Finding a Comfortable Place Outside of My Comfort Zone: Online Trees. Plus, a Quick DNA Sale!

The great online tree debate is over, at least for now. I read your input and spoke with colleagues. My online tree is a reality.

One thing that resonated with me was a thought that a couple of colleagues shared. Essentially, they said that you can’t do DNA research without an online tree. Of course, they meant that you can’t do DNA research effectively without an online tree. Sans tree, I would not get the most from my matches. A tree provides more bang for the buck, and was even called cousin bait.

I considered input, and what I learned from past experiences. I started my online tree from scratch. The new tree is a simple pedigree chart. Gone are the collaterals, although I am sure they would come in handy. It’s a time-consuming affair to type your family tree — even just the pedigree chart part of it — into a computer software program. I fibbed a bit, and left out my name and those of living people, plus one generation. I inserted variations of “Private Private” where their names should be to maintain some control of their personal data. If I were to wind up with a match that was so close they needed to see those generations, we would surely want to talk. I left out a few names that are questionable, even though at least two of them appear in a vital record.

My tree has names, dates, and places. If my matches want to know more, I hope that they will ask. I decided to use the bare-bones system because I do want matches to try to see where our families connect. There is only so much of my work I am willing to sign over to a corporation’s control, so I kept it to the facts, which aren’t mine to own. I left the tree’s setting at public.

Since adding the tree to Ancestry, I have been added to two DNA circles (both halves of a married couple), and have seven shared ancestor hints. I had figured out some of the seven matches, but a few were further down the list, and I had not looked them over yet. I learned the hard way that accepting a shaking leaf to add a census record to the tree could result in a man appearing to have multiple marriages when his wife’s first name is spelled differently in two records. Sorry, Purthenah. I had no idea that would happen. And I’m not sure how to make in un-happen.

My online tree experiment isn’t catching any fish so far. I wrote to and heard from my closest match, and we are sharing information. But I realized something. Matches in which I can identify common ancestors verify that some names on my family tree really do belong there. My paper trail is decent, but paper can cover up secrets.

I’ll keep you posted if anything of interest happens. It has been handy to direct people to my tree. When I built it, I was reminded of a few ancestral names I had forgotten about. That’s not so bad.

The title of my post contains two topics. Here is the other. Ancestry is having a sale on DNA kits. It might be short-lived, based on seeing their previous sales come and go. Sometimes they only last a number of hours. The kits, normally $99, plus tax and shipping, are on sale for $79, plus tax and shipping. If you’ve been waiting for a sale, this might be for you. Just let me know if we have a match when you get your results.

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2 Responses to Finding a Comfortable Place Outside of My Comfort Zone: Online Trees. Plus, a Quick DNA Sale!

  1. Diane Geanuleas says:

    Hi Debbie,
    I would like to create an online tree in the same manner as you did. How might I look at your tree in order to actually see how you did it?
    Thank you,

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