this approach works, sometimes not). When it rains I feel calm and restive. When it snows I am an ecstatic child expecting a snow day (living in Canada I am ecstatic often). I am happiest when I am doing something, anything, outdoors. People in my family have had names like Goolie and Nimrod (the last one handed down for generations). I thrive when I am helpful to others. I thrive when I am problem solving. I am a Carolinian at my core and I am deeply rooted in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains where I grew-up. If you cut me I would bleed the sound of bluegrass music.

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